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Budd Davisson first got the idea to throw Curtis Pitts a 75th birthday party while flying his own Pitts S-2A one morning, barely six months before Curtis’ birthday. Budd was determined not to wait until it was too late to recognize Curtis’ contribution to aviation and to thank him for all his brilliant work.

Budd wanted to build a replica for the party and, with just a shade over five months to go, he made some phone calls to round up materials and assistance. Budd received an overwhelming willingness to help on the project, and accumulated all the pieces needed for the replica.

Getting the nuts and bolts for a project like this was one thing, but Budd also needed experienced, working hands to help put it all together into an airplane. The men who hung out at St. Augustine had been involved in local aviation and were retired so they could spend the time needed to complete the project. Al Crichton and Jim Stevens were the primary constructors of the replica.

By September 17, 1990, the replica was ready to begin testing. A problem cropped up with the brakes, which was no sooner fixed than the engine began misfiring. These problems were fixed just in time for the first test flight bright and early on the morning of September 29, 1990, the morning of the birthday celebration.

An estimated 55 Pitts Specials had come with their owners to the party, along with more than enough people to fill a large ballroom who arrived by car, private airplane, or commercial airline. The day ended with a big banquet and a few comments from some of Curtis’ friends, as well as the guest of honor himself.

Not long after the celebration, Budd decided to donate the replica. Budd felt limitless appreciation for the work Curtis had done throughout his life and was overwhelmed at the number of people across the country that shared his gratitude. Budd Davisson donated the replica to EAA in 1991. The Friends of Curtis S-1 Replica now resides in the EAA AirVenture Museum as a tribute to the life’s work of Curtis Pitts.

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