Outlaw STOL Competition Heats Up Out West

The Husky National STOL series made its West-Coast debut in Arizona.

Jeff Pohl in his No. 00 Cessna 170B. [Photo: Bryan Weathers]

Outlaw STOL has teamed up this year with the Husky National STOL Series, which made its debut on the west coast at the Somerton Airport (54AZ) in Arizona, a private, paved airstrip right next to Yuma International Airport (KNYL). 

This was Somerton’s second year hosting a STOL competition, and with the national stol organization now behind them, we look forward to many more to come. 

In traditional STOL, wind plays a large role in takeoff and landing lengths. During this event, the wind was strong—as is often the case in the desert—and assisted some very short field performances. 

Steve Henry exceeded his own expectations by taking the overall win against his STOL nemesis—and dear friend and previous world record holder—Frank Knapp. Henry set a National STOL record of a 6-ft takeoff. He won his class of light sport as well as the overall. 

Another entertaining group to watch is the light touring class, which consists of many 170s and 172s—everyday practical planes that can take the family on a trip one weekend and enter a STOL competition the next. 

Jeff Pohl

Jeff Pohl (flying “Dirty Bird”) is no stranger to the number one podium spot in this class and he won it again at Somerton. I caught up with Pohl after the competition:

How long have you been flying?
Eleven years and about 1,500 hours.

How did you get started flying?
I called my friend Jerry, who is a flight instructor, and told him I wanted to learn. He said, “Meet me at the airport in 30 minutes.”

What aircraft are you currently flying?
Cessna 170B

How did you get started in STOL?
I watched YouTube videos of the Valdez comp and decided to go for it.

What’s your favorite part of STOL?
The friendships

What advice do you have for someone curious about trying a STOL competition?

Get comfortable with stalls in your airplane and learn to ride that edge at a safe altitude before bringing it to the line.

NameJeff Pohl
Age41
FromMilaca, Minnesota
ProfessionSelf-employed
ClassLight Touring
Number00
SponsorsSuper Cubs North T3 Tail Wheels, Tanis Aircraft Products

National STOL will be coming even further west this year with the upcoming event in Tehachapi, California, this spring. For more information, go to nationalstol.com

For complete results, go to https://nationalstol.com/scoring.

Josh Richling is a crew chief in the National STOL Series. He covers STOL competitions for FLYING.
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