Next week, I'll be following the progress of one plane, a 1961 twin-engine Beechcraft Travel Air, piloted by Alicia Sikes (our daughter) and Emily Lewis, in the Air Race Classic. They will start the race in Concord CA on June 16 and continue to the final destination, New Cumberland PA, a distance of 2300 miles. This event is designed to encourage more women to enter careers as pilots. (Fewer than seven percent of all U. S. pilots are women.)
Air races for women began in 1929 with the First Women's Air Derby that started in Santa Monica CA and ended in Cleveland OH. These races continued on through the 1930s, were halted during World War II, then resumed as All Women's Transcontinental Air Race (Powder Puff Derby). The final AWTAR event was held in 1977. The Air Race Classic, Ltd. took its place and was reincorporated in 2002 as Air Race Classic, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
|"Alicia's RG at West Point Airport 2008" ©MMSikes|
Emily Lewis comes from an aviation family. Her grandfather ran a flight school, and her father is a Captain with American Airlines. She started flying at age 14 and earned her private pilot's license at age 17. She is currently in her third year at Salisbury University where she is studying atmospheric sciences and environmental and land use planning.
For the Air Race Classic, Alicia and Emily are Team Friendly Flyers (Team #48).
Emily "would love to inspire others not only to pursue the field of aviation, but to pursue their own ambitious dreams as well."
Alicia "is looking forward to viewing a lot of fantastic scenery from lower altitudes, and helping Emily figure out how to do a successful long cross-country flight in a twin engine." She "would love to help the other teams by passing along any wisdom to other pilots."
For the race, I hope they have good weather all the way. Following Alicia has always been an exciting journey for our family. This is yet another adventure.