After nearly 4 years of waiting and completing the mountain of required FAA paperwork, SkyThrills has finally become the world’s first Waco YMF-5C Charter Operation! Join us for scenic tours that are now possible much further than the normal helicopter tour operations with a 25 mile maximum distance from the starting airport. Our aircraft is open cockpit which takes away the feeling of being in an enclosed capsule, allows you see better the things you want to see, and our biplane is far more comfortable and stable (no rocking back and forth) than a Robinson or A-Star helicopter. We can not only fly further than a helicopter, but we don’t have to land where we took off from either. We can stop and have lunch at Catalina, Big Bear, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Diego, or stay overnight at Death Valley, Mammoth Mountain, or Napa Valley. This is the only true biplane charter operation in existence with the capability to fly day or night in visual conditions anywhere in the lower 48 US states. Please note our new address: 3815 W. Commonwealth Ave Suite B Fullerton, CA 92833. Call for reservations or pricing information at 1-714-402-4888. www.skythrills.com
SkyThrills, a world-class, hand’s on thrill ride attraction is located just 5.6 miles from Disneyland! We are the only place where thrill seekers in Anaheim, Fullerton, Orange, and Buena Park can come in just a few minutes drive time to experience the thrill of flying a 200 MPH stunt plane, hand’s on for up to 1 hour! You will perform 5 G loops, rolls hammerheads and spins high above the Los Angeles Harbor! Get ready for the thrill of a lifetime at SkyThrills! Look for us near Anaheim, California in the heart of Orange County where the 91 and 5 Freeways cross exit Magnolia and head north to the Fullerton Airport Look for our Banners!! – We are a world leader for nostalgic biplane rides, extreme thrill rides, and home to the best theme parks in the world such as Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Air Combat USA and of course SkyThrills! www.skythrills.com
Flying inverted in a Pitts S-2C or Extra 300L is not difficult, however there are several keys to learning how to fly inverted safely and with confidence. We must always remember that aerobatics can only be performed in an aerobatic aircraft in designated airspace and must always be performed with a qualified aerobatic instructor while you are first learning to avoid unnecessary risk to your aircraft, yourself and those around you both in the air and on the ground.
1. Make sure you and your aircraft are prepared to fly inverted. Secure everything in the aircraft that can get loose and might injure you or jam the aircraft controls. Cinch your seatbelt and harnesses down until you feel some pain so you will not raise up off the seat at all.
2. Raise the nose of the aircraft high enough to allow for some expected nose drop as you make your smooth transition to inverted flight using coordinated and smooth control inputs. Think of it as half of a “Slow Roll”. ie. left stick, right (top) rudder, forward stick and stop with wings level and the nose of the aircraft significantly above the horizon so that the top wing of the Pitts is laying on the horizon.
3. Relax your body to minimize the blood pressure in your head and remember that in order to steer the aircraft correctly you must move the stick in the opposite direction to the way you want to go. The aircraft still requires right rudder even when you are upside down.
1. Make sure that the tailwheel is ENGAGED by throwing the lever to the aft position. This will make the takeoff, landing and taxiing the aircraft much easier and safer. Never fly with the tailwheel free castering if you can avoid it. This forces the use of brakes to steer the aircraft and makes steering the aircraft much more difficult and way less predictable. Use your checklist and don’t forget to engage this wonderful feature.
2. Advance the power slowly as you add right rudder to compensate for the torque that is strongly pulling you off the left side of the runway if you let it. As you advance the power slowly add more and more right rudder pedal pressure until you can hold the aircraft straight. As the aircraft accelerates, the rudder will be come more effective and at some point all the forces will be equal and no more additional rudder will be required.
3. As the aircraft accelerates past about 40 mph, we can slowly raise the tail to near level with the horizon. This should be done with caution as if raising the tail might cause you to go off the runway because it can. Make sure you keep your feet at the bottom of the rudder pedals so as to not accidently get on the toe brakes as this can flip the aircraft on its back.
4. The Waco biplane aircraft has a 275 HP Jacobs engine, and this engine can get the Waco flying in a few hundred feet of ground roll. You must be able to track the center line of the runway, compensating for the wind with wing down into the wind if there is and, maintaining control of her even if the wind is strong, the density altitude is high due to heat or high airport elevation, and the weight is heavy due to fuel and a passenger or two in the front cockpit. In these conditions, we add a few mph to our takeoff speed, around 60 mph, our approach speed, of about 100 mph, and we always fly a close in pattern to ensure we are close to the airport of intended landing, have good visibility of the runway or a suitable landing site in case of an emergency engine out approach and landing.
There are 3 things to avoid while making a takeoff in the Pitts S-2C.
1. The canopy must be closed and locked prior to engine start. This is MANDATORY. If you taxi out with the canopy ajar you are begging for a gust of wind or engine run up to take your $3,500 canopy into the tail of the aircraft. DON’T DO IT!! Be a man and sweat if you have to… KEEP CANOPY CLOSED AND LOCKED AT ALL TIMES when the engine is about to start until you shut down.
