|The 2007 Air Race Classic Route was a Challenge.
PWA - Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City, OK
MCK - McCook Regional Airport, McCook, NE
DNS - Denison Municipal Airport, Denision, IA
JEF - Jefferson City Memorial Airport, Jefferson
BWG - Bowling Green-Warren Co Regional Airport,
Bowling Green, KY
LWB - Greenbrier Valley Airport, Lewisburg,
ELM - Elmira/Corning Regional Airport, Elmira,
BTV - Burlington International Airport, Burlington,
BGR - Bangor International Airport, Bangor,
CYSJ - St John Airport, St John, New Brunswick,
| || || |
Convert NM to SM: divide NM by .868976
| || |
THE 2007 AIR RACE CLASSIC TEAM
Wild Mama - the plane
Our pride and joy is a 1978 182RG. She has 235 h.p. and a completely tricked-out panel, including XM Weather (check out the pictures pages). The short version of the "Wild
Mama" name is quite simple. When I bought the airplane I had a running "one-ups-manship" with another pilot,
Rob Weber. Seems he said his 172 was faster than mine . . . and it was. I had to solve the problem so I bought the 182RG and
was now faster than Rob. When I called him to chide him about the faster plane he asked me the tail number to which
I replied: "November-6-1-4-Whisky-Mike." It was at that time he coined the phrase. He said: "More like 6-1-4-Wild
Mama!". . . and the name stuck. Thus, she will be forever known as Wild Mama! Some argue, however,
that the name applied equally to the pilot. Time will tell.
TERRY CARBONELL - Pilot
|Terry Carbonell, Pilot
I started my flying career later
in life - like about 2 years ago - when my husband, Mario, asked me to get my pilots' license so he could be back in the
air flying again like he did before he became afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease. I did not take to flying: the development
of wings has been an evolutionary process which has taken its' jolly old time. But after 2 years, 650+ hours, an instrument
rating and lots of help from other pilots, instructors and friends, my flight feathers are becoming fully developed. On May
3, 2007, I earned my commercial pilot license ASEL.
I had heard about the "Powder Puff Derby" air race and for grins and giggles one day, looked
it up on the Internet. Once I saw the Air Race Classic site; read about the excitement, fun and adventure of flying an air
race; and learned about some of the women who fly it, I was hooked and ready to go. I was privileged to have Rhonda agree
to come as my co-pilot, and I know this will be one of the most exciting experiences of my life.
My friends tell me I suffer from "terra-firma phobia"
as I would much rather be scuba diving or flying. I have traveled over a large part of the world as a passenger but now it
is my turn to be PIC. Since getting my license 2 years ago, I have flown across the US to Las Vegas, Montana, Yellowstone;
also to Niagara Falls, Cancun, Mexico and to the Bahamas. I have developed a real passion for flying and I especially
enjoy sharing that passion with the next generation of aviators.
Aviation affiliations include the Ninety-Nine's and AOPA.
RHONDA CULMER - co-Pilot
|Rhonda Culmer, co-Pilot
I was born in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and raised
in Nassau.Both my twin sister, Renee and I attended Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, and embarked on
I have a Bachelor
of Science degree in Aviation Management with Flight. I taught flying at Classic Flight in Ft. Myers, Florida,
until the company closed then found a job next door with I & E Aircraft Rental. Since then, I have added my
instrument flight instructor and seaplane ratings and Airline Transport Pilot certificate. My long-term goal
is to return to the Bahamas and to promote the islands with my own seaplane charter business
currently work as a corporate pilot and flight instructor for Beaver Aviation in Fort Myers. That is how I originally met
Terry. I have always wanted to travel and see the world. This race is but another step in attaining that goal. I
have never raced before and this 2007 Air Race Classic seems like it will be a lot of fun!
I am still a Bahamian citizen living in southwest Florida, permitting
me the best of both worlds: to travel, work in a profession which I love, but still be close enought to home to visit my family.
I enjoy knitting, outdoor sports, food, hanging out with my friends and all things fun.
I am a proud member of the Paradise Coast Chapter of the 99's.
