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Thread: Bi-planes in competition?

  1. #1

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    Bi-planes in competition?

    What are the reasons people have moved away from bi-planes for competition aerobatics? Is it all performance reasons? You still see plenty of airshow performers using bi-planes but really nobody in competition is using them anymore.

    I want to see a Pitts Model 12 on the scene!

  2. #2
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    Have a look at the IAC contest results http://members.iac.org/contestresults/chapter/ About 50% of airplanes at contests are biplanes (mostly Pitts). Aerobatic contests are not just limited to the World Aerobatic Championships, which you won't see a biplane at anymore because they're just not competitive at the world Unlimited level against the monoplanes. Don't forget there are 5 categories at the regional and national level, and except for the rare Pitts type in Unlimited, biplanes have major representation in the other four categories. At the top levels of competition, monoplanes have the advantage due to their faster roll rate, aerodynamically cleaner nature, higher Vne, and increased strength. And there are a few model 12's on the "scene".

  3. #3
    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    That Model 12 is one heck of an airplane!! Looks, power, size, and that engine!! I'd love to see one perform as well!!
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

  4. #4

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    Alright, you got me... I was being a little narrow in my scope about competition. I was thinking more about Nationals than WACs, but you're right, I'm sure there are plenty of bi's rocking the regional scene! I need to get out more!

    mmm Model 12!

  5. #5
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barren View Post
    Alright, you got me... I was being a little narrow in my scope about competition. I was thinking more about Nationals than WACs, but you're right, I'm sure there are plenty of bi's rocking the regional scene! I need to get out more!
    At Nationals last year, there were 30 pilots out of 72 flying biplanes (Pitts). Like I said, you hardly find them in the Unlimited category anymore, so with 18 pilots in Unlimited, biplanes (Pitts) represented 55% of the airplanes in Primary through Advanced. Biplanes offer the most bang for the buck, and will for a long time to come. You can fly Primary through Advanced in a $30K 180hp Pitts S-1S. Is it worth the $150-200K+ premium for a nice monoplane just so you can move up one category and be competitive in Unlimited? Sure it is for some, but it really shows the value of the bipes. They make aerobatics and competition accessible to a lot more folks...and we need all we can get.
    Last edited by RetroAcro; 07-28-2011 at 12:12 PM.

  6. #6

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    because their competition routines will be compared to:
    sean-t2.jpg


  7. #7

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    That makes a lot of sense, Retro, thanks for the breakdown! I guess I should have looked at the actual results.

  8. #8

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    I believe the last biplane to ever make the US team was Robert Armstrong in a Pitts, correct me if I'm wrong.

  9. #9
    Steve Johnson made the Advanced team a few years ago in an S-2B.

  10. #10

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    Long live two wings, fabric and wires. Since I could never possibly do an Extra justice, I will stick with biplanes - not that I am doing the Pitts justice either, but they are just beautiful and so much fun. Frankly, there aren't that many pilots that would find a Pitts S2B 'limiting' from a competitive standpoint. Not for the first time has this been said, but thanks Curtis.

    Good luck to the US team in Italy!

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