June 26, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Despite weather woes, 42 teams made it to the finish line in this year’s Air Race Classic. The event is the longest running all-women pilots transcontinental air race.
The race route had to be altered due to weather, said Air Race Classic President Marolyn Wilson. “We were forced to cancel the first leg of the race, originally leaving from Pasco, Washington,” she said. “Racers had to make their own way to the first stop, in Mountain Home, Idaho.”
The race was approximately 2,400 statute miles and the contestants were given four days, flying VFR in daylight hours, to reach the terminus, at Fayetteville, Ark. “Since the race didn’t start until Mountain Palm, the race rules weren’t in effect. Racers could fly to Mountain Home, could file and go IFR, which is illegal in the race,” said Wilson.
Racers voted on several awards during the race, said Wilson. The best stops were Pasco and Logan, Utah. The race winners were Marge Thayer and Helen Wyrick. The most congenial team was the Classic Racer 36 Racing team of Rosies, Zia Safko and Emily Applegate.
The winners in the Collegiate Challenge Trophy were Valdeta Mehanja and Danielle Erlichman of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Jessica Lowery and Andrea Ziervogel of Louisiana Tech University; Tonya Hodson, Jennifer McLean, and Karen Morrison of Kansas State University; and Jessica Dyer and Charity Holland of Liberty University. The team of Mary Gibb and Cathy Darcy won the SOS Claude Glasson Award for the lowest-scoring team.
Races are scheduled through 2018, said Wilson. “The 2014 race, June 16 through 19, starts in Concord, Calif., and ends in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,” she said.
Members of the Mohawk Flying Club have access to upgraded aircraft and low flying costs.
According to the most recent Joseph T. Nall Report, in 2010 there were 43 accidents involving weather, and 28 of them were fatal. In fact, weather accidents are the most consistently fatal types of accidents.
Pilots N Paws is using a $10,000 AOPA Foundation grant to rescue more than 200 animals.
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