STOL Competition


Qualifying - Friday, Dec 4th, 8AM - 4PM

Finals - Saturday, Dec 5th, 8AM - 2PM





Most airshows demonstrate pilots and aircraft operating at maximum performance at high speed with aerobatic displays of amazing talent. STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) Competitions show another side of flight, showcase the skill and precision of pilots who have mastered the art of flying low and slow, and we are pleased to be hosting National STOL's Central Florida Classic Competition during our Holiday Flying Festival!

The National STOL Competition uses a fixed line that competitors must land beyond, and their distance is recorded when their tires stop. For takeoffs, pilots start on the line and take off in the shortest distance.  In both cases, the distance is measured from the start line.

Greg Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer and Air Operations Director for SUN ‘n FUN, is enthusiastic about bringing the National STOL Competition to their Holiday Flying Festival. “We are very excited to partner with National STOL to bring this competition to Lakeland,” he said. “The fun and energy this sort of flying brings is unique, and we can’t wait for the audience at this brand-new event on our campus to see it. It’s a great headliner for our weekend.”

The event will be live streamed online, broadcast via Live Airshow TV’s network-quality production platform. “We rely on Live Airshow TV’s top-shelf lineup of services for the annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo each year”, said Gibson, ”they have really taken us to a new level and we are very pleased to have them carry this new event for us as well.”

Competitors will fly in a series of qualification heats over two days. Open Practice will be on December 3rd, with the first round of competitions on Friday, December 4th. This round will be open to all competitors, with up to 125 competing for the top 6 spots in their class. The following day, Saturday December 5th, the top 30 with the shortest distances from the previous day will compete in final round to achieve the lowest scores.  Winners will walk away with a huge cash prize of $12,500 and prizes! Throughout the entire several days, there will be additional events, food and other social activities planned.

Interested competitors can sign up today for the Central Florida Classic on the National STOL website, using the link below. Registration is limited to the first 125 competitors and will fill up.

Can't make it to Lakeland for the show? No problem! You'll be able to watch all the action LIVE on Live Airshow TV. Details coming soon, but for now check out this video from National STOL's Lonestar STOL competition from March 2020 and you can get an idea of what's coming up!

Proceeds from the SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival and Car show will benefit education and scholarship programs at the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE). For more information about this internationally recognized STEM education campus, please visit

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The mission of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) is to “Engage, Educate, and Accelerate the Next Generation of Aerospace Professionals. The SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo and dozens of other events year-round produce the majority of the revenue that goes into supporting this mission. By attending our events, you are helping us deliver top-quality, industry-leading STEM education and scholarship programs to thousands of young men and women each year. The opportunities that ACE provides give young people a competitive edge as they navigate their educational journey that can ultimately lead to a rewarding career in the world’s incredibly diverse and rapidly growing aerospace industry. You can help! Please click the links below to explore how you can share your knowledge and expertise as a volunteer in over 3500 available positions, become a patron of the Florida Air Museum, or donate to assist us financially. Regardless of how you assist, whether by attending our events, visiting the museum or donating financially, we sincerely appreciate your support!

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