Winds Help STOL Champions

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When you add high winds to a STOL competition, the results can be pretty amazing. Every February the Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships at Omaka Aerodrome near Blenheim, New Zealand, attracts the country’s top precision pilots in an event similar to those popular in Alaska. This year, a howling wind blew down the grass runway and the pilots took full advantage of the gusty conditions until the competition had to be called for safety concerns, but not before turning in some astonishing results.

The overall winner was Deane Philip in his souped-up (130-HP) Zenith CH701 who took off in 8.3 meters (27.2 feet) and landed in 9.9 meters (32.5 feet). Another CH701 flown by Chris Anderson was second with an 8.1-meter takeoff and 11.7-meter landing. In the precision landing competition, Scott Madsen plopped his Cessna 180 down within 28 inches of the mark. The winning flight is below and the video was shot by  Nick Hobart.

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