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The 47th Air Race Classic: Route Announced

In a nod to aviation history, women pilots gear up for the ultimate test of skill and strategy.

The 2024 Air Race Classic route has been announced. [Graphic courtesy Air Race Classic Publicity]

Women aviators from the U.S. and across the globe are set to embark on the 47th Air Race Classic (ARC) on Tuesday, June 18, commemorating the 95th anniversary of the historic Women’s Air Derby. The race covers a challenging 2,628-statute-mile route across 11 states, with the finish line awaiting at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland (KFNL) on Friday, June 21.

Dating back to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, famously known as the Powder Puff Derby, this year’s ARC pays homage to the pioneering spirit of aviation legends like Amelia Earhart. The race is the oldest of its kind, a testament to the enduring legacy of women’s air racing in the United States.

Air Race Classic president Donna Harris expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming event.

“The ARC Board of Directors and volunteers have been hard at work preparing for our 47th race,” Harris said. “We look forward to celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Women’s Air Derby as we welcome back veteran racers and meet new competitors at our start in Carbondale, Illinois.”

The competition kicks off at Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH), with teams departing at 8 a.m. on June 18, each taking off approximately 60 seconds apart. The race spans intermediate airports in La Porte, Indiana (KPPO); Cadillac, Michigan (KCAD); Newark, Ohio (KVTA); Monee, Illinois (C56); Owatonna, Minnesota (KOWA); Moberly, Missouri (KMBY); Bartlesville, Oklahoma (KBVO); and Dodge City, Kansas (KDDC), allowing for high-speed flybys and strategic pit stops.


One of the unique aspects of the ARC is that teams consist of at least two female pilots flying normally aspirated, piston-powered airplanes in visual meteorological conditions during daylight hours. Pilots must hold at least a private pilot certificate and a minimum of 100 hours as pilot-in-command, with one team member having at least 500 hours as pilot-in-command or a current instrument rating. Additional female teammates may join with a student pilot certificate.

What sets the ARC apart is the handicap system, ensuring a level playing field where teams race against their own best times rather than each other. Strategies revolve around navigating weather conditions and wind patterns to beat their own handicap by the greatest margin.

Official standings will only be determined after the last team crosses the finish line at the terminus in Loveland, Colorado, with the last arrival potentially claiming victory. As airplanes take to the skies, the 47th Air Race Classic promises to showcase the indomitable spirit and skill of women pilots, celebrating a rich history while forging new milestones in aviation.


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