There is a race that happens every year where the competition is as tough as it gets in any motor sport. This race is called the Air Race Classic. The first race took place in 1929. Back then the race was called the Women’s Air Derby and had a field of 20 women pilots competing, including Amelia Earhart.

Today, teams spend months, even years preparing and perfecting their strategies and skills. The start and finish of this transcontinental race changes every year and covers on average 2,400 nautical miles. Up to 50 aircrafts race as fast as they can for up to four days through unforgiving heat, windy conditions, and afternoon thunderstorms typical of June. These racers endure these long restless days of competition for that elusive first place trophy. The team who is able to fly at the fastest ground speed over the duration of the race versus their airplanes handicap speed is the winner. The teams are all women, but make no mistake and don’t let their friendly smiling faces fool you. The competition is real and it is fierce.

In addition to racing for first place overall, there is a subcategory of collegiate racers. Typically, there are half a dozen or so college teams that compete in the race every year. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott campus has been competing in this race every year since 2009 and has placed in the top ten for three of the past four years. Last year the team placed third in the collegiate division. The racers this year are Shelby King (Pilot), Anna Chrzanowski (Co Pilot), supported by their ground crew and alternate pilots Maren Ferreira, and Marlene Wessel.

Friday, April 19 the Air Race Team will be giving a presentation on this year’s race in AC1 room 107 at 5:30pm. At this meeting you can find out about the history of the Air Race Classic, Embry-Riddle’s past race standings, how to be part of our team, and how to become a racer and represent our University and Campus at a national competition. Anyone is welcome who wants to show support or participate. We will be providing free pizza too. If you have any questions please contact Ryan Albrecht at [albrechr@erau.edu] or at extension 4351.

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