OUR MAJOR SPONSORS FOR THE 2007 ARC
Flying this air race is not a cheap venture. In addition to the normal costs of airplane ownership and maintenance, we
have the extra expenditures of the race . . . team shirts, hotels and food, race fees and fuel . . . lots and lots of fuel.
Our many thanks to those who believed in us and supported us through our first attempt at the Air Race Classic. Below is the
list of our major and corporate sponsors for 2007.
Rob & Linda Weber
Ray & Dana Piescik
& Ruby Baker
Chris & Colleen Jones
Robert & Aileen
Pre-race interview in Oklahoma City
Daily Race BLOG
June 14, 2007: X14-KNEW-KPWA: We departed this morning, wheels up at 0740 hours and had
smooth sailing most of the way to our fuel/lunch stop in New Orleans. We had planned to make the crossing straight out over
the Gulf of Mexico, cutting off 45 minutes from going around the big bend of Florida. Unfortunately, one of the military area
went "hot" and we diverted around - not quite the crossing we had hoped for but we landed safely about 4 hours later.
was surprised to see how much of New Orleans still was in ruins but also surprised to see how far these folks had come along
since Hurricane Katrina. The downtown area looked great while the outskirts nearer to the airport seemed to have a long way
We know that to be successful at racing, you need lots of rest (yeah, right) and good food . . . well,
one out of two is not bad. We dined at the Court of Two Sisters - a must if you ever get to New Orleans. A historic restaurnat
which boasts a jazz buffet brunch - good cajun food, lots of desserts and more food and fun than you are supposed to have
in a lifetime! We met a couple of car racers, Barret Camper and Elaine Farrell - great folks heading out on their own
adventure in October racing a car across Mexico. Check out their web site at www.RetroRacing.biz
After stuffing ourselves, we departed Lakefront Airport into the heat of the day. All went well the first half
of this leg but we ran into some very severe storms for the last part of the trip and ended up diverting to the right, to
the left, and all around. We lucked out and got vectored in bewteen the storms, landing 17L after shooting the ILS into Wiley
Post. We got a great, warm greeting by the folks here with signs welcoming the racers. It appears there are about 6 other
teams or so already here. I imagine the major influx of racers will start tomorrow.
So tonight, we rest
(yeah, right) and ready ourselves for our credentials inspection and Wild Mama
inspection tomorrow morning, then
for a receiption at the Museum of Womens Pilots tomorrow afternoon.
June 15 - INSPECTION DAY:
WOW! What a day! We got off to a great early start, heading over to the airport to prepare Wild Mama for
inspection. Vern checked the mechanical part and Rhonda and I de-bugged and cleaned. She was topped off with fuel and ready.
After a thorough aircraft inspection, static run-up and paperwork inspection, Wild Mama was passed with flying
There were about 23 racers who made it in by the day but most later on this afternoon. Vern was pressed
into service as an inspector after one of the 2 inspectors got sick and could not make it. He spent the remainder of the day
inspecting airplanes, paperwork and speaking with all the ladies. Rough day, huh? Looks like he will be working throughout
his stay here in Oklahoma City.
Mario, Rhonda and I continued on to wander around the afternoon, taking to racers
as they arrive and taking pictures. It is so interesting to meet all these ladies we have been reading about in the race history.
They are here from all over the US with great stories and gobs and gobs of aviation experience.
This evening we
went to the Museum of Womens Pilots for a receiption where we met the grand-daughter of the first Power Puff Derby winner,
Louise Thaden. Terry was fascinating to speak to as are all the other incredible ladies here. The Museum was full of racing
history, war-time history and things that women are doing today as aviators.
A long, exhausting day has brought
to go to sleep early tonight as tomorrow we have volunteered to help out here and we still have credentials inspections which
did not take place today. . . and we are still looking for our handicap. The suspense is killing us!!!!!
16 - Credential Inspections Day: Today was the day where all the racers have their paperwork checked -
passports, pilots' license, medical, log books and FCC license. They got a bit of a late start but once the process got
rolling we were in and out in 15 minutes or so. All went well for us and we headed off to lunch while Vern remained behind
continuing the airplane inspections.
