August 2, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Weather challenges changed the course but did not dampen enthusiasm as 40 aircraft participated in the 2012 Airventure Cup air race, flown July 22 between Mitchell, S.D., and Waupaca, Wis.
Billed as “the world’s largest cross-country air race,” the 2012 event marked the race’s fifteenth running and its third time originating in Mitchell. The race is open to all classes of aircraft in the Sport Air Racing League, organizers said. A list of winners was posted on the Airventure Cup’s website.
The race course had to be changed shortly before start time because of thunderstorms threatening the planned course, shortening it slightly to 392 nautical miles, said Yasmina Platt, AOPA central-southwest regional manager and a race participant with Linda Street Ely in a Grumman AA5A Cheetah. The team beat the old record for the FAC5FX class of aircraft of 159.85 miles per hour, achieving 172.71 mph--well above their goal of 160 mph, Platt said.
On completion of the race, participants flew to Oshkosh, Wis., for an awards dinner July 23 during the EAA AirVenture. EAA, formerly a backer of the air race, informed race organizers in May that it had severed formal ties to air racing.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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