Up, up and away: Air Race Classic to take off in Jackson

JACKSON, Tenn. — A race that started with Amelia Earhart makes its way to Jackson.

“It’s a big deal, and the men are so jealous that there is nothing out there for them and only the women get to do it. It’s a big deal,” said Mary Wunder, director of airplanes for the Air Race Classic. 

Some of the 50 planes have already started landing at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson for the Air Race Classic.

“It’s really a unique sport. This is the only all-women’s air race. It’s the oldest one around, and it started in 1929,” Air Race Classic Safety Officer Lin Caywood said. 

The race starts in Jackson, goes south into Georgia, then up to Missouri, Minnesota and Michigan.

“We cross the border into Canada, and then we end in Welland, Canada, which is just west of Niagara Falls,” Caywood said.

The 100 pilots will be able to talk to each other over the radio. When it comes time to finish each leg of the race, they do a low flyover above the runway. The directors say sometimes the planes are very close together. The people on the ground then clock their time.

“It is just the most awesome thing you have ever participated in,” Jo Ann Speer, stop chair for the Air Race Classic, said.

You have a chance to participate as well, by coming out to watch the takeoff.

“Depending on the weather, the race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m., and so the first plane will depart at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning,” Speer said. “And they say that a plane will take off about every 30 seconds.”

The directors of the race said only 7% of licensed pilots are women.

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