Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Plane talk about Air Racing

Ok folks, I usually try to post any serious hard news stuff on the overnight feed. But today I temporarily reversed the trend since I wanted to make sure that those of you who refuse to get up before Noon would take a gander at this post. This is longer than most of my stuff so don’t get whiney after an extra paragraph or two.

My wife is about to head down to Fort Meyers, Florida to participate in the annual Air Race Classic. This is the oldest aviation race exclusively for women pilots. Its origins are from the 1930’s when Amelia Earhart was buzzing the country in what was then dubbed the Powder Puff Derby. My wife’s team has a temporary FAA designator as “Classic 47” and I will maintain their blog at this link. The 2010 race will take place on June 22nd through June 25th and will move from Florida up to Georgia, over to Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, and then finally end in Frederick, Maryland.

Now ordinarily I would have announced the race website about a month in advance as there is a lot of interesting preparation that takes place with the plane and pilots. But this year, we have been incredibly swamped trying to make a 1953 Piper Tri Pacer race ready. But no matter how hard we tried, every time we pushed the little plane to the next level, something else would throw us a curve. Due to a unique seat design in the Tri Pacer, my wife and I developed three versions of rudder pedal extensions to allow better tail-end coordination. As soon as that was perfected, our radio was picking up noise at the control tower. From there the vacuum pump needed replacement, then the plane seemed to be running a tad hot on the manifold pressure and on it went.

Sadly, the team came to the reality that while we could work to keep the plane safe on our own turf, it is a much taller order to do so flying 2000 miles from home. So literally at the last minute (yesterday), just 3 days before the pilots and plane need to report to Florida – we pulled the plane from the race. Yes it took a little work, but we quickly filed the paperwork, insurance, and immediately began preparing an alternate and ultra modern aircraft as a substitute race plane. While it is a testament to our sponsor, Wings of Hope and our pilot team’s dedication it is also a little sad. We really wanted to run this particular Tri Pacer because it was country music star, Roy Clark’s first airplane and the OLDEST plane to attempt the race.

So the race is STILL ON and my wife and her partner are ready to go. If you get a chance, check-in on the team blog to see where Classic 47 is on the map and whatever interesting pictures they have captured along the way. If you live close enough by to visit one of the airports, you may be in for a treat as the planes buzz the field with a low-level fast pass over the official timers station. Depending on weather, fuel stops, and individual plane range, you may also get to see the race planes and meet the pilots up-close along any of the race legs. Check out this link for the Air Race Classic official 2010 airport stops.

Both at the race start in Fort Meyers, Florida and the race terminus in Frederick, Maryland, the crews and planes will be on the ground for extended periods of time. Usually there are festive events happening around the airport and it is a good chance to see some living history for the whole family. If you catch a glimpse of Classic 47 on the ground, introduce yourself to my wife. And while your at it, pick up a bug sponge and clean up the leading edges on the Wings and prop – it’ll make the plane fly faster!


  1. holy smokes, you have a cool wife!!!

  2. Wishing her great luck in the race! My dad was a corporate pilot and we always had airplanes growing up. I wish I could remember the name of the big race he participated in every year. It seems to me that it was started by a woman, maybe named Marion? I don't know. I just remember the fun he had.

  3. How exciting!!! I was thinking the exact same thing Cheeseboy said....what a cool wife!!

  4. Thanks folks for the nice comments. The wife is truly AMAZING. Only person I ever dated and although a tad corny, my bestest friend (even though she won't read my blog!) As for Diva's Dad and his race, likely Marion Jayne's "US AIR RACE. ( Link here country). I am not sure if they still race these days. Getting harder to get insurance and pilots willing to put in the work! Take care, W.C.C.