Over the last several years, short takeoff and landing (STOL) competitions have become incredibly popular, as they show pilots pulling off incredible maneuvers that require a good deal of finesse, patience, and technical skill. The above video — which took place at the Valdez STOL competition in Valdez, Alaska during the 12th annual Valdez Fly-In and Air Show back in May 2015 — offers just a taste at how awesome these contests really are. These competitors are the best of the best, and we can’t even imagine how much practice it takes to nail these takeoffs and landings.
As the short video shows, Bobby Breeden, who was flying in 14-knot winds mind you, needed only 44 feet of runway to take off and land, pairing a 24-foot takeoff with his second 20-foot landing. The performance led to Breeden winning the Alternate Bush Class. A well-deserved victory, no doubt!
To do what Bobby did is hard enough as is, but on top of that, the flight conditions made the feat all the more challenging. It all just goes to show what true pros are capable of when they rise to the challenge.
According to a recap of the event on Experimental Aircraft Association, here were the other winning pilots from that year’s competition.
- Shawn Holly, Soldotna, Alaska, Light Touring Class – 180 feet total, 76 foot takeoff, 104 foot landing, in a Cessna 170B
- Kevin Doyle, Soldotna, Alaska, Heavy Touring Class – 233 feet total, 105 foot takeoff and 129 foot landing, in a Cessna 180B
- Chuck McMahan, Gakona, Alaska, Bush Class – 138 feet total – 62 foot takeoff and 76 foot landing, in a Piper PA 18
- Frank Knapp, Palmer, Alaska, Light Sport – 61 feet on a 21-foot takeoff, 40 foot landing, in his experimental J3 Cub
This post was originally published on June 20, 2016.