‘Swamp STOL’ Doubles in Size

First-place winners, from right to left: Tom Flanary (National STOL), Steve Henry, Andrew Patry*, Micah Lindstrom, Tom Ford, Luke Spoor (*Heavy touring winner was later determined to be Warren Grobbelaar).

In its second year, the Husky National STOL Series event in Jennings, Louisiana—“Swamp STOL”—had some of the fiercest competition to date, with many pilots bumped from their comfortable first-place finishes by talented newcomers.

While severe storms ravaged the surrounding areas, Jennings was 75 degrees and CAVU this year and offered up 15-kt gusty headwinds right down the runway for the light experimental bush class later in the day. 

Dan Reynolds hanging in the air with little forward movement in his custom built “Valdez special” Chinook aircraft, which was an absolute crowd pleaser. With the slowest and steepest approach in the field, Reynolds made it look easy, working the stick and rudder to exhaustion while keeping his airplane perfectly straight. 

[Courtesy: National STOL

Steve Henry in his “Wild West” Highlander did not change his tried-and-true technique of coming in long and low at about 5 feet off the deck—a risky challenge in gusty winds. He often fought to stay afloat, assisted by his 300 hp engine, which quickly lifted him when he encountered a sinker. Hal Stockman in his Rans S-7 and Colin Caneva in his Carbon Cub rounded out the top of the class both with impressive performances of their own.

In the end, Henry pulled off the win by 7 feet over Reynolds, giving him the overall win as well.

In the light touring class Jeff Pohl was bumped from his normal first-place podium by hometown rival, newcomer, and TikTok star Micah Lindstrom—both flying Cessna 170s—an accomplishment that Pohl was very supportive of. However, he looks forward to the upcoming rematch. 

Kenneth Monger achieved his personal best in a Cessna 172, and Joanna Jestice in her Cessna 150/150, rounded out this class. 

In the heavy touring class, Warren Grobbelaar, flying his Cessna 180, led the way followed by Andrew Patry in his Cessna 182. Don Mickey in his Cessna 180 and Brandon Corn in his Cessna 205 rounded out the heavies.

The bush class also had movement, when 19-year-old Austin Clemens in his Aviat Husky A1-C was bumped by Tom Ford in his Piper PA-18 with Colin Kosubinski (PA-18-150) and Shawn Francis (Aviat Husky A1-C) finished up class.

The experimental bush class had Luke Spoor (Legend/Super Legend) taking the top spot, followed by Brian Steck (Legend MOAC), Robbie Stanton (Javron SuperCub), and Mike Case (Legend AL-18).

With an authentic local live band playing and Mayor Henry Guinn present, the city of Jennings, in partnership with the Jeff Davis Tourism Parish, had several hundred pounds of crawfish and jambalaya cooked on the spot and served to all the pilots and crews in attendance. It was a wonderful gesture sure to make competitors want to return. 

Next, the Husky National STOL Series comes to the West Coast. Any pilots who would like to try their hand at flying in a STOL competition should look into SoCal STOL. Newcomers can compete in a relaxed environment, in Tehachapi, California (KTSP) on May 27 and 28. Go to nationalstol.com for more info.

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

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