What a weekend in Wayne, NE! For the first time, STOL fans were treated to an opportunity to experience both of the top two national STOL competitions in one place, National STOL and STOL Drag. Many pilots participated in both events during a jam-packed weekend of flying.
While the weather looked questionable in the days leading up to the event, conditions cleared right on schedule. Besides a brief rainstorm Thursday evening after practice, skies were clear but breezy all weekend long, with wind gusting up to 18-24 knots. The wind certainly played a factor in competition, especially during Friday’s qualifying. Catching the right gust helped some competitors, whereas unpredictable winds led to a higher than average number of scratches on landing.
A record number 41 aircraft competed in Friday’s Qualifying competition, with the top 6 in each class advancing to Saturday’s Finals. Nearly every class saw a shake up in the top 3 between the two days of competition, with scores resetting entering Finals.
In the Rookie Class… son Rod Hewitt bested his father, Steven Hewitt, flying the same Rans S7 (Steven’s brother, Alan Hewitt, also competed in a Cessna 172). Steven would later place higher than his son in STOL Drag.
In the Touring Class…Warren Grobbelaar came back from 3rd place in qualifying to upset Brandon Corn’s perfect 2023 record. National STOL newcomer, Kurt Leaders, rounded out the top 3.
In the Backcountry Class… Austin Clemens in the Husky took home the victory above the Cessnas by a mere 12 feet. Jeff Pohl surpassed Micah Lindstrom on the second day of competition to finish second.
In the Adventure Class… Collin Caneva dropped from the top 3 after scratching every landing in finals. Brian Steck in the Legend MOAC maintained his top placement, with first time National STOL competitors Jody Card and Keith Lange finishing second and third.
In the Sport Class… After scratching her first two rounds, young Jaden Newman came back in the final round to upset Rick Boardman by just 2 feet. Collin Caneva, flying his 2nd aircraft of the day, finished 3rd.
In the Unlimited Class… While Dan Reynolds qualified in the lead position on Friday, Steve Henry came back with an incredible 43′ combined take off and landing to finish on top during Finals. Hal Stockman not only gave Steve and Dan a run for their money, but as always, served as an incredible mentor and resource to many of the pilots throughout the weekend.
National STOL extends their thanks and gratitude to Travis Meyer, Craig Spiker, Collin Caneva, the Wayne Airport Authority, the Wayne America Fly In/National STOL volunteers, and the people of Wayne, NE for their hard work organizing this incredible event! Attendees were treated to a weekend of midwestern fun and hospitality, with flyouts to sandbars, rocking musical performances, pilot dinners, and a can-do attitude.
For full National STOL results from the Wayne America Fly In, including updated season standings: https://nationalstol.com/2023-season-standings/
For STOL Drag results from the Wayne America Fly In: https://www.stoldrag.com/wayneamerica-2023
Visit the National STOL, STOL Drag, and Wayne America social media pages for plenty of photos and videos from the event. Livestream recordings of National STOL’s practice, qualifying, and finals competitions can be viewed in their entirety on YouTube.
Be sure to join National STOL at our next event, SKOL STOL in Isle, MN, July 7-9! For full details, visit the SKOL STOL event page.