Embry-Riddle to Host 2016 Start, Finish of Historic Women’s Air Race Classic
March 24, 2016
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  • Four students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus will be participating in the 40th Air Race Classic (ARC) in late June.

    The four women (Hannah Rooney, Rachel Hutzell, Hannah Burright and Shelby King) were selected based on their piloting skills, competitive spirit and knowledge of aviation, safety, navigation, meteorology and crew resource management, according to a news release.

    “I am so incredibly excited to be racing this year!” Rooney said. “This race is unlike any flying I’ve done before, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

    Tracing its roots to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other groundbreaking female pilots raced from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio, the ARC today is the epicenter of women’s air racing, testing piloting skill and aviation decision-making for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life, said the release.

    Covering about 2,716 miles, this year’s ARC begins June 21 at ERAU’s Prescott campus and ends June 24 at its Daytona Beach, Florida, campus. It has been 20 years since a similar route was run between the two campuses in 1996, according to the release.

    The college as a whole will have a total of eight women in the race flying in pairs. Those from the Prescott campus will be flying Cessna 172 aircrafts from the university’s fleet. Overall, there will be 55 teams of two or three pilots making the run.

    “There are pilots ranging from university students like myself, all the way to women who have been flying and racing in the Air Race Classic for years and years,” Burright said.

    To prep for the event, Burright said she and her teammates have been hard at practice, tapping into ERAU’s extensive pilot resources and building a dedicated team to monitor weather patterns during the entire flight.

    “Other than that, our game plan is to have fun, be safe, and represent Embry-Riddle!” Burright said.

    Racers from ERAU’s Prescott campus have taken part in the competition every year since 2009, ranking as high as No. 2 in the collegiate division and No. 4 last year in the overall competition, said the release.

    For the first time, will beam live audio of the racers’ communications with air traffic control, the timers on the ground and one another to a global audience of pilots, aviation enthusiasts, family and friends.

    Registration for the Air Race Classic is open until April 1.

    Those interested in volunteering at the start in Prescott or the terminus in Daytona Beach can email For information on volunteering at any of the stops in between, go to