AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Julie Boatman has joined a team of racers competing in the twenty-ninth annual Air Race Classic, the nation's only all-female air race. And you can follow the progress of the race - with daily updates beginning Monday - in the "blogosphere" as Julie posts reports and photos to a blog right here on AOPA.org. You can read her first report now, with the team forming up in Kerrville, Texas, and then flying to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, the start and finish point for this year's race.
The Air Race Classic is the latest incarnation of a national all-female air race, which dates back to the first Women's Air Derby in 1929. That race continued until 1939, then resumed after World War II as the All Women's Transcontinental Air Race, better known as the Powder Puff Derby.
The Air Race Classic began in 1977. It uses a handicapping system that establishes a handicap speed for each individual aircraft. Pilots increase their score by maintaining groundspeeds in excess of the handicap speed. The four-day race kicks off at Purdue University Airport and then heads to Winona, Minnesota; Beatrice, Nebraska; Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Shreveport, Louisiana; Walnut Ridge, Arkansas; Tullahoma, Tennessee; Athens, Ohio; and finishes up at Purdue.
Along each leg, pilots have to either land at or fly by specific checkpoints.
So for a unique insider's look at an air race, be sure to visit the Web site each day between June 21 and June 24.
June 17, 2005