2. Do NOT use the brakes to steer the aircraft. Especially during takeoff. This is a real NO NO!
3. Due to its huge powerplant (a Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5) that generates 260HP at 2700 RPM. This is a huge engine for a 1200 lb aircraft and its left turning tendency is quite strong. This left turning force is amplified when you raise the tail quickly (due to gyroscopic forces) and enhanced further by adding full throttle too quickly. I highly recommend adding throttle smoothly and gently at a rate of about 2-3 seconds from idle to full throttle and raise the tail at about the same rate so that the torque (left turning tendency can be felt and smoothly adjusted for. It does NOT take full right rudder to control the torque. Only about 1 inch of pedal movement is all that’s required to keep the Pitts S-2C straight on takeoff.
1. Stay off the Brakes!!
2. Don’t advance the throttle too quickly
3. Don’t hold it on the ground too long.
Happy and safe flying!
Making a safe takeoff in a Pitts S-2C is not difficult but it requires finesse and precise handling to be safe and in control. There are several MAJOR differences between the Pitts and nearly all other tail wheel aircraft that you must be aware of that cannot be overlooked when first learning to fly the Pitts.
1. The take off, with 2 people on board, is totally BLIND out the front. You must know what the left edge of your runway looks like, what obstacles (signs, parked aircraft etc) are located along the runway edges, how wide your runway is and what you will see at the half way mark (wind sock, etc), to ensure that you do not get too close to the edge and strike something.
2. The rudder pedals are VERY sensitive and so are the brakes. DO NOT TOUCH the BRAKES during the takeoff roll….EVER! Keep your feet at the bottom of the pedals so that no matter how hard or how much you press on the rudder pedals you cannot get brakes during the takeoff roll. Period. The danger of going off the runway, blowing one or both tires, striking the prop (a $40,000-$60,000 mistake) and flipping the aircraft on its back and destroying your biplane cannot be overstated. Use the rudder pedals gently and smoothly. I highly recommend flying the Pitts S-2C with racing shoes with very thin soles so you can feel the rudder pedals and brakes much better. I use Simpson racing low top shoes. They are comfortable and fireproof.
3. Do NOT hold the aircraft on the ground any longer than you have to. The Pitts S-2C accelerates very quickly and can get airborne in less than 5 seconds and 600 feet of ground roll at 1700 lbs at sea level on a standard temperature day. Raise the tail just high enough to improve your forward visibility, about 12-18 inches, but not so high (top wing level with the horizon) that it will not fly when its ready to. I call this attitude a tail low, positive angle of attack takeoff that will get the Pitts airborne and away from danger (the ground) as quickly as possible. The longer you stay on the ground, with your $40,000 propeller hovering inches above the pavement, is just asking for a prop strike or FOD damage from a piece of asphalt being sucked into the blades.
SkyThrills is now flying biplane adventure experiences out of French Valley Airport in Temecula’s amazing wine country! For the first time in over 70 years, you can now experience the magic and beauty of flying in one of the world’s most luxurious biplanes ever made, the WACO YMF-5C, from Orange County or Los Angeles to this amazing place in 1930s style! You and a loved one will fly open cockpit style above the vineyards in Temecula’s world-class wine country.We are also providing you with a “Picnic Gift Basket” filled with award winning wine, delicious sharp cheeses, gourmet crackers, fresh French bread, wonderful olive oil and balsamic vineagar from local suppliers. This is a once in a lifetime biplane flying adventure experience you are not going to want to miss. Call to schedule your amazing 1930s luxury biplane adventure with SkyThrills today! 1-866-4-THRILL for more information. www.skythrills.com
SkyThrills is now located at the corner of Commonwealth Ave at Magnolia. If you exit either the 91 Freeway or the 5 Freeway at Magnolia, just head north on Magnolia and it runs straight into our building. Look for the Banners of the Biplanes and the Air Combat USA Marchetti SF-260s on the wall. We look forward to flying with you soon. Google Maps
Great Gift Idea | Biplane Adventure Air Tours & Charters | Biplane Rides | Los Angeles & Orange County Things to Do
Looking for something totally different and incredible to do in Los Angeles? Are you looking for a great gift for Christmas that will be something that will be talked about for years? You have come to the right place! Take an aerial tour or charter of Los Angeles or Orange County in our biplane! More fun than a helicopter tour because you are in the front seat, you can feel the wind in your face and you can pretend that you are Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart exploring the landscape of your choosing! SkyThrills now offers the best aerial tours and charter flights for up to 2 passengers in our luxury open cockpit Waco biplane out of Fullerton Municipal Airport. We even offer flights that you can experience loops and rolls, hammerheads and spins in our Waco biplane with our Thrill Rides. Get ready for the adventure thrill of a lifetime! www.skythrills.com
Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles and Orange County | Biplane Adventure Charter Flights to Catalina Island
SkyThrills is officially the world’s 1st Biplane Tour & Charter Operation in over 70 Years! After years of hard work, dedication, and commitment to this project, SkyThrills is now the only biplane operation to offer charter flights to anywhere in the lower 48 states! Imagine, flying with someone special in the front cockpit of our 1930s biplane low along the coast of California for mile after mile in awe of our beautiful coastline on your way to someplace jets can’t fly you directly to. Like Catalina Island, a private vineyard in Napa Valley or a secluded airstrip on the coast of California that is too small to allow bigger faster planes to land there. This is the flying adventure of a lifetime. Take a trip with us in our time machine back to the glamorous 1930s when things were simple and the adventure was real.