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Purdue Aviation Students Compete In Women’s Air Race Classic

The pilots will be supported by a ground crew at Purdue that will help monitor weather conditions.

A Purdue University plane lands on a runway. Two Purdue aviation students will compete in this year's Air Race Classic.

Photo: Suzi Walker (Flickr)

A Purdue University plane lands on a runway. Two Purdue aviation students will fly in this year's Air Race Classic.

The women-only Air Race Classic gets underway June 18th in Pasco, Washington. The three-day trip will conclude in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Purdue University student Amanda Keck is returning to the race after serving as a co-pilot in 2012. She says the Air Race Classic celebrates women in aviation.

“Well, women have definitely come a long way in aviation, but we are still very much so the minority,” Keck says. “In my class of 60 people here at Purdue, only two of them are females.”

Keck says it‘s not a race against other people, but against meeting the challenges that arise. She says a big factor and safety concern this year will be the mountains, which consists of 70 to 80 percent of the trip.

Joining her in the cockpit is co-pilot Rachel Borsa, another Purdue student. The team will be supported by a crew on the ground at Purdue.

“Our ground crew’s great,” Keck says. ”They look at the weather, the wind, and basically tell us what altitude we need to fly to, how fast we need to climb, how fast we have to descend, how much fuel we need. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

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