The oldest female piloted race of its kind in the nation, the Air Race Classic, is making a stop in Faribault this summer! Fifty-six teams, consisting of 121 women pilots from across the country and around the world, will take off at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 19 from Sweetwater, Texas, for a 2,656-mile sprint across the United States that ends Friday, June 22 in Fryeburg, Maine. 

It only seems fitting that Faribault was chosen as one of the stops for this years contest. The Faribault Municipal Airport celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017, and the community has also named the airport in honor of Liz Wall Strohfus who was a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot).

This year's course will take racers through 15 states, from the West Texas flatlands,  through the American heartland to the pine forests of Maine. Teams will depart beginning at 8 a.m. June 19 taking off one after another, 30 seconds apart.

At each of the eight intermediate stops — Alva, OK; Beatrice, NE; Faribault, MN; Galesburg, IL; Auburn, IN; Cadillac, MI; Newark, OH; and Penn Yan, NY — teams will execute high-speed flybys over a timing line as they race against the clock.

The race traces its roots all the way back to the 1929 Women's Air Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other daring female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. That contest, aka the Powder Puff Derby, marked the beginning of women's air racing in the United States. Today, the Air Race Classic is the epicenter of women's air racing, the ultimate test of piloting skill and aviation decision-making for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life.

For those of us who enjoy watching planes flying high in the sky or those of us that want to just go fast, this will be a great time to see both!


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