Air Race Classic Helps Promote Women In Aviation
Look up in the sky – is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yes, it’s the 41st Annual Air Race Classic taking flight out of Bemidji Regional Airport.
It’s one of the oldest races of its kind, dating back all the way to 1977. Bemidji is the fourth stop in the all women cross country race spanning nearly 3,000 miles.
“We’ve been planning since probably December/January, and to actually have it come here and watch all the planes take off and talk to all these women pilots from all across the country has been so fun,” said Bemidji Regional Airport Authority Executive Director Karen Weller.
Brittany Danko may not be your typical pilot. She’s currently a sophomore at Indiana State University. Danko’s been flying for two years and gives a new meaning to balancing books and planes.
“At the end of the day, it make sit worth it because there’s no feeling like being up in the sky,” said Danko. “I would take that a million times over going out.”
“Women make up six percent of the industry and in the airlines we make up four percent,” said Danko.
Danko says this race also inspires young girls.
“We had them sit in the cockpit and play with everything,” said Danko. “At the end of that every time, they’d say,” I want to be a pilot now,” so we were rally excited about that.”
Twenty-eight planes stayed overnight with their team that consisted of a pilot, co-pilot and an optional teammate. Racers follow visual flight rules and only fly during daylight hours. Weather plays a major role on their route.
“If there’s thunderstorms in the way, they’ll have to either fly around them or wait for the weather to break.”
Teams race against their own best time and not one another. May the best woman win.