After lunch we went to the Omniplex Science Museum to see the slide presentation
from Terry Von Thaden about her grandmother, Louise Thaden, and to meet with local boy and girl scouts and other youth to
talk about air racing and flying in general. There were some very bright and enthuiastic young aviators there and we wish
them all the best with their future flying careers and hope to race against some of the young ladies when they are old enough.
Rhonda volunteered Terry for an interview with the local Fox news channel.
After Vern got off of work, we
snatched him to go back to the Omniplex for the evening reception where we also met Terry Von Thaden's Dad, Bill (son
of Louise) and his wife. It must have been really cool to have such an interesting grandma!
This evening finds us
trying to get some rest again (yeah, right) and organizing for the race. Tomorrow is the first time racers meeting where about
20 teams are required to attend. That is almost 1/2 of this years' crew are newbies like us! We will also have the Start
Banquet. We cannot say enough about the time and effort and all the hard work of the volunteers her in Oklahoma City. They
have given so much of their time and energy in making sure we have a great stay in OKC and a great start to the race. Hats
off and many thanks to each and every one of the OKC 99's and crew!
June 17 - A Night to Remember:
Today was another slow day. After dropping Vern off at work, we hung out at the airport for a chance at a tour of the control
tower, which ended up being scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. So we headed back to the hotel for the meeting of the first
time racers. We were all quite anxious to learn somthing about how all this stuff was to work. We got some really
good information and found out just how competative some of these ladies are - apparently, the "Gotta Win" bug bites
everyone after they cross the start line, and these fun-loving ladies turn into a Godzilla collective. Should be interesting
The evening was "A Night to Remember" banquet hosted by the OKC 99's . . . and what a night
to remember it was! Terry Von Thaden spoke; the Lt Gov of Oklahoma presented a Proclaimation for ARC wee for the State of
Oklahoma and we enjoyed spending some free time with some newly found friends.
After dragging back to the hotel
room quite late, Rhonda and I started preparing for our 0800 all racers meeting for the morning and safety briefing. I don't
imagine we will get any rest until we safely land in Saint John, NB, Canada - I know we will be busy.
18 - Race Eve: Today was the race eve and all racers briefings. We reviewed air space, fly-bys, what-if,
entry to Canada and a host of other things. We are ready to go except for the last minute weather briefing in the morning
and last minute race briefing. We finally got our handicap at 141.42 kts. We are pleased. We are a bit higher than stock but
right where we should be.
After the meetings Rhonda and Terry had a tour of the PWA tower, took a few pictures
and grabbed lunch with Mario and Vern. Then it was off to work for us to prepare for the race. Please wish us blue skies and
tailwinds as we make an early morning departure on our Great Adventure!
|OKC 99, Theresa White, with Classic 9
Oklahoma News Report at Race Start
June 19th Oklahoma City (PWA)
to Jefferson City, MO (JEF)
What an exciting start for the race today. We got an early start
with the take-off breakfast. We got last minute briefings and instruction, said good-bye to the wonderful volunteers in OKC,
gather our belongings and loaded our winged steeds for the 2007 Air Race Classic.
The yellow flag was dropped for
the first group of racers to start engines and taxi to the runway. We were in the second group so the first racers were just
departing as we were taxiing down the taxiway. When our turn came, we gave her full power, held the brakes, got her up in
the air and zoomed past the control tower for our official start.
The first leg was low overcast skies so we all
had to climb above the fog which finally cleared out by the time we got to McCook. With a quick turn around in MCK, we were
in the air again. We were playing leap frog with several of the racers by now as we were making our way to Denison, Iowa.
Some of the racers had stopped for fuel in MCK and some not. We were now catching and passing some of those who continued
We crossed our second stop in Denison (DNS) got treated to some really great pork sandwiches (Yummy), refueled
and we were off again. Our third and final leg for the day was the run into Jefferson City where we ultimately decided to
spend the night as we had concerns about passing the weather ahead. We shall see if that as the right move by early morning.
We cleaned Wild Mama
for the evening and let her rest as she will be up and out eary tomorrow. Please forgive the
sparce number of photos for the day but we actually were quite busy flying the race and made some very quick turn arounds.
