Local pilot competing in oldest air race

June 06, 2014
Santa Paula News

Local pilot Judy Phelps will soar across the country in her team’s small aircraft as they compete in the 2014 Air Race Classic (ARC) this summer which begins June 16th in Concord, California and spans over 2,338 nautical miles. 

Racers will undergo briefings, flight planning, and fly-by study prior to take off. The race is an annual all female pilot air race in which pilots race against their own best speed in the plane of their choice. There are, however, limitations: the aircraft must be “stock” small airplanes and have their handicap speed identified with a check pilot. They will zoom through ten intermediate stops in four days enroute to New Cumberland, Pennsylvania in the quest for the fastest time. This is the first ARC for Judy Phelps.The ARC carries on the long tradition of women’s air racing that dates back to 1929. Air racing became popular in the 1920’s, but women pilots were forbidden to race against the men in that era, so the ladies started their own. This year’s ARC will have fifty teams and over one hundred female pilots compete for the championship title. Judy is a flight instructor and said simply, “Flying is my life.” Judy had always wanted to fly the ARC, and now she has that opportunity. 

The Air Race Classic, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to: encouraging and educating current and future women pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women’s roles in aviation and presenting and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation.

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