Women's Air Race To Start (And End) In Wichita
In a first for the annual Air Race Classic, this year's route will start and finish in the same place. The race will launch from Colonel James Jabara Airport, Wichita, Kan., on June 23, and cover 2,200 nautical miles above Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Missouri, returning to Wichita by June 26. Each aircraft is flown by a team of two female pilots. Each plane is handicapped based primarily on horsepower and design. The winners are determined by how well the planes exceeded their handicaps in ground speed. Altitude, wind, pilot skill, weather and aircraft condition are among the factors that influence the final score. "The round-robin format is pretty unusual and it means we won't always have the wind at our back, like in previous races," says Amanda J. Gruden, a flight instructor for Western Michigan University, who will fly a Cessna 172 in the race with Sarah Tower, a recent WMU graduate. "This competition is all about winds," Gruden said. "The lower the altitude you fly the better, because the wind speeds are slower and more consistent at low altitudes."