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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Air Race Classic 2009 - Post #5

Today was aircraft inspection day and the good news is: we passed. Not that there was any doubt, you know.

Being scheduled for the last inspection of the day gave us time to participate in the ARC "Youth Meet the Racers" activities. Like last year, kids were taken to see a race airplane, sit in the pilot seat, and learn a bit about airplanes. Other activities included making paper airplanes and some other creative crafts.

My partner, Jodie, and I were asked to handle the air traffic control game. With multi-colors of chalk, we sketched runways, taxiways, a windsock, ramp, and compass, and then played airplane with the kids. Explaining the numbers on the compass and how they correlate to runway numbers, how wind plays an important part in which way we land or take-off, and what a traffic pattern is, we had the kids "fly" the around the airport, arms outstretched.

Retired air traffic controller, Mary Wunder, a fellow racer, joined us with explaining the controller's job, and when she had to leave for her date with the aircraft inspection crew, I "retired" her again, and we taught the kids how to fly in to an uncontrolled airport.

As Jodie says, it must have been our colorful chalk drawings that landed us an interview by 7-year old Lexi and her publisher dad, Paul, for Airport Journals (www.airportjournals.com). It was an honor to be interviewed by this young, up-and-coming journalist and FWP (Future Woman Pilot). We had to skee-dattle after the interview to make our inspection time, so Paul and Lexi gave us a ride back to the inspection hangar. Lexi and I shared the back seat, along with her babydoll which rode on her lap. Lexi interviewed a number of race teams so if we make the cut, Paul promised to send us copies.

A reception this evening gave us a chance to meet other racers, some old-timers, some first-timers.

The volunteers here are terrific. Guys from the Colorado Pilots Association, and some who I think are 49-and-a-halfs (meaning they are married to a Ninety-Nine), have been shuttling all these chick pilots back and forth between airport and hotel. A good-humored bunch of men and its nice to have their involvement.

So now its time to tuck in for the night. Tomorrow we have the first of many briefings, with more on Monday and first thing Tuesday morning.

The pool of contestants is interesting, from college girls to grandmothers, real estate agents, teachers, engineers, farmers, full-time moms, professional pilots, and various other backgrounds.

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