June 19, 2018

This week, more than 100 pilots are participating in the four-day, approximately 2,400-mile Air Race Classic (ARC), the longest running air race in U.S. history. The ARC was originally conceived as the Women’s Air Derby, with legendary female pilots including Amelia Earhart and others competing in the first years.

“Considering only about 7 percent of the U.S. pilot population is female, it’s exciting to see so many women dedicate their time to compete in the race, not to mention the countless volunteers – mostly women – who donate their time to make the race possible,” said Kali Hague, attorney at Jetlaw, Inc., and member of NBAA’s Regulatory Issues Advisory Group (RIAG) and Young Professionals Council.

The race is a timed event with teams of two or more pilots overflying eight points beginning in Sweetwater, TX, where the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) trained for military service during World War II. The National WASP WWII Museum will host the racers at the start as they get ready to wing their way across the country to Fryeburg, ME.

Although it is a timed event, racers compete against themselves by establishing a handicap speed with a race volunteer well in advance of the race, then fly against their own handicap during the race

Hague is competing in this year’s race in a 1946 Luscombe 8E she purchased in January. She met her race partner, Jess Murphy, an avionics technician and soon-to-be CFI, at Technic Air in Winston-Salem, NC.

“The Air Race Classic is exciting because it rewards whoever flies the best line, has the best strategy and does the best planning, not who spends the most money to buy the fastest airplane,” said Hague.

“One great aspect of the Air Race Classic is it attracts women from all walks of life – business owners, medical professionals, professional pilots and more,” said Air Race Classic, Inc. Director JoAnna Alcorn, adding, “Pilots range in age from 19 to over 80 years old.”

This year, 18 collegiate teams are competing, which speaks to some of the ARC’s broader goals: encouraging and educating current and future women pilots, and demonstrating women’s roles in aviation.

Learn more about the Air Race Classic.