Aug 5, 2021 | By: Chris Burns

Husky National STOL Series Takes Flight at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport

The Husky National STOL Series will be at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport over this coming weekend and go through Saturday, August 7. Admission will be $10 for the STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) competition with children 12 and under being allowed in for free.

“It’s pretty simple, it’s a takeoff and landing competition where the pilots – these are all very skilled pilots, a lot of these are very highly modified airplanes, some are actually just daily flyers, but basically what they’re doing is, competing to see who can take off [in] the shortest [distance] and land [in] the shortest [distance],” said Doug Jackson, National STOL Partner and Co-founder.

After the success of the first event, held in Texas in March 2020, National STOL started a series throughout the United States. Their fourth stop is in Brainerd.

“This weekend, Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport is hosting the National S-T-O-L, or Short Take Off and Landing Series, here in Brainerd, Minnesota,” said Steve Wright, Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Manager. “It’s kind of their inaugural series for short takeoff and landings of general aviation aircraft across the country.”

The condition to win the event is simple – the person with the lowest score takes home the victory.

“They take off, we measure their takeoff distance and they come back and land and we measure that distance, and those two numbers combined are their score,” explained Jackson.

One of the competitors in this weekend’s event believes he holds the world record for the shortest takeoff ever accomplished. It took no more than a full rotation of his tires.

“A quarter of a rotation I was off the ground,” said competitor Steve Henry. “In fact on that one, they didn’t rotate; I had my brakes on too, so I actually just skidded my tires two-and-a-half feet and I was flying.”

This event lasts through Saturday, with Thursday being open to all the competitions to practice and the real trials starting tomorrow.

“Tomorrow we’ll have qualifying, they’ll get two to three rounds tomorrow depending on time, and then the top five competitors out of each class will move on to the finals on Saturday,” said Jackson.

With the promotion of aviation in the Brainerd Lakes region also comes the benefits of hosting an event in this community.

“Eonomically, we have more fuel cells on the airport. We’re using the airport, and then within a community, these participants are coming from all across the country,” said Wright. “They’re staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and participating in the wonderful summer of [the] Brainerd Lakes region.

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