Registration for the 44th edition of the Air Race Classic has opened. The all-women’s cross-country air race takes place from June 23 to 26, 2020, flying from Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Terre Haute, Indiana, and several stops in between.
The course will cover 2,646 miles, and racers have essentially four days to complete the nine legs, which have stops in Pierre, South Dakota; Sheridan, Wyoming; Sterling, Colorado; Dodge City, Kansas; Ada, Oklahoma; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Mount Vernon, Illinois; and Tullahoma, Tennessee. The racers fly in pairs (or threesomes), and though at least one pilot must possess a current instrument rating or at least 500 hours of pilot-in-command time, the race is flown under VFR conditions only. The requirement has created interesting outcomes in past years, when weather turned fickle along the route.
At each stop, there’s a bit of excitement for racers and spectators alike, as the airplanes perform a high-speed flyby to record the fastest time for the segment. While faster aircraft may cover the course in a couple of days, others take all four to accomplish the mission. Because the race uses a detailed handicapping system, all racers fly on a level playing field, regardless of the overall speed of their mounts.
Prizes include cash stipends for the winners, and “leg” prizes for those who clock the best time for each segment—and medallions and trophies to mark the milestone event. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2020. Up to 60 teams can be accepted.