More than 200 women pilots are set to compete in the 2021 Air Race Classic Air Derby.
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and concern for the health of all involved, the Air Race Classic modified its annual race into a one-day derby format retaining many of the ARC traditions, including its mission of education, according to organizers.
“The ARC Air Derby will be a flying proficiency event that will highlight ARC basics: All women participation, VFR flight with multiple legs, leg timing, and awards,” officials said. “Participants will have their choice of the route, aircraft, team composition, and the day to fly within a range of two weeks.”
The ARC Air Derby is a VFR flight flown during daylight hours on a single day between June 12 and 26. The objectives are for each team to design a route that conforms to the ARC Air Derby Rules, estimate the time it will take them to fly that route, and then fly it as close to their estimated time as possible.
The 2021 ARC Air Derby is open to all light aircraft that can compete within the rules. Registration closed April 30, 2021, with 90 teams registered from eight countries and 36 U.S. states, including 17 teams from 10 colleges and universities. Routes will be flown in four countries: U.S., Canada, The Bahamas, and New Zealand.
The derby will conclude with a virtual awards banquet where cash prizes will be awarded to the teams with the smallest percentage of errors between the estimated time and their actual time flown for the overall route and each leg.
The oldest race of its kind in the United States, the Air Race Classic 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. That contest, also known as the Powder Puff Derby, marked the beginning of women’s airplane racing in the United States.