The country's longest
running women's air race takes off on June 21st to 24th from the
Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Indiana. The 2005 Air
Race Classic will start and finish at KLAF, with the winners being
announced on June 26th.
"This year's Air Race Classic is more than a race," said Keri
Wiznerowicz to Purdue News. She is a graduate student in aviation
technology who is overseeing the organization of the race. "It is a
chance for the next generation of aviation leaders - today's
students - to pay tribute to the generation of pilots who paved the
way for them. If these women had not fought for the great
accomplishments they made, none of us would be where we are today.
We owe them a tremendous 'thank you.'"
The Air Race Classic began in 1929 as the All Women's
Transcontinental Air Race and has involved such pioneers as Amelia
Earhart, Bobbie Trout and Ruth Elder. More than 80 female pilots
are expected to take place in the event. Activities honoring the
first generation of female pilots and the up and coming women
pilots will also take place.
The 2,455 nautical mile race includes stops in Winona, MN;
Beatrice, NE; Bartlesville, OK; Shreveport, LA; Walnut Ridge, AR;
Tullahoma, TN; Ohio University in Athens, OH; and Frankfort,
"When the race began, there was a debate about how much
horsepower women pilots should even be allowed to have when they
flew," Wiznerowicz said. "In 1929 women had never before been
allowed to take part in an air race. Today, women still account for
a small minority of the people in aviation, but without the women
who flew in the first race and other women who pushed the
boundaries, we would not have the opportunities we have today."
Thomas Q. Carney, professor and head of Purdue's Department of
Aviation Technology, told Purdue News that events like the Air Race
Classic help encourage more girls and women to consider aviation as
a career choice.
"This race helps connect earlier generations of pilots with
young people who are making choices and planning careers," said
Carney. "It helps expose young people to role models they can look
to as examples of what they can accomplish in aviation. These women
are not just role models for girls and women, but, in a larger
sense, for all of us who pursue excellence as aviators."
"Throughout the nearly 102-year history of powered flight,
Purdue alumni, faculty and staff have played an integral role in
essentially every step in the growth of aviation," he said.
"Serving as host to the Air Race Classic will bring Purdue yet
another connection to the history and evolution of aviation."
Teams win based on the efficiency and accuracy they exhibit in
every aspect of the race. They are rated based on their performance
and their airplane's handicap. Because of the nature of the
scoring, it is impossible to gauge a team's performance in relation
to other teams until the competition is over.