Things to Do

Have a High-Flying Time at the Texas STOL Roundup in Hondo

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What happens when you visit Hondo, Texas and run into a bunch of adventuresome, experienced and (maybe) slightly competitive pilots, together for a full weekend of STOL competitions, live music, and fun? Well, sounds like you’ve stumbled into the 4th Annual Texas STOL Roundup at the Hondo Airport. The event will be held on September 29 through October 1 in Hondo, which is located 40 miles west of downtown San Antonio.

STOL = Short Takeoff and Landing

STOL roundup

Photo: Facebook/TexasSTOLRoundup

First things first: What on earth does STOL mean? STOL (not to be confused with SOL, which means something entirely different and definitely NOT something you want to hear your aircraft pilot say) is an acronym for “short takeoff and landing.”

A practice commonly used on runways with harsh conditions, such as ice or high altitude, or for bush pilots, who seldom have the luxury of landing on a real runway, takeoffs, and landings are measured in tens of feet. Pilots pull up to a line and try to get off the ground with as little ground roll as possible. These skills come with experience and practice. The single most important factor contributing to the safe operation of an aircraft in the short field environment is the skill and knowledge of the pilot, not the number of gadgets attached to the airplane.

Traditional Competitions and Evening Entertainment

STOL roundup

Photo: Facebook/TexasSTOLRoundup

The 4th Annual Texas STOL Roundup will feature, not only traditional STOL competitions but also obstacle STOL short takeoff and landing competitions. There will be STOL seminars to attend as well as a flour bombing contest, where participating aircrews will skillfully drop a flour bomb from their aircraft onto a large target positioned on the field.

Come for the fascinating flying skills but stay for the entertainment. The event will feature a live band both Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday night is the Hangar Dance, with live music by Gun Powder Soup. Folks are encouraged to camp along the runway to get the full experience and to make the most out of a high-flying weekend. To learn more about the Texas STOL Roundup, visit their website or Facebook page.

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