Valdez STOL Airplanes Coming To Oshkosh


Photo: Valdez Fly-In and Air Show

If you’ve seen videos online of the annual STOL competition at Pioneer Field Airport in Valdez, Alaska, you know the amazing capabilities of these bush planes and their pilots — and this year, for the first time, you can catch their demo flights at EAA AirVenture, in Oshkosh, instead of traveling all the way to the great North. At the Valdez fly-in, held in May, bush pilots compete in rugged, often modified or homebuilt STOL aircraft, to see who can land and take off in the shortest distance — sometimes under 100 feet. At Oshkosh, the STOL airplanes will fly during the afternoon airshow, Monday to Wednesday, July 28-30, and will stage a “fun flying” demo from the grass ultralight runway on Friday evening, Aug. 1.

In addition, more than a dozen of the STOL aircraft will be on display in special parking areas and on the main showcase ramp. Pilots and builders of the bush planes will participate in forums and evening programs throughout the week. And at Oshkosh, visitors can enjoy the airplanes without having to brave the Valdez weather, which, according to the Alaska Dispatch, can be expected to include “overcast skies, wind, rain, freezing rain, fog, and sunny periods” during the two-and-a-half days of the fly-in. The Dispatch shared this video of Josh Pepperd, of Wasilla, who made a 30-foot landing in his experimental Piper Pacer/Producer. “Two bounces and a stop, and the crowd went wild,” says the Dispatch.