More to come Day 2.June 20th Jeferson City, MO (JEF) to Elmira, NY (ELM)
Race day 2 finds Team WIld Mama ending up in New York
after a day of wild rides. The winds were not as favorable today as they were yesterday but they were certainly higher and
first leg of the day out of Jefferson City went really well. The air was cool and the skies were severe clear and we sailed
on to Bowling Green, KY in a flash. After landing and making the turn around, we were off again but this time with
forecast headwinds. Fortunately, the winds were not quite as bad as we had thought and we came sailing in to Lewisburg by
early afternoon. We had thought to have an overnight in Lewisburg but saw a forecast for fog in the morning and decided to
make the run to New York mid afternoon, knowing it would be a roller coaster.
The last leg we departed around 3:00 p.m., arriving in New York about 5:00 p.m.
to a very welcoming crowd. The approach to the fly-by was over a ridge with a sharp 60 degree turn after crossing the ridge.
We did a nose dive and hard right and came screeming in over runway 10 at the top speed we had seen all day - finally a tail
wind!!!!!!! Today, overall, was not our best day and this last leg was a killer for our overall score.
We are here to
rest tonight with the hope of an early morning departure to Vernomt and on to ????
We were very saddened to hear one of our fellow racers got scratched from the race.
She had a small ding in Jefferson City, but, unfortunately, the local mechanics there grounded her plane and would not allow
her to continue. Fortunately, Vern was still in Tennessee and was alble to fetch Team 46 and bring them back to Miami. We
so much enjoyed the company of Tamra and Kristen and are happy there are well but will not be joining us at the terminus in
Canada. Good luck girls...
June 21st Elmira, NY (ELM) to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
We deaprted out of Elmira this morning
on a beautiful clear smooth air day and decided to go through the mountain passes on the way to Burlington, VT. The
scenery was spectacular and we managed to catch a bit of a tail wind . . . finally, a break in the winds! We came screaming
in to Burlington just ahead of Classic 33 and we passed them on the downhill. We made our first fly-by to continue and had
to climb like a son-of-a-gun to clear the mountains and the standing lenticular clouds over the 3,500' peak directly in
our path. As we cleared the mountain peak we saw another cloud layer which appeared to be pretty solid and we did not want
to get stuck up on top so we came zooming down the side of the mountain and caught THE BEST tailwind Wild Mama has ever seen.
We put her in a 2,000 foot per minute dive and we watched as the ground speed hit 216 knots!!! Not to bad for the ole girl
who cruises at 140 kts!
the wind firmly at our backs now, we ducked back down through the passes to the final run toward Bangor, Maine. We crossed
the timing line at Pittsfield, throttled back and landed at Bangor like a normal airplane, only to discover that we were the
first to arrive in Maine! We were overwhelmingly greeted by the locals and the press as all had been awaiting the arrival
next several hours was a waiting game to see of the weather in Saint John would clear up enough to fly in. The fog and ceilings
had been low and, traditionally, there is only a small window of opportunity to make in in VFR in the afternoon. When it looked
like things were clearing, we saw some racers depart and we checked the weather and decided that it was our turn to make a
run for it. We had the last wild ride of the trip in the all out sprint for the breakwater at Partridge Island and the conclusion
of the race. We ran our best today of all days and are happy to be finished. Now we can relax . . . after the paperwork is
done. But for now, Wild Mama is in impound and resting comfortably, Rhonda and I will get some real food tonight and enjoy
the company of all the talented and wonderful ladies with whom we have become friends...but first we have to get to the
Delta Hotel in Saint John.
you would figure that after flying 7.5 hours to get from Florida to OKC, then navigating 2,400 miles across the United States,
we could make a short 14 mile trip to the hotel without any problem . . . I guess there is a question that should go
something like: "How many pilots does it take to find the hotel???" We set off with Classic 23, Pam and Sally,
following our MapQuest directions given to us, in what seemed like the wrong direction. Several miles later we stop to check
the map and directions and 2 more car loads of racers join us along the side of the road - all of us lost. Scary, huh. So
I guess the answer to the question would be 10!
