Registration Opens for the 2021 Air Derby

A new take on the Air Race Classic opens competition to user-defined routes.

The 2018 Air Race Classic course originated in Sweetwater, Texas. This year, teams can plot their own route to race.Courtesy Air Race Classic

The Air Race Classic last held an actual race event in 2019, when it celebrated its 44th year. With pandemic restrictions in place last June—the month the event is normally held—and projected to still curb large gatherings early this summer, the ARC organization searched for a solution that would be better than cancelling the historic women’s air race for a second year. To this end, ARC has created the 2021 Air Derby, a one-day circuit race that can be flown on a user-determined course any time between June 12 and 26, 2021.

Teams still consist of women pilots, with a pilot and co-pilot, minimum—though additional team members can fly along within weight and balance (and top speed) limitations. The route must be flown in day VFR conditions, and routes outside the US are allowed. Teams should develop their route based on the following criteria:

  • Route legs are defined by airports, waypoints, or latitude/longitude coordinates.
  • Route must start and end at same location (landing not required).
  • Must be 5 legs, minimum 65 nm each.
  • Legs can cross state lines.
  • Teams must land at one airport other than start/stop point.
  • If an additional fuel stop is needed, Teams may fly over a waypoint near the fuel stop to end their time for that leg, then fly over that waypoint again to start their time for next leg.
  • Each leg may have no more than one bend to avoid airspace or terrain.
  • Route must not form a straight line out and back.
  • Route must be documented on the Derby Flight Plan and submitted for review by May 31.

Scoring will be completed using ForeFlight, Bad Elf, or a similar application or device using .csv and .kml files that will be downloaded to determine precise latitude-longitude points. The aircraft used must have had an annual inspection—but it can include experimental, light sport, or turbocharged airplanes or rotorcraft. The pilot in command must have 100 hours of PIC time logged in the category and class of the aircraft used at the time of the application—but the co-pilot and any other teammates can have a minimum of a student pilot certificate.

Registration has now opened for the Air Derby; teams are encouraged to apply soon on the ARC site, as the total number of teams will be capped at 99.

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