Longview TX – June 17, 2015 – Amelia Earhart, see what you started? The week of June 19 (and on the 87th anniversary of the day America’s aviatrix became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in flight) two young grads from LeTourneau University–one of the nation’s top aviation schools–compete in the all-female Air Race Classic.
June 22 through 25, in the 39th annual “Air Race Classic” (Fredericksburg, Va. to Fairhope, Ala.), Jovita Perez-Segovia and Rebecca Davidson will fly 2,400 miles–continuing the all-female race tradition founded in 1929 by Earhart and 19 other pilots. The Air Race Classic’s forerunner, The First Women’s Air Derby, originally flew from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio. Now the Indy 500 of women’s air racing, the Air Race Classic draws pilots ages 17 to 90. From wide and varied backgrounds, and in teams of two or more, they fly “VFR” (virtual routing and forwarding), daylight only, with four days to score a flyby at each enroute timing point. Each plane travels in race form to determine its handicap speed; each team wants actual ground speeds as far as possible over the handicap speed.
“The FAA says 6 percent of pilots are women, and we aim to improve that,” Fred Ritchey, dean of LETU’s School of Aeronautical Sciences said. “Young pilots like Jovita and Rebecca–women with vision and purpose–inspire more young women to believe for themselves that the sky’s the limit.” (Or as Perez-Segovia says, “The sky is not the limit. The sky is home.”)
In the way their hero lifted notions of “girls’ work,” Jovita and Rebecca want to end limitations for other young women. In the air and in life, Davidson says, “nothing is out of reach.”