Curtis Pitts did not fly the first plane he built, a parasol in Americus in 1932---among the reasons: he had no pilot's license. After moving to Florida the next year he learned to fly, built a second parasol, worked with a Navy aircraft repair shop and managed the St. Augustine airport. Interest in aerobatics led to his design in 1942 of his first "Pitts Special” which weighed in for a maiden flight in 1945 at less than 500 pounds. Two years later he built the legendary "Li’l Stinker," The larger "Big Stinker," "Samson" and "Mr. Muscles" would follow with many more "Pitts Specials" to come. In the 1950s, Pitts operated a crop dusting service over the southeast but continued to draw, sketch and plan in his trailer at night. A self-taught designer and engineer, Pitts is credited with an innate feel for flying and a common sense approach to design. In 1973, Tom Poberenzy wrote in "Sport Aviation" magazine that Pitts had developed an airplane that had dominated aerobatics in the United States for five years and had lifted the U.S. from the lowest to the highest rank of international recognition and leadership in competition. And it is a plane that is FUN to fly, he added. The previous year all seven U.S. Aerobatic team members had flown aircraft designed by Pitts.
World-renowned aircraft designer Curtis Pitts was enshrined May 18, 1991, in recognition of his celebrated and innovative contributions to aviation over a half century.