WAYNE – Plan on making a trip or multiple trips to the Wayne Municipal Airport this week where those who attend are in for an aviation treat.
From Stan Morris Field (KLCG), the Wayne Airport Authority welcomes all to the inaugural MayDay STOL Drag Wednesday, April 28 – Saturday, May 1.
From traditional short-take-off-and-landing (STOL) to drag races and weekend entertainment, bring a bag chair and enjoy the day and evening events.
A trio of pilots joined the “View from Wayne America” earlier this week being Katie Waito from Southern Ontario, Canada as well as Eugene, Oregon natives Kyle Bushman and Jeff Whiteley.
Bushman started at a young age in aviation with RC models. He flew a 1943 N3N (primarily trainer for the Navy) which is an open cockpit bi-plane over the Rockies to Wayne. He said the City of Wayne rolled out the red carpet for the pilots.
“We’ve hit some local places, met all the locals, had coffee, had some breakfast,” said Bushman. “Then we came up with the idea of wake-up calls in the morning. So, in the morning about between 7:30 – 8 a.m. we’ve been getting up in the morning and flying the bi-plan and the 175 over the city and we’ve been pumping some smoke.”
The four day event will feature pilots from the west coast, east coast, Wisconsin, Canada and more.
Waito arrived on Sunday and will be heading to Saskatchewan to also compete. She operates spray planes as a living and mentioned she does aerobatics with another bi-plane with one seat
“Then, this plane I have is kind of like a Sedan, it’s a four-seater with baggage,” Waito added. “So, I can carry tents and dogs and people.”
She also travels the country at least twice a year.
As stated before, there’ll be no parking (aside from ADA and event personnel) at the airport. Make plans to park at the Wayne County Fairgrounds (301 Pheasant Run) with alternate overflow parking at Journey Christian Church or the Summer Sports Complex as shuttles will run from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. until midnight on Saturday. The shuttle can also drop off people downtown at the Carhart parking lot.
Wednesday was scheduled to start with pilot training but due to the Tuesday evening rain and late afternoon conditions on the runway the group decided to cancel STOL practices. Practices and prep will continue as planned on the schedule for Thursday between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. depending on the wind. Between 100 – 500 airplanes, depending on weather, will arrive as spectators to watch the event with roughly 25 planes signed up for the races.
The drag races will feature two airplanes, possibly side-by-side, to see who can go down-and-back the fastest. For the traditional STOL, there’ll be a chalk line and the airplane will line up on the line before taking off in the shortest distance, fly around and come back and land in the shortest distance.
Whiteley does this for fun and bought a plane before traveling to Alaska to get some lessons. He mentioned where the idea of STOL Drag came from.
“So, these are all basic skills that a lot of pilots should learn somewhere down the road in their training because it will only help them if you have problems,” Whiteley mentioned. “So, we just kind of turn that into let’s take off as fast as we can, stop as fast as we can and turn around and come the other way.”
Evening entrainment will be offered by Tegan Nissen around a bonfire Friday starting around 9 p.m. and Eckophonic will take to the stage Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. Vendors will also be on site during the event.
One of the big aviation events are the Reno Air Races where roughly 500,000 people have attended where STOL is a segment of the event. The STOL Drag group has also visited the High Sierra Fly-in in Reno, Nevada and to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The event in Wayne will be the central hub and the first to kick off the year for STOL drags.
Complete ‘View’ interview:
Visit maydaystol.com for complete ticket details and like MayDay STOL Drag Races on Facebook for more information.