We fly a pair of classic Pitts S-1D aerobatic biplanes at air displays and outdoor events throughout Europe. Our aim is to place our distinctive yellow and purple aeroplanes as close to the spectators as possible and the Pitts is the perfect machine for the job. Highly manoeuvrable, powerful and light but with a relatively low top speed of 200mph, we are able to keep the action right where you can see it.
At East Fortune, you can expect to see us perform a variety of classic aerobatic manoeuvres, including loops, rolls and stall turns, as well as more dizzying figures in our solos. During most of the display, we rarely fly more than 5 feet away apart and our bodies are subjected to around 6g, as well as punishing negative g, which causes your eyes to tingle a bit. Some of our display is flown with the lead aircraft upside-down, which looks quite interesting from my perspective. Whatever the picture through my canopy, my job is to concentrate exclusively on the leader, regardless of which way we are pointing, which requires great trust. We fly together so frequently throughout the year that there is almost a psychic bond; the entire show can be flown without radio contact if required.
Our team consists of only four members and unlike some larger teams we all ‘get our hands dirty’ to make the team a success. The process usually begins with Daisy Burge, Team Manager, who negotiates bookings and in conjunction with Richard Grace, Team Leader, takes care of the administration and logistics. With sometimes six or seven shows to do during a weekend, this is no mean feat.
In addition to ensuring that all timings are going to work and fuel is available, we also require a ready supply of smoke oil – an environmentally friendly product similar to baby oil – close to every venue. When not delivering one of our aircraft to a show, our fourth team member, David Brothers (Bro), deposits drums of smoke oil around the countryside with Daisy, either in the ‘Trig Truck’ or by aircraft, so that we have everything in place for a quick turnaround.
Both our Pitts aircraft were rebuilt by us and we carry out all our own engineering and maintenance, which gives us an intimate knowledge of our machines. We frequently inspect the airframe and engine to ensure peak performance and reliability for our shows.
We are proud to be sponsored by Trig Avionics Limited, Edinburgh based manufacturers of avionics for light aircraft. Both our aircraft are equipped with Trig TT22 Mode S Transponders and TY91 VHF Radios. This light, compact equipment keeps our tiny aircraft visible to Air Traffic Control and our cockpit workload whilst enroute to a minimum.