Fly Me To The...State Of Ohio?

by Editor 11. June 2012 16:24
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You may not have known this but Joyce Wilson, executive director of IDPA, is also an airplane pilot. And she's the kind of pilot that likes to go fast, and sometimes real fast when it comes to racing her plane. If you ever talk air racing with her, get Joyce to tell you the story about how she tried to fly the wings off her plane to make her timing pass. While most will be looking to North Carolina and the Carolina Cup, Joyce will be headed to the Women's Air Race Classic...and plans to keep us posted.

Well, it’s that time of year again...

I know, most of you are thinking about the Carolina Cup and I wish I was going to be there to see everyone, but I’ll be on a different adventure of my own. This will be my third year competing in the Women’s Air Race Classic.

The Women’s Air Race started in 1929 as the First Women’s Air Derby. It evolved into the Powder Puff Derby and is now known as the Air Race Classic.

The race routes are approximately 2,400 statute miles in length, and the contestants are usually given four days, flying VFR in daylight hours, to reach the terminus. Each plane is assigned a handicap speed – and the goal is to have the actual ground speed be as far over the handicap speed as possible. The pilots are thus given the leeway to play the elements, holding out for better weather, winds, etc.

The objective is to fly the “perfect” cross-country. In this type of race, the official standings cannot be released until the final entrant has crossed the finish line. Actually, the last arrival can be the winner.

This year’s route starts in Lake Havasu, Arizona on June 19 and finishes in Batavia, Ohio on June 22, with 8 stops in between.

My race partner this year is a wonderful lady from Wichita, Kansas. Our team name is ‘Team Bionic’ as we’ve both had knee replacement surgery. The top 10 team numbers are drawn in a random drawing based on early entry. This year we’ll be known as Classic Racer 4. We’ve already been pouring over charts and watching weather trends, so all that remains is to fly a good, safe race.

We’ll have some interesting challenges this year as some of the terrain is quite mountainous, so we’ll be flying possibly as high as 11,000 or 12,000 feet. Then, when we get to Wisconsin, we’ll get to fly over the upper end of Lake Huron and then along the south east coast of Lake Michigan. We end up just outside of Cincinnati at the home of Sporty’s Pilot Shop – a really well known aviation store (watch out credit cards).

Our pre-race activities have us arriving in Lake Havasu on June 15, right in the middle of all the Carolina Cup activities. I hope everyone has a great time there and I’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the National Championship.

I’ll try to keep you posted on the race as well.

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