22 Aviation forWomen;May/JunE 2015
didn’t have to run to a tornado shelter. Our crew car that night was an old
1960s Volkswagen van. It had character
and we had a lot of fun driving it. The
next day we made it to Danville, Illinois,
and while on our way to grab lunch
our crew car battery was dead. We got
it started and then had to leave it running while eating inside the restaurant.
Thank God for window seats! After
lunch we proceeded to Iowa City, Iowa.
We were about to depart to our next location until we found out on our runup
that our left mag was completely dead.
We were lucky enough to find mechanics willing to work overnight to fix our
aircraft in time for the next day.
After an early departure the next
morning we flew to Rawlings, Wyoming, and spent the night. The next day
we finally made it to Concord, California, where the race would start!
a Week of Fun
The awesome thing about being a part
of the Air Race Classic is learning about
new destinations. Val and I got to ex-
plore San Francisco and all it had to of-
fer. We toured Fisherman’s Wharf and
also walked the Golden Gate Bridge. Lit-
tle did we know there wasn’t sidewalk to
walk to Sausalito, so we then proceed-
ed to walk on the road for about 2 miles.
The city sights were beautiful.
After having some fun in the city we
had our airplane inspected and went
through the rest of the mandatory meetings needed before the race start. During these meetings it is important to
take notes and to listen in on any last-minute changes that might have been
implemented. During this week (June
9-15, 2014) the racers are getting to
know each other and we all start to
bond as a big family. It is such an awesome experience to meet other female
pilots around the country and learn
from one another.
It was June 16, the first day of the race,
and the morning of a beautiful sunrise.
We were so anxious to start. Our race
number was 37 (out of 50), so that determined the order we’d start the race
in. From then on the race number just
becomes a number to identify our team.
On the first day we flew from Concord, California, to Butte Valley Airport in Dorris, California, from there to
Klamath Falls, Oregon, and we continued to Elko Regional Airport in Elko,
Nevada. We were beat by the time we
got to Elko. Everything goes so fast during the race and you have to stop for
fuel everywhere, especially in a Cessna
172. All we wanted was to get some food
and rest, but we checked the weath-
er and it looked like it was going to get
bad the next day. We checked the winds
and the ceilings over the mountains and
were able to find a great window of op-
portunity to make it to Pinedale, Wy-
oming, which was our next stop. We
can only fly from sunrise to sunset, so
as we were are flying from west to east
and changing time zones, it kept get-
ting dark sooner. It was important that
we made sure our flight plans were al-
ways up to date with the proper calcu-
lations. Flying over mountains can be
very challenging; the mountain waves
could cause a lot of turbulence for our
little airplane. It was so bumpy, but we
had to make it. After finally arriving at
Pinedale, where the elevation is 7,096
feet, it was so cold. All we wanted was
to get warm and go to sleep. Unfortu-
nately, we barely got any sleep because
we had to plan our next day.
The second day didn’t seem so bad.
We were already used to flying over
mountains now, and we wanted to go
back to the flatlands. The next route
from Pinedale to Scottsbluff, Nebraska,
was just as challenging as the one going to Pinedale. It was very mountainous and cold. We saw a lot of snow on
top of the mountains. The performance
of the airplane was very poor and we felt
like we couldn’t climb well. Because we
couldn’t climb high enough to pass the
12,000-foot mountain, we flew around
it, which we knew would cost us points
for the race. We were only praying for the
other racers, that they were safe and able
to make it around that type of terrain.
We did a lot of flying on this day. We
arrived at Scottsbluff, and then right
away continued on to Norfolk, Nebraska, then to Iowa City, Iowa, followed