When seconds matter

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By GRANT BOYD

The inaugural ArkanSTOL Ozark Backwoods Challenge proved that seconds matter in a Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) competition.

Taking place Sept. 10-13, 2020, at Byrd’s Adventure Center in Northwest Arkansas, the event drew more than 600 people, with more than 100 aircraft flying in. According to organizers, 26 pilots competed in the STOL event.

While only one was crowned a champion in each class of competing aircraft — Touring, Bush, and Light Sport — there was some stiff competition among the contenders, according to John Young, who co-founded the event with Rusty Coonfield and Joe Edwards.

Darin Hart flying a Legend Cub AL-18, followed by Austin Clemens in an Aviat Husky A-1C, with Steve Pierce above in a Super Cub. (Photos by Grant Boyd)

“The nature of the course itself is somewhat of an equalizer between aircraft because some are stronger on the takeoff, some are stronger in the turns, and some are faster between runways,” he said before the competition launched. “It should point more to a pilot’s skills, judgment, strategy, knowledge of their aircraft, and decision making.”

“We want to emphasize that all the contestants who are able to complete the course should be worthy of recognition and we believe we’ll see some

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