The Passing Of Curtis Pitts

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The man whose nimble little biplane spawned a whole segment of aviation design, competition and just plain fun died Friday. Curtis Pitts, whose Pitts Special became the standard for sport aviation for 60 years, was 89. He died in the hospital from complications resulting from a heart valve replacement. EAA President Tom Poberezny, who has more than 3,300 hours on Pitts Specials, said Pitts had a tremendous influence on him personally. "More important was his personality and willingness to share so much with those who were in pursuit of aviation as a career, recreation, or aerobatic performer," he said. "As we mourn, we should take this opportunity to celebrate his life and contributions to the aviation community." Pitts designed the airplane from the ground up to be an aerobatic performer, with fast roll rates and crisp handling. In 1966, Bob Herendeen won the U.S. National Aerobatics Championships in a Pitts.