DOÑA ANA COUNTY AIRPORT TO HOST WOMEN RACE PILOTS

DOÑA ANA COUNTY AIRPORT TO HOST WOMEN RACE PILOTS

The 30th Annual Air Race Classic all-women’s transcontinental air race (ARC) will take place June 20-23, 2006. This year’s race will begin in Mesa, Arizona, and end in Menominee, Mich., with stops along the way in Santa Teresa, N.M., Ozona and Bryan, Texas, Bastrop, La., Ada, Okla., and Lawrence, Kan.

The race is approximately 2,300 miles in length.

As the first stop of the 2006 Air Race Classic, the Doña Ana County Airport at Santa Teresa will see racers from the U.S., Canada, Germany, New Zealand, England and Malaysia. Two current licensed women pilots comprise a team. Passengers are allowed, but they must be women pilots or student pilots. Pilots range in age from 17 to 90 years and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Teams representing colleges also have been encouraged to enter the race.

Former Air Race participant Suzie Azar of Santa Teresa said racers have many competition options related to wind conditions, layovers and weather forecasting. Depending on the weather, the Doña Ana County Airport at Santa Teresa may play host to the racers for a brief period on Tuesday morning or for as long as a day or two.

Azar, president of C.P. Aviation at Santa Teresa, is helping to organize the layover at the Doña Ana County Airport. She said participating aircraft are limited to stock and minimally modified stock airplanes, certified in the normal or utility category with engine power ranging from 145 to 570 horsepower, rated for continuous maximum operation and handicapped accordingly. The team with the highest score over their handicap wins. The race is flown only in daylight hours with good weather.

The race was formed in 1976 with the first race in 1977. Preceding ARC was the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, also known as the Powder Puff Derby, which ended 30 years of races in 1977.

Pilots use the race to sharpen cross-country skills, to savor the camaraderie of fellow pilots and to see the country. During its history, the race has touched down in 39 states and visited more than 200 cities. Financial support for the race comes from its host cities, entry fees, advertising, and tax-deductible donations. All of the stops are run by volunteers, many of whom are members of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots, the Civil Air Patrol, local flying clubs, employees of airport businesses, service clubs and interested citizens.

During its history, the race has recorded 68,046 miles among 1,156 racing teams.

For more information on the race contact the Race Committee at info@airraceclassic.org <mailto:info@airraceclassic.org> or Suzie Azar at (505) 589-4586.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call Doña Ana County Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.