The Valdez STOL Competition & Fly-in Air Show is gearing up for a remarkable celebration as it marks two decades of aviation excellence at Valdez Pioneer Field Airport (PAVD) in Alaska. Red Bull Air Race pilot Łukasz “Luke” Czepiela, renowned for his exceptional aerial maneuvers, is set to headline the event during the second weekend of May.
Czepiela will not only showcase his thrilling aerobatic performance but also participate in the esteemed Valdez STOL competition, a favorite among bush pilots worldwide. Czepiela, who is originally from Poland, combines commercial piloting with aerobatics competitions and air races.
With a lifelong passion for airplanes, Czepiela started competing in aerobatics in 2010, eventually joining the Polish aerobatics team, Żelazny. He ventured into air racing in 2014 and achieved remarkable success, including winning the Red Bull Challenger Cup in 2018. Czepiela owns a Red Bull-themed CubCrafters Carbon Cub EX STOL aircraft for backcountry flying.
Joe Prax, president of Valdez Fly-in, expressed excitement about Czepiela’s participation.
“His involvement adds a new dimension of excitement to an already iconic event, and we invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable weekend filled with camaraderie and aviation thrills,” Prax said.
CubCrafters is the title sponsor for the Valdez event. Founded in 1980 by Jim Richmond, the company designs and manufactures experimental, light sport aircraft (LSA), and Part 23-certified aircraft.
“We welcome CubCrafters as the title sponsor for this year’s event,” said Prax. “CubCrafters has been a sponsor and supporter since the inception of the Valdez Fly-in. CubCrafter aircraft have been a feature of the fly-in for years. In 2007, the very first Carbon Cub was revealed at Valdez and posted an astounding record 19-[foot] takeoff in the STOL competition.”
The annual Valdez Fly-in & Air Show, established in 2003 and recognized as the grandfather of STOL competitions, continues to be the premier competition of its kind in the Western U.S.. This year’s festivities also will include beach landings, balloon pop, flour bombing, aerobatics shows, and pilot roundtables.