Anyway, we made it to the hotel safe and sound as well. Best of luck to all
who made it in today and safe flight for the rest of our friends whom we hope to see tomorrow.
June 22nd Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
was nice to sleep in this morning. But I did want to get up to see the fog as we will have to depart here ina couple of days.
At 0700 local time, the fog was like pea soup. The Harbor, which we had so easily photographed last night, was nowhere to
be found. So Rhonda continues to sleep in and I will take a leisurely meander around the hotel this morning to stretch my
legs. We will do a bit of site-seeing until our first post-race meeting this evening when ALL racer should have arrived.
So all day we
were looking out for the other pilots to arrive. We got the official word that 19 pilots made it last night so we had to have
another 8 cross the finish line to have the official race end in Saint John; otherwise the ending was in Bangor. As we had
a great last leg, we did want it to count for something!
At last we saw some airplanes coming in to the finish - the first, second . . .
fifth . . . finally the eighth one! We made it. The reports from the pilots were amazing. Apparently the weather was
worse today than yesterday and with the earlier deadline time, they HAD to come. Classic 25 gave us an amazing account of
how all the pilots got together and decided as a group how they could all make it to the finish line. It reminded me of the
story told in Oklahoma City by Terry Von Thaden of the first Powder Puff: after one of the ladies crashed and got killed,
the people wanted to stop the race because it was conclusively proved that women were dangerous pilots. The remaining ladies
got together and flew as a group saying it was more important to finish the race than it was to win. It is truly amazing how
that spirit has continued throughout since 1929.
Anyway, the majority of the 45 starting out made the finish: several had to withdraw
for mechanical issues and several got caught behind the strong storm cell which blew up this afternoon. Even most of those
who could not complete the race are trying to fly in or get to Bangor and drive here to be with the group for the terminus
activities. It was great to see almost everyone this afternoon at the melt-down. We heard some stories of great flying; trying
times, waiting for weather and spent some time getting to know some truly spectacular ladies.
When I originally read about the race, many said it was an accomplishment just to
finish. I though that sounded sort-of strange: I had made cross country flights before and it was really no big deal. This
was different. You had a set route. You had a set time. You had rules to follow. And everyone flew their hearts out to do
their very best. This was very different and it is true that we all feel a great sense of accomplishment just making it to
the end. We have gained valuable experience in our flight careers, pushing our skills beyond what we might do in ordinary
flight. I know I did, for sure. The race was a thrill and the rush of the high speed passes still lingers . . . I wonder where
I can find an open field. . . . it could be a long time until next year.
June 23 - Today was the day to meet with the scoring judge to review
our scores. I was not very optimistic as we had taken a pretty hard hit on our leg from Lewisburg to Elmira and by noon we
had not received "the call" for airplane inspection so we have not placed in the top 10 race teams. Apparently,
the hit we took was too great to oversome with the other legs. We will find out our overall standings tomorrow evening and
how we placed on all legs of the race.
afternoon was spent wandering around the city, meeting with the local girl guides (our girl scouts) and attending the first
time racers debriefing. This was basically a "gripe session" where the first time racers were givent th opportunity
to offering comments, criticisms and suggestions from the perspective of a new racer. Lots of concerns were aired, most
of them related to suggestions for improving safety so it was a very constructive meeting. We finished the meeting and passed
by the reversing falls - headed in the correct direction. They say that the falls must be seen twice to get the full effect,
so I guess tomorrow is the wrong way view . . .
We all ended up this evening at Steamers seafood restaurant, coming in dribs and drabs. We ate, told
stories of all of our collective adventures during the race, laughed and shared lots of fun times together. Tomorrow is the
final de-briefing and final banquet and we will ready for the trip home on Monday. This has been such an incredible journey
so far.June 24 - Another beautiful morning in Saint John - blue skies, light
winds, great day to fly . . . but we cannot depart until tomorrow where headwinds are expected. Some things never change.
