By Jeremy Wicker, EAA 1164816
This piece originally ran in the February 2023 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.
After 10 long years, I have finally completed and have begun flight testing my Pitts S-1S. I originally anticipated the scratchbuild to take three years, but I found out quickly that life has a way of slowing things down. Not long after starting the project, I was married; had two children, three surgeries, and three jobs; completed my instrument, commercial, and multi ratings/certificates and got a tailwheel endorsement; and led an EAA chapter, all while working and going to school full time. It took 2,164 construction hours and countless hours of research, engineering, and planning to finally get the project into the air.
It is a bit different from a stock S-1S with a pumped-up angle-valve Lycoming IO-360, squared wingtips, two-thirds span ailerons, an oversized rudder, electronic flight instrument system and digital engine monitor, and revised fuel system. Other than that, it is true to factory plans with the exception of a few reinforced areas of the wings and attach fittings. I was looking for a stock, parallel-valve IO-360 for weight purposes but was fortunate to find the angle-valve engine for a price that I could not turn down. The engine was overhauled and pickled quite a few years back, but upon borescoping it was found to be in immaculate condition.
The installation was not without difficulty as I discovered the intake tubes for the engine interfered with mounting, so a conversion to an A1A sump and intake tubes was needed. I also found that the constant-speed setup could not be used as there is little room between the accessory case and firewall, and the governor adapter would not fit. This also meant the Bendix magnetos would not be usable, and Slicks were the only mag option. This also meant that certain ignition harnesses were unusable. I wanted to get away from the old wobble pump and installed a Weldon boost pump… Source inspire.eaa.org