After a nearly rained-out practice, SwampSTOL lived up to its name, turning the normally beautiful grass field in Jennings, Louisiana into a wet, mud-filled landscape.
The locals were undeterred, arriving in their muck boots. The runway was high ground and competition continued as scheduled. Braking was challenging.
The SwampSTOL event opened with a new look, logo, rules, and a completely new format of classes created by statistics from the previous year. For the first time, the different types of aircraft are being placed together based on performance data in the hands of capable pilots in competition, not relying on speculative POH information, published performances, and gross weights alone.
The two newest noteworthy classes are the Rookie Class, designed to encourage newcomers to join and fly with pilots of similar experience in STOL, and the Unlimited Class, which demonstrates the best-performing STOL aircraft with pilots competing for prize purses.
SwampSTOL 2023 Results
Brandon Corn, in his custom-painted Cessna 205, won with an impressive 333-foot combined takeoff and landing, followed by Clayton Stansell at 489 feet in a Cessna 180 and
Don Mickey (with two people in the cockpit) pulled off 507 feet for his 2023 return.
Jeff Pohl took first place with 145 feet in front of newcomer Shawn Johnson at 156 feet, followed by Micah Lindstrom at 172 feet.
It was all American Legend Cubs, beginning with Brian Steck at 110 feet, while Collin Canev—with only a few hours at the stick of this new airplane—laws down a 134-foot run for second, with Luke Spoor finishing on his tail at 138 feet.
Kelly Qualls placed first with 229 feet in his CubCrafters Carbon Cub, which—according to the rules of the class—bumped him out of this class in the future. Chris Jamison flew his Zenith 701 to a second-place finish at 233 feet, followed by Nick Ardillo in his Carbon Cub at 253 feet.
Rick Boardman took first place at 114 feet in his Carbon Cub, with the belly pod attached, in front of Kris Griewahn in his Just Aircraft SuperStol at 208 feet, with newcomer Justin Tisdale flying his Zenith 701 to a 462 feet third place finish.
Steve Henry was on fire with his brand new Yee Haw 8 Wild West Highlander, taking first with an unbelievable 35-foot combined score, followed by Dan Reynolds, who caught a gust at the line, forcing him to add throttle to prevent scratching on his third lap, finishing second with 77 feet.
The City of Jennings, Louisiana and Jeff Davis Tourism Parish partnered to serve several hundred pounds of crawfish, cooked on the spot, and served to all the pilots and crews in attendance. It was a gesture that continues to entice competitors to make the journey to this unique event.
The sunrise of the 2023 National STOL season came with the sunset of STOL Queen Anitra Goddard, who was given an emotional ceremony and send-off. All the pilots, crews, and staff thanked Anitra for all her hard work and wished her the best in her future endeavors.
More information on future National STOL competitions may be found here.