We had our all racers debriefing this mornig and an impromptu auction of all the assorted itmes that racers has lost
at stops along the way. The team who arrived late yesterday was kind enough to collect everything and have an auction where
the items were re-united with their wayward belongings . . . for a price, that is.
the meeting was a meet and greet with the public back in the New Brunswick Museum followed by a walking tour, films and a
host of assorted activities for the day.
Then the big event for the day was the awards banquet.
Cutting to the punch line of the whole evening, the winner was . . . Classic 17! (Marge Thayer and Helen Buelen).
Wild Mama received two leg awards: 1st place for leg 8 and 2nd place for leg 9. We placed 21st overall in the
standings out of 44 teams. Tonight we are packing and ready to go early in the morning. It was a great race!
The night ended with a couple of the racers
came to our room to flight plan and check weather as we had a computer and all the sites pre-loaded, plus the fact that the
hotel computer can get quite crowded. As the clock approached midnight (about 30 seconds until, to be exact), I got my birthday
weggie and they all sang “Happy Birthday”. We continued laughing and carrying on for another hour until we wer
all so exhausted we had to go get some sleep. We had a great day and it was a wonderful way to celebrate
my birthday in Canada with a host of new friends.
June 25: Our Journey Home.
We got another early start today: breakfast at Cora at 0600, meeting our Mama Birds, Ann Marie, Cynthia and Evelyn
there for more laughs and our last bid of the camaraderie which we have come to enjoy over the past 10 days. After that, it
was pack and head to the airport. We had planned to leave around 0900 local time but the weather was nice and we were ready
an hour early so we got an amendment and made our departure. This was probably the clearest day we had to be in Saint John.
We got lots of photos of the City and Partridge Island (our finish line being at the breakwater) and the surrounding area.
The Reversing Falls was reversing as it crossed under the bridge. It was a different perspective than we had seen before.
The remainder of the hour long trip was spent taking pictures and admiring such breath-taking scenery:
lots of little lakes and marshes and vast expansive wilderness. As we were not in the break-neck speed of race mode,
we actually got to enjoy it. Oh, and did I mention that we STILL had a headwind????
in Bangor was easier than we cold have imagined. We appreciate all the hard work and cooperation of ALL of the airport personnel
and officials to help put this race together and to work with us so the event was a safe and successful one. We re-fueled,
got our last opportunity to visit the FSS, which will de de-commissioned in a couple of weeks, say “so
long” to all our new found friends, and get back in the air.
We had chosen a route to take us west
of the coastline and the major airport in New York, but ATC decided they wanted to give us a tour and routed us down the coast
and directly over JFK Airport. We passed Portland, ME, all the seaports along the New England coast then came into a very
hazy NY area. We were surrounded by commercial airliners and ATC kept telling us to get our speed up. I am sorry but there
is only so much you are going to get out of a 182! The finally gave us a descent and we were able to get back up to 150 kts.
indicated airspeed so we did not delay the jet liners. I am not sure what prompted them to re-route us there in the first
The remainder of the trip to North Philly (PNE) was spent in the soup. There was supposed
to be a cloud layer broken at 1800’. We knew we would have to shoot the ILS but also know we would break out relatively
high. But I guess 1800’ is a relative term or the ATIS was quite old. We passed 1800’…1600’…1400’…1200’…
THERE IT IS!!! We broke out just about 1000’ and arrived with a “chirp, chirp”. This was the refueling stop
and my chance to meet Rhonda’s sister.
We had originally planned to make the trip all the way to Florida
today but we decided to make a small change in the game plans. My Mother called that she was diagnosed with breast cancer
and scheduled her surgery for June 29th, so I wanted to divert so I could be with her for the surgery. Rhonda has
an IDENTICAL, and I do mean IDENTICAL, twins sister in NJ so we diverted to PNE to drop Rhonda so she could visit with her
sister then fly back home on the commercial airline while I continue solo on to Westminster, MD to join my family there.
It was a real hoot to see Rhonda and Renee together. I have never seen a set of twins more identical in my life:
they look the same, sound the same, talk the same, laugh the same, bounce the same. They have the same expressions and mannerisms.
Everything was in stereo!
After a brief stop, I was back in the soup to finish my trip to Westminster.
