The 41st Annual Air Race Classic begins in Maryland on Tuesday, June 20th with Decorah slated as the third flyby city. According to Decorah airport manager Mike Connell, we can expect many planes to stop and spend the night.
Each plane must complete a 200 foot low pass over the airport, for a low flyby timing. They can fuel, tend to any repairs, spend the night, or go on to the next stop, which is Bemidji, MN. Even though it is all weather permitting, Connell plans on quite a few spending the night. He has been busy arranging motels, camping spots, airport shuttle vehicles, food and drink for the racers.
"It's exciting to be a part of. Decorah, our host city, is doing a good job. Decorah is a good place to come to and we'll do our best we can to take care of everyone. We have a full service airport and we can handle any maintenance," said Connell.
There is "Best Stop Award" and Connell is hopeful Decorah can win it, by showing the racers a bit of Decorah hospitality. Connell has volunteers lined up to help at the airport, but is in need of baked goods. If anyone would like to donate baked goods--muffins, bars or cookies, contact Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 563-382-8338. Food would need to be brought to the airport on Tuesday morning.
If anyone would like to see the planes coming in, Connell thinks the 57 teams will be arriving mid afternoon on Tuesday through early evening. Weather permitting planes will be leaving Decorah Wednesday, June 21st starting at 6:30 a.m.
The 41st Annual Air Race Classic is an all-women, transcontinental airplane race with women pilots of all ages, competing on teams of two or three. This year, racers range in age from a high school student to a veteran pilot in her 80s.
There are a few aviation celebrities among the racers this year including Debby Rihn-Harvey, national aerobatics champion, and Ariel Tweto, star of the Discovery channel's "Flying Wild Alaska."
According to ARC, each plane receives a unique handicap. The team that beats its handicap by the largest margin wins. This enables faster and slower planes to compete on an equal footing. At each stop, teams do a flyby over a timing line, with timers on the ground and electronic trackers recording their elapsed time between stops. Scorers from ARC calculate each team's times at the end of the race and determine the winners.
Teams will depart at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 20th from Frederick, Maryland, and must arrive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 23rd. The race covers 2,648 miles across 14 states in 4 days.
Check out this link for a complete route of the Air Race Classic: