Race volunteers and EAA Chairman Jack Pelton met earlier this year to coordinate details of the race and establish guidelines for the EAA event. Race officials are still determining the course for this year’s event, but plan to hold the race on Sunday, July 28, in advance of EAA AirVenture as they have done for the past 15 years.
“Since the late 1990s, this event has been a showcase of homebuilt aircraft and airmanship,” Pelton said. “A dedicated group of EAA-member volunteers and pilots have created a unique event and one that is eagerly anticipated by those who participate and those of us who welcome them to Oshkosh.”
“We are very excited to continue the EAA AirVenture Cup Race,” stated Eric Whyte, a volunteer for EAA and the race’s chairman. “We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Jack Pelton and EAA headquarters for this year’s race. Cross country air racing is an important part of our rich aviation history, and we all want to preserve that experience for participants and spectators for years to come.”
Race officials say they have their work cut out for them, given the need for sponsorships and the short amount of time they have until race day.
“As the saying goes, ‘it takes money for airplanes to fly’; everything else is secondary,” said AVC volunteer Kandi Spangler, who is in charge of finding sponsors for the race. “The EAA AirVenture Race is a great way for companies to gain exposure, especially within the experimental aircraft community.”
2013 marks the race’s 16th year, with past flying courses that ranged anywhere from 400 miles to 750 miles cross country towards Oshkosh, Wis., in advance of EAA AirVenture.
Whyte helped launch the race in 1997 when he was an EAA employee, as then-EAA president Tom Poberezny saw the potential in a cross country race exclusively for Experimental category aircraft and homebuilders. The first race in 1998 started in Kitty Hawk, N.C., with 10 aircraft. Several of them have participated in the EAA AirVenture Cup Race ever since. In 2012, the race started in Mitchell, S.D., with more than 50 aircraft participating. On the day before last year’s race, AVC volunteers and race participants partnered with the Mitchell airport to host an airport open house, during which over 250 Young Eagle rides were given.