It was a short hour hop and as I descended back down to 3000’, I finally got enough below the clouds that I could spot
the airport through the haze. Yes, Rhonda, I found the runway!!!
Postscript: This race has been one of the most incredible experiences
of my life. I have learned a lot about aviation and woman’s place in aviation; about flight planning and weather and
about pushing past my person limits and comfort zone as a pilot.
Along the way, I could see the areas in
which I excelled and where I ran into difficulties; I discovered mistakes I made during the race and know for next year where
I can do better. Therein lays the learning curve. I know better what to expect from Wild Mama and after over 15 hours
of flight at break-neck speed, feel that I have a much better command of my magic carpet.
been the case in other trips we have taken across the US, the scenery is always amazing. You cannot truly appreciate this
great country until you have seen it from coast to coast in a small plane. Each little nook and cranny has a community full
of wonderful sights and warm and friendly people. We were constantly amazed at how we felt like celebrities as we landed in
some of the small towns, especially. Folks always seemed glad to see us and we were always happy to be there – one step
closer to the finish line.
Probably one of the best parts of the trip, however, was the other racers. We
met ladies from all over the US with backgrounds and histories as varied as the countryside which we saw. There were ladies
in their late 80’s with tens of thousands of hours of flight time on down in age to college students just sprouting
their wings, and everywhere in between. There were professional pilots, student pilots, instructors and those of us who just
fly for the pure fun of flying…and everyone competed, but got along to try to complete the journey. We are saddened
by those who never made it to Saint Johns for weather or mechanical reasons, but glad there were ultimately safe and sound
and will look forward to a new adventure next year.
We have heard that the 2008 Air Race Classic will depart Bozeman,
MT on June 24th and terminate in Mansfield, Mass, although the exact route has not yet been announced. Our thanks
to all of our sponsors, to those who participated in the race and to the countless volunteers without whose long hours, this
race would not have been possible.
July 2: Finally Home! I am happy to report that my Mother came through her cancer surgery
extremely well and was released from the hospital the next day with few restrictions. Although she is quite tired, her prognosis
is very good and she is looking forward to a speedy recovery. I was very happy to be there and to get the opportunity to spend
some time with her and my sister and her family.
While there, the day before the surgery,
my sister, Michelle, and I had the opportunity to get together for a quick lunch run and headed to Charley's Restaurant
at Williamsburg (JGG) and through the Washington DC area ADIZ. Unaccustomed to the rules for the area, I had always gone
around it before but I seemed to have found a new confidence in flying that I decided to learn how to go through. No big deal
now. Charley's was a delight and the folks there (and other places I stopped) were quite curious about the
large "9" on my tail. What few "Team Wild Mama" cards I had left got passed out as a whole new set of
folks who had never heard of the race became interested in the stories of the race and especially about the ladies who participated.
I got a very warm send off every place I stopped. Hopefully, we can interest a few more women in joining the ranks of those
who fly the Race.
I departed from Carroll County (DMW) early this morning about 0600. It is
so much better to fly early. I found myself at 8,000' with a nice little tailwind for a change. Although I had filed airways,
just south of the ADIZ, I got direct Barnwell, my intended destination. The weather looked good now but there was a little
thunderstorm rumbling around the area and it looked like it might be a close call for me to get in. I had an alternate of
Savannah in mind as I had landed there before - nice airport, nice approaches. As luck would have it, the storm blew up over
Barnwell AND Savannah so I found a little spot in the middle with a GPS appraoch, Allendale (88J). I dropped in right at minimums
to a very sparse area - 1 hanger, 1 trailer and 2 fuel pumps - met all the basic requirements. Then the nicest man came out,
pumped my gas, sold me a quart of oil and directed me to the computer room where I hooked my laptop to get the weather and
flight plan for the last leg home. Fuel was the best rate all trip - $3.85 for full, friendly serve. After a not so quick
turn around, I slipped back into the soup with a warm, friendly send-off, to arrive back home 3 hours later. It was along
trip, peaceful and pleasant and I was happy to finally be home! I can't waint to do it again next year!
... it's all about the plane!
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