Frederick Don Pittman 86, of Sapulpa, passed away on August 27, 2021 with his family at his side. Don was born January 5, 1935 in Seiling, Oklahoma to Frederick Eli and Bertha Viola (Woodring) Pittman.
Don was locally known for his incredible aerobatic flying skills. He was also a certified horologist/gemologist and owned Millers Jewelry in Sapulpa for a number of years. He also served as a Sapulpa City Commissioner.
Don was the holder of Amateur and Professional AAA National Aerobatic Titles in his S1 Pitts Special bi-plane specifically built for him. He was well known throughout the United States and Canada performing at most of the major air shows. One memorable event in 1965 involved a precision flying technique under an arch of the Belle Isle Bridge during a Detroit airshow and Boat Races. When questioned by the FAA Don said it was an accident. He said he came out of a maneuver low and had a split second to decide where to go. People were on the bridge and he would only hope he would make it above the bridge, he said he knew he could make it under the arch.
Flying and aerobatics was a love affair which started for Don in Seiling, Oklahoma at just 9 years old. That August day as he trudged around his paper route an army training plane roared inverted down Main Street. Don raised his fist toward the disappearing aircraft and shouted “I’m going to do that some day!” Indeed, he did.
By the time Don was 16 years old he had soloed in so many airplanes that the instructor allowed him only two airplanes to enter into his log book before he would sign off his Private Pilot Certificate! From then on, his feet were seldom on the ground.
Not only did he hold National Titles for Aerobatics he went on to be an accomplished Airline Pilot for TWA flying whatever they threw at him. He earned his four stripe Captain position in the brand-new Boeing 767. There was rumor that he taught many airline pilots’ aerobatics. One particular rumor involved a student giving him a check-ride in a Boeing 737. He was asked if the 737 would roll. Don supposedly said, “the big ones can roll too, they’re just like a big truck and react a little slower and takes a little more finesse.” The rumor it turns out was absolutely true! He retired with TWA after 25yrs of service.
Don was the nephew of the late Lt. Irvin Albert Woodring of the famous Three Musketeers, included Col. Charles Lindbergh and Lt. William L. Cornelius.
Don is survived by his wife Cleta Faye Pittman of Tulsa/Sapulpa, 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Daughter – Donetta Malloy (Jack) of Belmont, North Carolina, Kendra Malloy of Cape Coral, Florida, Ashley Cooper (Joe) of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Becky Santoro (Tony) of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Son – Steven Joe Pittman (Diane) of Glenpool, Oklahoma, Steven Louis (Jeff) of Hiram, Georgia and Micah Tillotson of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There are no services planned at this time.