EAAers in action
in the spotlight
Celebrating 80 Years
of Women’s Air Racing
The 33rd Air Race Classic
HENRY M. HOLDEN, EAA 427388
This year’s 33rd annual Air Race Classic (ARC), a four-day event held from June 23-26, celebrated 80 years of women’s transcontinental air racing.
The race covered 2,359 nautical miles, originating
at Centennial Airport (APA) in Denver, Colorado,
with designated stops at Liberal, Kansas; Sweetwater,
Texas; Lufkin, Texas; Russellville, Arkansas; Grenada,
Mississippi; Sparta, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Illinois;
Racine, Wisconsin; and ending at Atlantic Municipal
Airport, Iowa (AIO).
The ARC, open only to women, attracts pilots of all
ages and backgrounds. In the first Women’s Air Derby,
in 1929, 20 pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to
Cleveland, Ohio, the site of the National Air Races. The air
races continued until World War II. They resumed after
World War II when the All Women’s Transcontinental Air
Race (AWTAR), better known as the Powder Puff Derby,
came into being. The AWTAR held its 30th and final race
in 1977. ARC stepped in to continue the tradition of
transcontinental racing for women pilots.
Thirty-two teams, nearly 70 women, flew in from 19
states and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
Pilot Carolyn Van Newkirk, copilot Barb Goodwin, and
Maureen Kenney flew in Team 34, and Team 18 consisted
of Gene Nora Jessen and her copilot, Cammie Patch. All are
Left to right, Carolyn Van Newkirk, Maureen Kenney, WASP
Bee Haydu, and Barb Goodwin enjoy a moment together.
Haydu, who raced with Team 26, graduated from Women
Airforce Service Pilots Class 44-W7 during World War II.