It was recently announced that Terre Haute Regional Airport will be the terminus point for the 2020 Air Race Classic, the USA’s only air race for women. The terminus is the goal destination reached only after pilot teams have made fly-bys at 8 or 9 en route timing points. The typical route for the multi-day event is approximately 2400 ‘statute’ miles. Upon landing in Terre Haute, pilots and judges will convene for inspections, debriefings with scorers and judges, and a final banquet.
The ARC event continues Terre Haute Regional Airport’s tradition of being a regional and national destination for the general aviation community. In the spring of 2018, the airport was host to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championships, known as SAFECON. Airport Director of Operations, Kara McIntosh, notes the airport and entire community can be excited about hosting the Air Race Classic. “This will bring several hundred people – competitors, judges and family – from around the country to our community. Women’s air racing has a long history and we’re honored to play a role in this event.”
The airport has established a steering committee for local organization of the terminus hosting detail that consists of McIntosh, Melanie Abel (local airline pilot), Nicole Brown (owner, FBO Hoosier Aviation), Cathi Sweatt (local private pilot) and Kelsey Veatch (airport Finance/Office Manager). Two members of the committee, Abel and Sweatt, have also competed in the race. Several members of the 2020 committee attended the 2019 event to see host operations in person.
The Air Race Classic is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and educating current and future women pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women’s roles in aviation, and preserving and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation. The first recorded women’s air race, Women’s Air Derby, took place in 1929. The Air Race Classic has operated races for over 40 years and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2002.
The Air Race Classic teams consist of at least two women, ages 17 to 90. Teams fly VFR (visual flight rules) during daylight hours only and are given four days to make the necessary flybys and then land at the terminus. Teams are assigned a handicap speed and the goal is to have the actual speed be as far over the handicap as possible.