Race celebrates 90 years of women’s air racing

The landings were perfect Friday, June 21/2019, at the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport as 49 teams, 109 women pilots, crossed the finish line in the 43rd 2019 Annual Air Race Classic (ARC).

This is the first time the event has landed at the Pelham airport.

The teams left from Jackson, Tennessee, on Tuesday, June 18/2019. The test of their flying knowledge and skills took them south to Georgia, west to Arizona, then north through Minnesota and then crossing into Canada through St. Ste Marie, then to Brantford and finally Pelham.
The race celebrates 90 years of women’s air racing, the original Women’s Air Derby was held in 1929.

For plane enthusiasts, there were several Cessna Skyhawks, a Piper Warrior, Cirrus SR20’s G2, a Piper Cherokee, a Beechcraft Debonair 35-B33 and a Luscombe Silvair Delux 8E  in the race.

“ARC’s board of directors and volunteers are thrilled to be celebrating 90 years of women’s air racing,” said U.S. Air Race Classic President, Lara Gaerte in a press release. “The women who fly the ARC are as bold and tenacious as the pioneering pilots, who competed in the original 1929 Women’s Air Derby. We look forward to welcoming back veteran racers, and meeting new competitors at the 43rd Air Race Classic.”

“Historically, the roots of the air race classic dates back 90 years to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, which had female pilots flying from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio,” the press release said. “The event was successful it became a tradition, and renowned pilot, Amelia Earhart was also a participant, and an inspiration to other women. To date, women are still under-represented in many aviation jobs and careers, and we look forward to promoting aviation to women and youth at the event through demonstrations and exhibits. “

On Saturday, June 22/2019, the public is invited to take part in more activities at the airport. During the afternoon there will be a ceremony dedicating a plaque to Canadian aviation pioneer Dorothy Rungeling, a presentation of the Compass Rose from the Ninety-Nines (an international women’s flying organization), and the 2019 Air Race Classic is offering giveaways for tandem jumps, introductory flying lessons through the St. Catharines Flying Club between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

There will also be a vendors’ market, a meet and greet with the racers who participated in this year’s event, vintage planes and vintage cars.

The event wraps up Sunday night with an awards dinner, the pilots and planes will be heading back over the border Monday.