Keep Your Eyes On The Skies: 42nd Annual Air Race Classic Coming!
OK Southern Minnesota, let's keep our eyes on the sky this week because as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, June 19th, we could be seeing planes from the 42nd Annual Air Race Classic begin to land right here in Faribault at the recently renamed airport "Faribault Municipal Airport – Liz Wall Strohfus Field" in honor of the city's most famous aviator.
The Air Race Classic follows a different route every year. This year, the 120 female pilots are flying from Sweetwater TX to Fryeburg ME. The race route is chosen to present challenges to the racers, provide a variety of learning opportunities, yet be within the endurance range of the slowest airplanes.
Racers will experience changes in terrain, weather, winds, and airspace as they fly 2,600+ miles over four days in June. In some cases, the route has the flyby timing location at one airport, while the Stop for fuel, refreshments and possible overnight stay is at another larger airport nearby.
The Air Race Classic can trace its roots to the 1929 Women's Air Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other daring female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. That contest, aka the Powder Puff Derby, marked the beginning of women's air racing in the United States. Today, the ARC is the epicenter of women's air racing, the ultimate test of aeronautical ability and decision-making for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life.
This year's competitors range from college students to veteran racers in their 80s. Some are flying the ARC for the first time, while others have dozens of races in their logbooks. Each race plane carries a team of two or three women: pilot, copilot and an optional teammate. Of the 55 teams in this year's race, 22 are representing colleges or universities. On two of the teams, mothers and daughters are racing together.
How long it will take each team to finish the race depends on the weather, the pilot's strategy and the speed of the airplane. The fastest planes may complete the course in two days, while the slowest aircraft may take all four days. But because the ARC is a handicap race, teams are racing against their own best time, not against one another. This allows slower planes to compete against faster aircraft on an equal basis.
Official standings aren't determined until after the last team has crossed the finish line – the last arrival at the Terminus may, in fact, be the winner! ARC fans can follow the racers' progress on here!.