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Air Race Classic will be Air Race Derby for 2021

March 16, 2021

The Air Race Classic, an all-women’s cross-country air race, remains postponed for 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the organizers are offering an alternate one-day event: the Air Race Derby. Also new this year: All types of aircraft, including light sport, experimental, and turbocharged aircraft and rotorcraft, can participate.

Volunteers and competitors prepare to start a four-day, 14-state cross country journey from Frederick, Maryland, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, as part of the 2017 Air Race Classic. For 2021, the organization has announced the Air Race Derby, a one-day VFR event open to all types of aircraft. Photo by David Tulis. The derby will be a one-day VFR event. Participants will design and fly their own routes that meet the requirements, and routes can be flown in the United States and internationally.

Routes must be five legs with a single starting and termination point, and each leg must be at least 65 nautical miles in length, flown in a straight line. Routes must be flown with a flight planning tool that has tracking capability so that each team’s route can be submitted electronically to the organization for scoring. Teams try to predict their best time for the chosen route, and the Derby awards cash prizes for those teams with the smallest percentage error between the estimated time submitted before the route was flown and the actual time flown for both the overall route and each leg.

Teams choose the day to fly from June 12 through June 26, flying their route in one day under day VFR conditions. The event concludes with a virtual awards banquet.

“The ARC Air Derby will provide an opportunity for women pilots around the world to challenge their piloting, flight planning and navigation skills and share their love of flying with other women pilots in a fun event that avoids large gatherings and supports recommended health safety protocols,” ARC organizers said.

Registration opened March 15 and is limited to 99 teams. Team registration is free and closes on April 30. Complete rules, registration, and a webinar that lays out the Air Derby in detail are available on the website.

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