STOL Operations General 1

«A mile of road get you nowhere, a mile of runway can get you anywhere” is an old aviation proverb. It is only partly true since less than half a mile is enough to operate a STOL airplane.

STOL means Short Take Off and Landing. A STOL Port is hence an airport designed for airplanes with STOL capability, i.e. that it can take-off and land shorter than normal aircrafts. The STOL ports are most often built where a regular airport cannot be built due to terrain limitations, or other operational limitations like close vicinity to populated areas. STOL ports can also be built specifically in a network of STOL operations to provide remote areas or smaller communities with the advantage of having an airport. Norway built 30 STOL ports in the Western and Northern regions in the sixties. with daily scheduled routes with Twin Otter aircrafts operated by the Airline Widerøe. The Norwegian STOL port standard was 800 meters long runways, which were suitable for the De Havilland Twin Otter airplanes in uses then. It was long enough to meet the requirement of Take-Offs with a speed which allowed full control if an engine failure on the most critical engine occurred. Below that speed an engine failure would lead to loss of control as the aileron and rudder did not have enough airflow to counter for the yaw / roll caused by asymmetric trust from the live engine and drag caused by the propeller on the “dead” engine.

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