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Tom Flanary

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National STOL was designed to focus on basic pilot skills, and to reinforce critical skills in on and off airport STOL takeoffs and landings. In the competition, pilots complete a series of 3 takeoffs and landings. We measure from a start finish line to where the main wheels stop. If you main wheels touch short of the line on landing, it’s considered a DQ, and that round does not count. The shortest combined score is the winner. If at any point you feel that you’re in an unstable approach, you can go around. SAFETY is key in our competition. We’ve broken up the competition into classes, where aircraft compete in like types. A 172 will be in a class with other Maule M7’s, 170s, and 175s, and a stock airplane does quite well!

One of our first time competitors this spring was Bobby Kerr in his 1996 Maule M7-180A. Bobby is a college student in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area, and a private pilot with about 200 hours. The plane, which is completely bone stock – minus some carefully placed tennis tape on the yoke, did extremely well against like competitors. Bobby’s takeoff rolls in his Maule were averaging in the low 230s, with landings surprisingly similar, with most in the low 200s. One of his shortest landings was 183 feet. But, as we mentioned, Bobby was a completely first time competitor and has never been to one of our events previously.

We asked Bobby if he had any suggestions for pilots considering signing up, “Doing some kind of flying competition is something that I had wanted to for a long time until I found National STOL. The fact that you can use the airplane you most likely already have and the airport you’re based out of to practice is HUGE. With less than 200 hours of total time, I was able to fly and compete. You just won’t find that in many other series. Never in my life did I ever think that I would actually be competing.”

He continued, “If you’re even remotely considering it, go for it. Use those slow flight and short field landing skills that you’ve learned and just have fun. If you don’t think you’ll be competitive, do it anyways. You might surprise yourself, and flying against/with someone better than you is one of the best (if not the best) ways to improve your own flying.”

And he’s completely right. You can practice these skills at any local airport, whether it’s on asphalt, gravel, grass or turf. Practicing these Short Takeoffs and Landings will make you a more confident pilot when it comes to getting in and out of tough strips, and most importantly, requires you to absolutely nail a landing spot.

Moreover, with dozens of other competitors, the series allows you to find other pilots, who are always trying to teach others how to challenge themselves and be a better pilot. Our events are as much as a social event as they are a competition, because at the end of the day, you’re competing against yourself for the shortest score.

We’re back this week in Gainesville, TX on September 23-25, 2021. Thursdays are open practice, to let pilots get used to the runway, the field conditions and the local geography. Friday, the 24th, we’ll have qualifying, which is the first day of the competition. The top 6 pilots per class will advance to Saturday. After the qualifying, we’ll hold one more practice session. On Saturday we hold the finals, where each pilot runs 3 times again. The final scores are all based on Saturday’s competition.

Each day, we invite visitors to spectate practice and the competition. Thursday is completely free to observe, with Friday and Saturday $10 each day, or $18 online for the two days. We’ll be broadcasting live from the event, follow our Facebook page for more information!

Don’t want to go home for a minute and miss the fun? Pitch a tent, bring an RV, bring an airplane and sleep under the wing. Each night we’ll have food and social gatherings at the airport. Camping is $60 for the entire week, whether you fly, drive, or walk in.

Thinking about registering as a competitor? DO IT. You’ll love it. Entry is $100. There are more than $8000 in prizes and trophies. Almost any single engine fixed wing is welcome. If you have more than one engine, a helicopter, or happen to have a harrier? We’re more than happy to have you run in an exhibition class so you can show everyone your STOL Skills!

More information and tickets can be found on the main page of our website: nationalstol.com

The results from the 2021 SWAMP STOL are in! All of the results are available at this download, or simple results are below. The Official results are:


Overall Winner:

STEVE HENRY
Wild West Highlander
Takeoff: 53 Feet – Landing: 99 Feet – Overall: 152 Feet

Heavy Touring

PosPilot / Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1Warren Grobbelaar
180
289248537
2William Gilstrap
182
248430678
3Andrew Patry
182
318427745
4Charlie Ross
HELIO Courier
360409769
Notables: This entire round was done with a 5-7 kt quartering tailwind, which increased landing distances.

Light Touring

PosPilot/Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1Jeff Pohl
170B
170168338
2Kenneth Monger
170B
213164377
3Jeffrey Abrams
Cherokee
295363658
4Matthew Petersen
172
365372737
Notables: Jeff Pohl had the shortest takeoff, but came just behind Kenneth Monger with his landing. Jeffrey Abrams, a rookie, scored in 3rd with his Cherokee 180, IMPRESSIVE!

Bush

PosPilot/Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1Kevin Johnson
Supercub
107116223
2Austin Clemens
Husky A1-C
140120260
3Shawn Francis
Husky A1-C
185250435
4David Weinstein
Husky A1
205235440
Notables: New to the series, Kevin Johnson, brought the lowest scores of the day with his super consistent takeoffs in both round 2 and 3 (107 feet both!)

Experimental

PosPilot/Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1John Wisdom
AL18 MOAC
125131256
2Mike Lemons
AL18 MOAC
120175295
3Luke Spoor
AL18 MOAC
132167299
4Brian Steck
AL18 MOAC
139161300
5Keith Gyger
Badlands Traveller
139198337
Notables: John Wisdom had some incredible landings in the MOAC, and Brian Steck had an engine issue which pulled him out of round 2 and 3, but he was able to get on the board in the first round. Keith Gyger had remarkably similar distances to Brian Steck’s run.

Light Sport / Light Experimental

PosPilot/Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1Steve Henry
Highlander
5399152
2Hal Stockman
S-7S
8584169
3Joe Edward
AL-18
161192353
4Jeremiah Stapleton
Zenith CH-750
196306502
Notables:

Exhibition Scores (Don’t count towards the series standings)

PosPilot/Aircraft TypeWinning TakeoffWinning LandingOverall Score
1Keith Wall
Aircam
163289452
2Jeff Womack
C-3
253257510
3Cameron Womack
C-3
355DQDQ
Notables: We had our first father/son team complete with the Aeronca C-3. Because they competed over different days, it moved them to the exhibition class. Keith wall in the Aircam had an impressive 163 foot takeoff!