100 women in almost 40 airplanes making a 2,684 mile race from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Homestead, Florida. Now that isn’t something you see everyday. The small planes, each with a pilot and co-pilot, left ND Tuesday, Jun 20, 2023 and had until Friday, Jun 23 at 5:00 p.m., to make the trip to be qualified to win. Programmed stops were Mankato, MN, Ottumwa, IA, Hastings, NE, Ponca City, OK, Sulphur Springs, TX, Jonesboro, AR, Pell City, AL, and Cross City, FL before arriving in Homestead. This was also the first time in the 46-year history they came as far south as Homestead. The race changes each year to different parts of the country. This is from the initial Press Release we were provided:
“he oldest race of its kind in the nation, the Air Race Classic traces its roots to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, aka the Powder Puff Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other daring female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. This year’s ARC celebrates the 94th anniversary of that historic competition, which marked the beginning of women’s air racing in the United States. Today, the ARC is the epicenter of women’s air racing, the ultimate test of piloting skill and aviation decisionmaking for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life.”
There were of course weather issues and a couple of mechanical failures, but most arrived, tired, sweaty, yet successful. Since they all had different airplanes (quite a few Cessna 172s), there was a formula used in a controlled course prior to the start of the race to provide a “handicap” that was applied to the final flight information to determine the winner. Ages were mixed with college teams all they way into women in their seventies. Hubby was taking the article because it was definitely one that needed great photographs. There was one team in particular the paper was interested in as the pilot is a member of Rotary. Hubby began following her using the tracking system and with the delays, he had to finish teaching a class when the team was scheduled to land. I went out to snap an easy photo, get a few details and set up a time for Hubby to interview them that evening.
I spoke with several volunteers, mostly women, again in a mix of ages. It takes
quite an effort to put something like this on and to have that many accomplished women in one place at one time is incredibly inspiring.
“ABOUT THE AIR RACE CLASSIC
Air Race Classic Inc. is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with a mission of encouraging and educating current and future female pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women’s roles in aviation, and preserving and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation. For more information, go to airraceclassic.org. Follow Air Race Classic on Facebook. On Twitter: @AuthenticARC”