A couple of Colorado pilots are preparing to compete in their first air race as the 2009 women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic comes to Denver. According to a June 11 news release, Marijke Unger of Longmont and Kara Pruitt of Broomfield will taxi up to the hold line at Centennial Airport on June 23 for this year’s competition, which marks the 80th anniversary of women’s air racing. The two will compete in Unger’s 1976 Bellanca Citabria-a two-seat, aerobatic, fabric-covered aircraft with a 150-hp engine, joining 33 other teams scheduled to fly the 2715-mile route over 4 days, with Atlantic, Iowa as their final destination.
Unger stressed, “I was looking for something that would live on after I’ve crossed the finish line, something that would have a long-term, beneficial impact.” To that end, she has transformed the competition into a fundraising venture for Wings of Hope, an international organization dedicated to fighting poverty.
Unger, who works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and Pruitt, a fixed-wing instructor for Rotors of the Rockies in Broomfield, will also fly the race carbon-neutral. Partnering with TerraPass-a sponsor of clean energy and carbon-reduction projects that result in a verified, measurable reduction in carbon emissions-the flight team has already reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 2 metric tons in 2009. Unger and Pruitt will report their racing and fund-raising progress on their website www.myfirstairrace.com.
For information: www.airraceclassic.org