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Air Race Classic

Air race classic
Winners Lead Hetzel (pilot) and Sarah Morris (copilot) flew this Cirrus SR20 during the Air Race Classic last week.

June 30, 2011 – The annual Air Race Classic concluded last week as weather shortened the competition that has its roots in the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, where 20 pilots flew from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. This year collegiate teams dominated the 80-pilot field as a team from Jacksonville University became the first collegiate team to win the competition after finishing 14th the year before.

This year, 43 teams competed with 11 of them being collegiate teams, including the top two finishers. Leah Hetzel and Sarah Morris, of Jacksonville University, placed first, flying a Cirrus SR20. Right behind them was University of Illinois’ Alice McCormack and Justyna Kincaid, who flew a Piper Arrow. This was the first time in the race’s history that collegiate teams took both first and second place. According to the Air Race Classic organizer, Marilyn Wilson, four collegiate teams finished in the top 10.

The Air Race Classic is usually about 2,400 nautical miles long. This year, the weather forced pilots to cut out the first five airports from their stops, shaving their trip down to about 1,200 nautical miles. Pilots took off from Alliance, Nebraska, midday on June 21, making stops at four other airports before landing in Mobile, Alabama, Friday night. Next year, pilots will take off from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, on June 19.

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