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Air Race Classic competitors reach the finish lineAir Race Classic competitors reach the finish line

Editor's note: This article was updated June 25 with additional information.

The first four teams to complete a weather-challenged course from Sweetwater, Texas, to Fryeburg, Maine, in this year’s all-women’s Air Race Classic landed at Eastern Slope Regional Airport on June 21, followed by about two dozen more by the time the June 22 deadline to perform a flyby at the Maine destination passed.

The three members of a flight team from Western Michigan University received a warm welcome in Fryeburg, Maine, after completing the 2018 Air Race Classic on June 21. Lauren Quandt (left), Kelly Erdman (center), and Shelby Satkowiak flew a Cirrus SR20. Photo by Dan Namowitz.

The Air Race Classic began in 1977, and continues to celebrate the achievements of women in aviation, and inspire others to achieve their aviation goals. Racers fly against an aircraft-specific handicap, rather than head-to-head against the other competitors. This year's race included challenging weather conditions that the teams had to negotiate, and the first arrivals crossed the timing line late in the afternoon.

The first to land of more than 50 teams that entered the race were last year’s winners, Kiwi Express, flying a Cessna 182, followed shortly by a three-member team from Western Michigan University, flying a Cirrus SR20.

The organization's website includes live map views of the field, links to air traffic control audio, videos from past years, and other resources.

Competitors had until 5 p.m. on June 22 to perform their flyby at the destination to stop their time clock and complete the race. For much of the race, a frontal system in the Midwest delayed many racers, turned back others, and caused the race organizers to rearrange the route, reducing the number of legs on which flight times would count toward a final result from nine to three. A weekend of festivities was lined up to follow, with the winners to be announced on June 25.

Kiwi Express team members McKenzie Krutsinger (left) and Dee Bond dropped their serious pilots’ mien to pose for a photograph beside their Cessna 182 after completing the Air Race Classic with a landing at Eastern Slope Regional Airport in Fryeburg, Maine, on June 21. Photo by Dan Namowitz.
Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Air Racing

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