Originally published November 1993
Last month we had another really super meeting! John Angle spoke to us on his experiences at the Pitts factory--you know the place where all those red and white aerobatic biplanes are born! What amazed most of us was the Pitts Special was produced in a somewhat austere environment. The place was kept immaculately clean, and except for a drill press, there was virtually no typical machinery in use at their facilities. John says it could have been a typical homebuilder's workshop! Pitts Specials were basically hand assembled one by one and most of the pieces/parts were fabricated by outside vendors. Pitts, of course, has its standards so every part was thoroughly inspected before installation and every airframe had a paperwork audit trail down to the last nut and bolt. Yes, they were very thorough in everything they did and very good at it too. For instance, the ailerons were typically fabricated right down to the paint scheme before they were ever installed on a wing--incredible! John also told us a story of how the FAA was suspicious of the Pitts factory due to the fact that they weren't receiving any defect reports. When the feds took a look around the shop and personally inspected several aircraft on the assembly line it became very apparent why there weren't any defect reports--no defects to report! Baffled by Pitts perfection the FAA went home with nothing to report.
Thanks John, for that fascinating presentation!
John Angle's next visit to Chapter 1000
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Revised -- 22 February 1997