Women only airplane race makes a stop in West Texas

Updated: Jun. 21, 2017 at 10:44 PM CDT
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Crews racing in the Air Race Classic stop in eight cities, and Plainview is the second to last...
Crews racing in the Air Race Classic stop in eight cities, and Plainview is the second to last stop before the finish line in Santa Fe (source: KCBD video)

PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - More than 50 single-engine airplanes will make a pit-stop at the Plainview/Hale County Airport between today and tomorrow, as Plainview is one of the stops for the 41st Annual Air Race Classic.

While the route for the race changes each year, one thing remains the same:  it involves only women pilots.

Co-pilots Felicia Nelson and Louanne Stenger, from Red Rock, said they get a thrill every time they fly.

"I have always wanted to fly. I used to have dreams of flying when I was little," Stenger said.

And there's nothing quite like a bonding experience thousands of feet in the air, when you're racing against the clock.

That's the goal as they participate in the 2017 Air Race Classic, which started Tuesday morning.

"We've already traveled I think 2,300 miles in two days, and then as a total we'll travel 2,700," Nelson said.

The all women crews make eight stops as they began in Frederick, Maryland, traveling across the country. And for the very first time, Plainview is on the route.

"For Plainview to be the only stop in Texas, out of a 14 state you know, cross country 2,648 miles, we just are really excited to have this event in Plainview," stop chair, Plainview/Hale Country airport manager and co-owner of Rocket Aviation, Stacie Hardage, said.

A little over 100 women pilots are participating in this race, making a name for females in this sport.

"This is a boy's world, and I can't abide by that," Stenger said. "Girls have to get in there."

And for the staff and volunteers out at the Plainview Hale County Airport, it's a thrill to be more than a mark on the race map, but also a friendly face to greet these female pilots changing the history of flying.

"You know it's just really neat, to have this many women pilots that are this excited and willing to participate in such a fantastic event," Hardage said.

The Plainview/Hale County Airport is the second to last stop.

The finish line is at the Santa Fe Municipal airport, and the winner isn't whoever makes it there first.

Each team races against themselves, so the winner is the team with the least amount of accumulated air time by the end of the race.

If you would like to watch tomorrow's event, you can head to the Plainview/Hale County Airport at 10 Miller Blvd, Plainview, TX 79072.

The event goes on in Plainview all day Thursday.

The first planes take off at 6:30 a.m., and all planes have to land by sunset and the event is free to attend.

"It's a real honor to me. And it's especially an honor to have the opportunity to first of all, just be able to fly airplanes, which wasn't done 50 years ago by women," Nelson said. "And then secondly to be able to see the country in a short period of time and visit wonderful people throughout the United States."

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