A competitor in an AOPA-sponsored STOL competition in Nebraska was killed Friday when his Cessna 140 appeared to stall and spin while setting up to land. According to AOPA, Tom Dafoe’s 1946 140 “rolled and dove during or soon after the base-to-final turn, and struck the ground in view of shocked spectators.” The accident happened on the second day of the planned four-day MayDay STOL 2022 event at Wayne Municipal Airport/Stan Morris Field in Wayne, Nebraska.
Dafoe was taking part in an unscheduled heat of a traditional STOL competition where takeoff and landing distance is all that is measured. The STOL Drag heats, where speed is an added element, were postponed because of high winds. A fundraiser has been launched by jetAVIVA, Dafoe’s employer, to help his family. AOPA President Mark Baker also pledged support. “We are heartbroken that we lost a member of the general aviation community, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the pilot,” Baker said. “We will continue to support the community as needed.”