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Taking place at Byrd’s Adventure Center, the event was unlike any other STOL competition. Pilots were tested on their skills and judgment while dealing with extreme terrain and challenges, including unpredictable river valley winds. Despite the challenge, Newman gave the competitors a run for their money—finishing second in the light sport category just half a second behind winner Steve Henry with a time of 2:38.7 minutes.
One of 26 competitors, Newman put on an impressive performance in her 2009 Super Sport Cub, though she admitted she had no expectations of doing so well. With just 300 hours of flight time, it’s clear she’s made a real name for herself.
AOPA caught up with Newman to talk about the ArkanSTOL competition and her experiences flying as a young competitor.
What got you into flying?
I went up with my mom and dad on a test flight with an instructor and I really enjoyed the experience.
What aircraft do you fly?
I fly a 2009 CubCrafters [Carbon Cub SS], I also fly a Cessna 172 and a Sling 2, I have flown an American Champion Scout and a TBM 850.
How much flight time do you have?
A little over 300 total time—about 150 in the Cub, 70 in the Cessna, 80 in the Sling and just a few in the Scout and TBM 850.
Was the ArkanSTOL event your first time competing?
Yes and it was the time of my life!!!!
What do you enjoy most about flying?
The freedom it gives me and overcoming the challenge to land at new spots.
Do you have any aviation role models?
Mike Patey, Steve Henry, Trent Palmer, Jonas Marcinko, Kevin Quinn, Cory Robin, my flight instructor—Dennis Duggan and my dad! I also met a new one at ArkanSTOL—my new mentor and someone I look up to—Joe Edwards.
How much experience did you have with backcountry flying prior to the ArkanSTOL competition?
After I received my tailwheel endorsement on February 22, 2020, I would fly low-and-slow almost every evening after school in the adobe hills next to Montrose, Colorado. I also spent a lot of my flying time exploring new landing spots in Moab, Utah, and around the Uncompahgre Plateau.
Do you want to continue flying as a career or as a hobby?
I would like to continue making flying a career and a hobby!
Where do you see yourself in the
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