Lewis University Students Take Flight in Air Race Classic

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Lewis University Students Take Flight in Air Race Classic

Published: June 19, 2017.

(L to R) Lauren Loomis and Jane Zieba will take to the skies
in the 41st Air Race Classic.

Lauren Loomis of Worth and Jane Zieba of Orland Park will take to the skies June 20-23 in the 41st Air Race Classic (ARC), the oldest airplane race of its kind in the United States.

The Lewis University team will join more than 120 women pilots from around the country flying in this year's race, which begins in Frederick, Md. and ends in Santa Fe, N.M. They will compete against approximately 50 teams, flying a 2,648-mile course in four days, from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the far northern reaches of the Continental United States, and finishing in the high desert of New Mexico.

Loomis is a junior and Zieba is earning a bachelor’s degree this summer with plans to continues graduate studies in August. Both are studying Aviation Flight Management at Lewis University. Visit https://www.facebook.com/lewisuniversityairraceclassicteam to follow the team on Facebook.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to network with fellow women aviators while flying across the country,” said Megan Zahos, assistant chief pilot at Lewis University.

The historic contest traces its roots to the 1929 Women's Air Derby, aka the Powder Puff Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other female pilots raced from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio. Today, the ARC is the epicenter of women's air racing, the ultimate test of piloting skill and aviation decision-making for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life.

The race will begin at 8 a.m. June 20 at Frederick Municipal Airport with teams taking off one right after another, 30 seconds apart. From there, the field will spread out as faster planes move to the head of the pack. At each stop, teams will execute high-speed flybys over a timing line as they race against the clock.

Faster planes may cover the course in only two days; slower teams may not arrive at the Terminus, Santa Fe Municipal Airport, until moments before the arrival deadline at 5 p.m. on June 23. However, because each plane receives a unique handicap, teams are competing against their own best time, not one another, which creates a level playing field. Teams strategize to play the elements, holding out for better weather or seeking more favorable winds to beat their handicap by the greatest margin.

The ARC draws competitors of all ages, from teenagers to veteran pilots in their 80s, and from all walks of life, from college students to professional airline pilots to military veterans to teachers, writers, doctors and businesswomen.

Air Race Classic Inc. is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with a mission of encouraging and educating current and future female pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women's roles in aviation, and preserving and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation. For more information, go to www.airraceclassic.org.

Lewis University is an innovative and entrepreneurial Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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