BEATRICE – Fifty-three pilots took off from Sweetwater, Texas today competing in the 2018 Air Race Classic, which has a stopover point at the Beatrice Municipal Airport. Local Publicity Chairperson for the race, Diane Bartels says the first woman’s air race, called the Woman’s Air Derby, started back in 1929.
:27 “the racing scene”
This year’s race finishes in Fryeburg, Maine…covering 2,675 miles. Bartels has flown the race a couple of times.
:32 “the winner”
The winner is not necessarily determined by who arrives first. Some racers wait to start, hoping to catch tailwinds and improve their score. Bartels says the type and make of aircraft can vary, but must be a single engine, piston-driven aircraft.
:21 “the war theatre”
The women’s participation freed up male pilots for combat. Bartels has written a biography about Evelyn Sharp, one of the original 25 women in the Air Force Service Pilots group.
The monument was dedicated in 2010. Evelyn Sharp lost her life in the United States during World War Two, while ferrying an aircraft to Newark, New Jersey.
:20 “the central plains”
Weather can sometimes alter the plans for the race. Visual flight rules are in place, with a requirement for at least a one-thousand-foot ceiling and at least three miles visibility.
Twenty-two college and university teams are participating in the Air Race Classic this year.
Bartels says the public is invited to watch. The fly-bys travel at 200 feet above the ground, at high speed while arriving, and leaving.