Two pilots representing Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) took first place in the 2015 Air Race Classic, which concluded on June 25. The all-women’s 2,200-nautical-mile race launched from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and concluded in Fairhope, Alabama.
Stephanie Armstrong and Jessica Reed, flying a Cessna 172R, were first-place finishers among 54 teams. Reed is a senior in aviation management. Armstrong graduated in May 2013 with a degree in aviation management and is an assistant instructor at SIUC.
Armstrong and Reed were first-time racers for a team dubbed The Saluki Aces.
The university fielded race teams in 2010 and 2011. This was the first time an SIUC team has scored the top spot.
Second place went to the University of North Dakota’s team, piloted by Jennifer Pinkowski, Carly Namihira, and Christina Druskin. Team Frozen Force flew a Cessna 172S.
Malinda Caywood and Robin Hadfield, Team Freakin’ Awesome, finished in third place, flying a Cessna 182T.
In fourth place was Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Prescott, Claire Schindler and Erica Diels, flying a Cessna 172S. In fifth place was Pamela Rudolph and Tookie Hensley, Team Three Wild Women, flying a Cessna 182P.
Collegiate teams were a strong presence in the 2015 race. Seventeen collegiate teams took part in the air race.
The 2016 race launches from Prescott, Arizona, and concludes in Daytona Beach, Florida.