Daredevil Pilots Head for Sandy Beach in Belgium

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An OV-10 Bronco aircraft flies over Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, flies over Flanders international airport, ahead of the world's first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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WEVELGEM, Belgium (Reuters)

Daredevil pilots will head for the Belgian coast in June to take part in the first ever short take-off and landing (STOL) aeroplane competition on sand

Competitors will try to take off and land their vintage aircraft at a beach near the Belgian resort town of Knokke-Heist in the shortest possible distance. The two distances are added up to determine the winner.

 

A technician inspects an OV-10 Bronco aircraft before taking off at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
A technician inspects an OV-10 Bronco aircraft before taking off at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

“Aeroplanes landing on beaches has been done and STOL competitions have existed almost since the aeroplane has existed itself, all we are doing is put the two together,” said Sam Rutherford, the organizer of the event.

While passenger jets usually need more than a mile of runway to land, some of the lighter planes in STOL competitions have done so in less than 20 feet (six meters).

 

A Stampe-Vertongen SV.4 aircraft flies over Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
A Stampe-Vertongen SV.4 aircraft flies over Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

Pilots taking part in the event in Belgium said they were curious to find out what impact the sand would have on the competition.

“If you’re landing and the wheels get stuck in the sand you may flip the aircraft on its nose,” said pilot Harold Denolf.

The event will take place over several days from June 14.

 

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Andrew Roche)

 

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft takes off at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, takes off at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft lands at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, lands at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft flies over Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, flies over Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

A hostess of the Bronco demo team helps a passenger in an OV-10 Bronco aircraft at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
A hostess of the Bronco demo team helps a passenger in an OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft flies over Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, flies over Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft flies over Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, flies over Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft lands as a Maule MX-7 aircraft casts a shadow at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, lands as a Maule MX-7 aircraft casts a shadow at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft prepares to take off at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft prepares to take off at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

An OV-10 Bronco aircraft prepares to take off at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
An OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, prepares to take off at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

A technician prepares to start the engine of an OV-10 Bronco aircraft at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
A technician prepares to start the engine of an OV-10 Bronco aircraft at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

A hostess of the Bronco demo team boards an OV-10 Bronco aircraft at Flanders international airport in Wevelgem
A hostess of the Bronco demo team boards an OV-10 Bronco aircraft, decorated with World War One commemoration motifs, at Flanders international airport, ahead of the world’s first Short Take Off & Landing competition on sand, in Wevelgem, Belgium May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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