Lewis University Takes Flight in Air Race Classic Again

Lewis University Takes Flight in Air Race Classic for First Time Since 2020

Published: June 14, 2023.

Lewis University student Katelyn Gall of Channahon, Ill., and alumna Makaylah Schwark of Bourbonnais, Ill., will take off June 15 for the 2023 Air Race Classic occurring June 20- 23. Their team name this year is “We Don’t Talk About Flight Club.” The race will begin in Grand Forks, N. Dak., and will end in Homestead, Fla. 

The Lewis University duo will join over 40 other teams of women pilots in competition from around the country, flying a total of about 2,500 miles (about the width of the United States) across the span of four days. 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. 

Gall is an aviation flight management major and was on the Lewis University Women’s Track and Field team as a pole vaulter. The rising senior is an instrument-rated private pilot working on her commercial license and a member of the Lewis University Flight team.  

Aviation flight management alumna Schwark is a Lewis University certified flight instructor and recently received her MEI, certified multi-engine instructor. She has been a part of the Lewis Flight team as a competitor and coach. 

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 June 20 at the Grand Forks International Airport with teams taking off one after another. Once in the air, faster teams will head to the front of the pack as each team completes high-speed flybys over a timing line, racing against the clock.  

Due to each team receiving a unique handicap, teams are competing against their own personal best time rather than against one another, which creates a level playing field for all fliers and planes. Teams will have to continually strategize to play the elements, holding out for better weather or seeking more favorable winds to beat their individual handicap by the greatest margin.  

Lewis University is an innovative 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, and globally-connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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