Fatal Accident Stops STOL Competition In Nebraska

California pilot Tom Dafoe was killed after a crash at the MayDay event in Wayne.

Tom Dafoe was flying in a traditional STOL pickup heat on Friday. [Photo: Nick’s Wild Ride on Facebook]

The MayDay STOL competition in Wayne, Nebraska, came to an abrupt and tragic halt on Friday evening with the loss of pilot Tom Dafoe, who was piloting a 1946 Cessna 140.

Dafoe was flying in the fourth heat of a traditional STOL pickup match when the Cessna entered a stall-spin around 300 feet agl, from straight-and-level flight with airspeed low, according to eyewitnesses on the scene at Wayne Municipal-Stan Morris Field. The subsequent impact took Dafoe’s life.

Tom Dafoe (right) and son Will in front of the family Cessna 140 in Lubbock Texas. [File photo: Tom Dafoe]

MayDay STOL event organizers stopped the event, and most participants headed home, as investigation into what led up to the accident began. The event had been scheduled to run for four days and was to include a STOL Drag competition on Friday, which had been scrubbed because of high winds.

A GoFundMe has been established for Dafoe’s family, including his wife and five kids.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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