The 42nd Air Race Classic (ARC) field is set, according to organizers.
The annual all-women cross-country airplane race is set for take off at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 19, from Sweetwater, Texas. The 2,656-mile sprint across the United States ends Friday, June 22, in Fryeburg, Maine.
Fifty-six teams, consisting of 121 women pilots from around the world will compete, noted organizers. This year’s racers hail from 35 states and five foreign countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Kenya, and New Zealand.
U.S. national aerobatics champion Debby Rihn-Harvey will be among the racers this year.
The Air Race Classic is the oldest race of its kind in the nation. It traces its roots to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio.
“The ARC Board of Directors and volunteers have been hard at work preparing for our 42nd race,” said Air Race Classic President Lara Gaerte. “We look forward to welcoming back veteran racers and meeting new competitors at this year’s start.”
Organizers report that the race course will take racers through 15 states.
At each of the eight intermediate stops teams will execute high-speed flybys over a timing line as they race against the clock.
Race officials report that each plane receives a unique handicap. Teams are racing against their own best time, not against one another.
Teams strategize to play the elements, holding out for better weather or seeking more favorable winds, to beat their handicap by the greatest margin, officials explain.