EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — The specially modified short takeoff/landing (STOL) aircraft that were a hit at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 are returning for more fun this year, as they re-create one of the world’s most unique aviation competitions.
The “Valdez STOL” airplanes will be part of the 63rd annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) fly-in convention is July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Those aircraft compete at the annual Valdez, Alaska, fly-in and airshow in May each year, and demonstrated the unique capabilities of the airplanes and pilots at Oshkosh in 2014.
This year, more than a dozen of these aircraft, including homebuilt and specially modified production airplanes, will be participating on July 20-24. They are based on aircraft that provide supplies to the rugged and far-flung outposts throughout Alaska. The demanding terrain in that state requires that aircraft take off and land on rough runways often less than 500 feet long.
The Valdez STOL activities will include flying during the afternoon airshow and on selected evenings at AirVenture’s grass airstrip for ultralights on the south end of the grounds. These flying activities are made possible with support from CubCrafters, one of the nation’s leading backcountry aircraft manufacturers.
“We knew that last year’s Valdez flying competitions and demonstrations would be popular, but we had little idea how much fun it would be for both participants and those who watched them,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs. “The pilots drew cheers during the afternoon airshow demonstrations and thousands of aviation enthusiasts crowded around the ultralight runway for the informal post-air show evening festivities with the airplanes. This is true grassroots flying, perfect for Oshkosh.”