4th Annual STOL Tips Seminar
By David Dunteman
February 10-12 marked the fourth STOL tips seminar by Patrick Romano and Dave Dunteman and the first in Arizona. They started the class last May 14 in Bentonville, Arkansas, and have now taught over 70 pilots in the art of expanding the pilots comfortable operating envelope of their aircraft. Specifically they start in the classroom and spend three to four hours watching videos and hearing presentations on all aspects of taking off, approaching, aborting the approach, flaring, landing, going around, and balked landings. Then participants go out and fly their aircraft with the instructors and work on the elements addressed in class. The desire is for a steep stabilized approach to a low energy spot landing. The picture above shows local pilots the day prior flying out to each of the strips to verify surface condition after the January rains.
Most participants stayed two nights at the Francisco Grande Resort. The facility is top notch and afforded great food and drinks at Dukes Lounge, a nice pool and hot tub, and an opportunity for participants to get to know one another and share the days lessons over an adult beverage.
Participants enjoyed a great area in the desert to park for the overnights. Most backcountry trips result in a camp-out and cooking over a fire, or eating freeze dried foods, but staying at a resort was a welcome departure!
The entire point of the course is being able to land on your spot at an appropriate speed. The Ak Chin Regional Airport provided an excellent indoor and outdoor classroom. A massive thank your goes out to the airport manager Tim Costello and his assistant Henry Pane! Here is our outdoor classroom. Henry, Kevin, Mike and Dave marked the touchdown point with a three foot circle in the middle of a thirty by fifty foot rectangle. Here is Dave demonstrating a low energy touchdown short of the box of course for the purpose of camera calibration. Kevin Pettiette is judging Dave Dunteman's second calibration run.
More than any other participant, local pilot Dean Gilderoy, put his 1958 big tire Cessna 175 in the box consistently, and here he puts it right on the mark!
Instructor Patrick Romano with student participant owning the box with the Maule M7-235.
Local pilot Jeff Kaufman flew with Dave Dunteman and demonstrated exceptional low energy landings and they explored many great local strips!
Brad Dunteman, flight instructor from Tac Aero in Hood River teaches in the Top Cub and enjoyed an escape from snow and ice storms to remember the joy of flight and all Arizona has to offer.