Racing Aces prepare for Air Race Classic

Pilots Dianna Stanger of Port Lavaca, Texas, and Victoria Holt of Belton, Texas, are already in preparation for the 36th Annual Air Race Classic (ARC). The duo, who make up the Racing Aces team, will be flying a Cirrus Special Edition SR22.

The 2012 ARC, an all-women transcontinental air race, which will take place June 19-22. This year’s 2,682 statute-mile race will begin in Lake Havasu, Arizona, with stops in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan ending with the terminus in Batavia, Ohio (home to Sporty’s Pilot Shop).

The four-day air race began in 1929 with the First Women’s Air Derby, the oldest women’s race in the country. Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, and Ruth Elder were among the first women to compete. Throughout the years, the ARC has drawn entrants from overseas with racers coming from Canada, Germany, New Zealand, England, and Malaysia. The race has touched down in 44 states, Canada and visited over 250 cities.

“The 2011 ARC was the experience of a lifetime,” Stanger said. “The terrain was so beautiful you would have a new respect for some states; local people came out to support the race and get autographs. Participating airports extended more than the red carpet. The volunteers from start to fnish made it easy for frst-timers and always had an answer with a smile. All the participants were great people with the same passion  – aviation. The fact that we were all female made it a very special club of women that I am very proud I was part of.”

Stanger has over 3,000 hours under her belt and holds a Commercial Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land and Commercial Rotorcraft-Helicopter Instrument certificates. She is an avid rancher in south Texas with Brangus cattle and cutting horses. She is also the airport manager at Calhoun County Airport (PKV) and owns two Cessna Pilot Centers – one in Port Lavaca and one in Victoria that host multiple events throughout the year for children of all ages. Stanger was elected, “Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World” in May of 2011 by Women of Aviation Worldwide (WOAW) when she introduced 98 girls to flight in two days during WOAW week; as well earning PKV a “WOAW Certified Women Friendly Flight Training Facility seal.

“Throughout our journey in the 2011 Air Race Classic, we saw the picturesque scenery of this great country from a perspective that not many people will ever have a chance to see.  We are truly blessed; we saw rolling hills, winding rivers, sand dunes and finally the finish line! We did it! We are now a part of the history of women in aviation!” said Holt. “The 2012 ARC will have special meaning for me because the start of the race begins in my hometown of Lake Havasu City.”

She has flown 5,500 hours and is an ATP pilot, Single Engine Land, Single Engine Sea and Multi Engine Land and Glider certificates. She has been a career pilot for 20 years and is a competition shotgun and pistol shooter. She also likes to hunt and fish, ride mountain and road bikes, and enjoys water sports.

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