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You are not seeing things.

Those of you who know about these things will spot something odd about one of these images. The Ground.

Firstly the aircraft, referred to simply as the 'Muscle Pitts'. It's a Pitts Special aerobatic aircraft, with, literally, muscle. It's been uprated in a myriad of ways (the original isn't exactly modest) and the most obvious change is at the front. An 8.5 litre six cylinder Lycoming engine has been installed. This then required everything else to be beefed up a bit. No, beefed up a lot. It's got uprated landing gear, strengthened everything and a party piece or two.

Back to the image with grass in it. For those that don't know, this shows the aircraft in what's referred to as a knife edge. It's literally flying using a combination of the propeller to pull it up and the rudder to keep it pointing up. The wings aren't generating much if any lift.

This is something that the best aerobatic pilots can do, if their aircraft allows. You can find plenty of pictures of aircraft in knife edges. This image, taken by Paul Johnson, is different to all others - there's not much sky. Most pilots want to be at a few hundred feet when in a knife edge; Rich on the other hand is quite happy doing away with the word hundred. His tail might be six feet off the ground here, probably less. He's also just taken off.

This has to be seen to be believed and causes much jealousy amongst many pilots. Once he's finished the oddest departure you'll see, he then proceeds to demonstrate what muscle is all about, this time with some blue behind him.

Rich will be appearing on Sunday 30th July only and most likely in the red Pitts you see here. There is a chance that the aircraft won't be red. He has two. One of them has even more modifications, in the form of even more muscle. We won't elaborate, but if the aircraft is blue it has a one to one power to weight ratio, can hover and will be making odd noises. We'll see.

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