Registration opens January 2, 2024, for the 47th Air Race Classic (ARC) to be held June 18-21, 2024. Women pilots from across the United States and around the world will take off Tuesday, June 18, from Southern Illinois Airport in Carbondale, Illinois, for a 2,628-statute mile competition across 11 states that ends Friday, June 21, at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland, Colorado.

The oldest race of its kind in the nation, the Air Race Classic traces its roots to the 1929 Women's Air Derby, aka the Powder Puff Derby, in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other daring female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. This year's ARC celebrates the 95th anniversary of that historic competition, which marked the beginning of women's air racing in the United States. Today, the ARC is the epicenter of women's air racing, the ultimate test of piloting skill and aviation decision-making for female pilots of all ages and from all walks of life.

"The ARC Board of Directors and volunteers have been hard at work preparing for our 47th race," said Air Race Classic President Donna Harris. "We look forward to celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Women's Air Derby as we welcome back veteran racers and meet new competitors at our Start in Carbondale, Illinois.”

Teams will begin departing Southern Illinois Airport at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, taking off one after another approximately 60 seconds apart. From there, the field will spread out as faster planes move ahead or as racers use their own strategy for when to fly. Faster planes may complete the route in only two days; slower planes may not arrive at the Terminus in Loveland, CO, until moments before the arrival deadline at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21.


Intermediate airports along the route are in La Porte, IN; Cadillac, MI; Newark, OH; Monee, IL; Owatonna, MN; Moberly, MO; Bartlesville, OK; and Dodge City, KS. Teams will execute high-speed flybys over a timing line at each of these intermediate airports where they may also land for fuel, a break, or an overnight stay.

Teams consisting of at least two female pilots will complete the course flying normally aspirated, piston-powered airplanes in visual flight conditions during daylight hours. Pilots and copilots must have at least a private pilot certificate and a minimum of 100 hours as pilot-in-command to qualify for the race; one of them must have at least 500 hours as pilot-in-command or a current instrument rating. Teams may include additional female teammates who must hold at least a student pilot certificate.

Because each plane receives a unique handicap, teams are racing against their own best time, not against one another. This creates a level playing field, so slower planes can compete against faster planes on an equal basis. Teams strategize to play the elements, holding out for better weather or seeking more favorable winds, to beat their handicap by the greatest margin.

Official standings aren't determined until after the last team has crossed the finish line – the last arrival at the Terminus may, in fact, be the winner!


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