Milaca’s annual August aviation celebration is adding an event that’s designed to test pilots’ skills during two critical phases of flight.
The grass runway airport will become the site for a new event called the Sodbusters STOL Competition.
The event, being organized by local pilot and business owner Jeff Pohl, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
STOL is an acronym for a short takeoff and landing. Pilots will try to land and take off as slowly and accurately as possible, doing their best to establish the shortest combined distance.
The winner is defined by adding together take-off and landing distance.
The take-off distance is measured from the aircraft stop to the point at which the main wheels leave the ground the final time.
The landing is the distance measured from the main wheels of the aircraft at a complete stop from the arrival line. If the aircraft touches before the arrival line, then the run is void.
Pilots arriving for the event will able to get in a practice day on Friday, Aug. 2.
There will be four categories of competition on Saturday: Heavy Touring, Light Touring, Bush Class and Light Sport/Light Experimental Aircraft.
Trophies will be presented to the winners of the four groups and plaques will be presented to those who finish in second and third place.
Awards will be presented during a pig roast Saturday evening that will be catered by Timber Valley Grill. A local group, called In The Fields, will be providing live music.
On Sunday morning the airport will host its annual fly-in breakfast, prepared by members of the Milaca Hansen-Hayes American Legion Post 178.
“The goal is to have a good time and to make this an annual event,” Pohl said in a news release announcing the new event. “We’re hoping we might attract some of the traffic departing EAA AirVenture, and we will be offering free camping space starting Monday, July 29.”
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (formerly the EAA Annual Convention and Fly-In) is an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The airshow is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), an international organization based in Oshkosh, and is the largest of its kind in the world.
The show lasts a week, and is usually schedule at the end of July. During the gathering, the airport’s control tower is the busiest in the world.
Milne "CC" Pocock, winner of the AirVenture Oshkosh STOL, Valdez STOL, Texas STOL, and competitor in the Milaca 2019 Sodbusters STOL, will teach a seminar at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 in the main event tent on the airport grounds.
Pocock is an accomplished flight instructor, bush pilot, stunt pilot and author.
The Milaca-based Sodbuster STOL event costs $50 to enter. There are no landing fees.
With more than $15,000 in prizes donated from some of the biggest names in general aviation, Pohl is expecting a large turnout for the inaugural event.
The remainder of the Milaca Fly-In schedule on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 is filled with additional aviation events for the entire family.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alexandria Aviation will be providing airplane rides, and food trucks will be available at the airport.
Burgers, brats, walking tacos, and mini donuts will be among the food items available for purchase.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. helicopters from the Minnesota State Patrol and North Memorial will be available for public viewing.
The Sodbuster STOL Awards Ceremony and a military flyover are scheduled at 4 p.m. Also at 4 p.m., the band will being performing, the beer garden will open and serving will begin at the pig roast.
Members of the Milaca Hansen-Hayes American Legion Post 178 and local Boy Scouts will conduct a flag retirement ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The American Legion Breakfast will be served from 8 am to noon on Sunday, Aug. 4.
Pancakes, sausages, ham, eggs, juice, coffee and milk are on the menu. Cost is $10 per adult and $5 for kids 6-12 years of age. Kids 5 and under eat free. This is an all you can eat event.
More information about the annual fly-in can be found on the city of Milaca’s Facebook page. Look for the “Annual Fly-In to Milaca” page link.
For more information about the Sodbusters STOL event, contact Pohl at Pohl at (612) 221.8584 or search Facebook for: Sodbusters STOL Competition.