In mid January, the youtube account for GoPro cameras posted this short and awesome video of Billy and David Werth demonstrating their well-practiced 'tail grab' where Billy flies his Pitts inverted low enough for David (a very experienced extreme motorcycle rider) to reach out and touch the rudder! It's definitely the kind of thing that we like to say: Don't Try This At Home!
I figured today is a great time to post the video since the Super Bowl is this Sunday In Indianapolis, and Indy is where Billy operates out of. And if you don't know, Billy spends a large portion of everyday in the air as he's a regional airline pilot; a KC-135 tanker driver in the Air Force Reserve; an aerobatic instructor, performer and thrill rider giver with his Grayout Aerosports operation; AND he's half of the Red Eagle Airsports Team! Whew.. makes me tired just thinking about all that flying! In addition to his Pitts S2C, he's also recently added a Christen Eagle to his hangar, so he'll fit in a little better at Red Eagle this year : )
I'm planning to get some time with Billy in the Pitts this spring to give me both a chance to get the cobwebs cleaned out of my taildragger skills and to do some real aerobatic flying. I learned to fly in a Citabria when I was just 13 but never really did any aerobatics other than just the basic spins and loops. Some very-unusual-atitudes time in the Pitts will open up a whole new world for me. I can't wait!
Lastly, if you are a little freaked out about how low the Pitts is in the video above, I'll point you over to the post (with video) I put up back in September showing the tail touch. I put up a long and detailed comment to the concerns shared by a reader... hopefully it'll give you some important background info. Also, I talked with Billy today and he mentioned that GoPro had loads of video from which to choose their short clip, and while none of the other passes had him anywhere near this low to the ground, the one they chose did.
I can definitely tell you that Billy is not a reckless thrill-seeker, but of course there are some very real risks involved with these kind of extreme displays. In the end, we may not see anymore of the inverted tail grab... so I say watch the video and simply enjoy an excellent, extreme display of flying and motorcycle riding by the wild Werth brothers!
Screenshot from the GoPro HD video - This Is Extreme!