The 43rd Air Race Classic (ARC) is an all-women air race that, for this year, terminates in Canada. This year they are marking the 90th anniversary of women’s air racing. More than 100 pilots from Canada, the U.S. and beyond are expected to participate in June.
The race starts on June 18 in Jackson, Tennessee (KMKL) and ends on June 21 in Welland, Ontario (CNQ3). Canadian intermediate stops include Sault Ste. Marie (CYAM), North Bay (CYYB) and Brantford (CYFD), all in Ontario. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Welland’s airport was recently renamed in honour of Dorothy Rungeling, a highly experienced air racer who passed away last year at the age of 106.
The ARC is the longest running race of its kind in the U.S., and traces its roots to a 1929 Women’s Air Derby that counted Amelia Earhart among the 19 women who participated. The race, from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio, also became known as the Powder Puff Derby.
To be eligible to participate in the four-day race, contestants are limited to normally aspirated piston-powered airplanes. Flights must be in VMC and during daylight hours. Certain skill and experience requirements must also be met: Pilots and co-pilots must have logged a minimum of 100 hours of pilot-in-command time, and one of the two must have logged at least 500 hours as pilot-in-command or be instrument rated and current.
Each plane receives a unique handicap, so teams will be racing against their own best time. This is designed to create a level playing field, so slower planes can compete against faster aircraft on an equal basis.
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