Air Race Classic takes off
Purdue Airport recognized as aviation historical site
Aviation past, future fly high at Purdue for Air Race Classic
'Taking Flight' honors women aviators, inspires new generation
For first time, all-female air race will feature two Purdue teams
Purdue to be site for 2005 women pilots' Air Race Classic

2005 Air Race Classic
Air Race Classic Inc.
History of the Air Race Classic

Air Race Classic 2005 at Purdue

Purdue pilots' logs from 2005 Air Race Classic

During the 2005 Air Race Classic, the two Purdue teams will send out daily updates of their progress.

June 23 - 5:45 p.m.

Greetings from Tullahoma, Tenn.

We were up and headed to the Shreveport, La., airport this morning by 5:45 a.m. We wanted to make sure we could take off right at 8 a.m. and have time for some breakfast and briefings first. It continually amazes us how long it takes to plan such a precise flight.

We were initially planning on making it back to Lafayette tonight to miss some strong headwinds tomorrow, so our turn at Walnut Ridge, Ark., to Tullahoma, Tenn., was the quickest we've had yet. We were all sprinting across the ramp with apples and crackers in one hand, flight plans and briefings in the other hand, and credit cards (for fuel payment) between our teeth. Talk about hectic! There were also about four crop dusters (low flying planes that spray the crops) flying in several fields around the airport that weren't on the airport radio frequency or watching out for racers. One crop duster even landed on the opposite end of the runway a racer was taking off. She had to abort her take-off and stop before he ran into her. Everything went as planned and we were back in the air for Tennessee by 10:45 a.m.

The Walnut Ridge to Tullahoma leg was absolutely beautiful, with rolling hills and the Mississippi River winding below us. We tried to take some pictures, but it was as hazy as yesterday and we're not sure how they will come out. Coming in to land at Tullahoma wasn't very congested and we were able to complete the fly-bys without any problems. As soon as we got on the ground, we started running around the ramp again since we were still planning on making it to Lafayette. However, after checking the winds and forecast for tomorrow, we decided it may be better to stay here for the night. When we figured out that the majority of the top 10 placers from last year's race are also here, we were even more convinced of our decision to stay.

We are now in the hotel, checking weather - it seems to have been the popular thing to do these past couple days - and getting ready for a cookout at the airport. All our stops have been absolutely wonderful about food, transportation and housing. Tullahoma even offered to let us stay at the airport if we really wanted to get a start right at sunrise. We laughed and said “No thanks,” but they're picking us up at our hotel at the break of dawn.

Thank you once again for all the support and e-mails. We will be in Lafayette tomorrow sometime after noon if you'd like to come watch our landings.

See you soon!

Classic No. 5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic No. 6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus

Route for the 2005 competition

2005 Course


June 22 - 11:34 p.m.

Greetings from Shreveport, La.

Today was a short flight day with only one leg, but still a rather long day. We all arrived at the Bartlesville, Okla., airport by 8 a.m. and were ready to go. The airport personnel were worried about fly-bys and take-offs interfering so they called an all-racer briefing before anyone could take-off. This made some of the women very upset because they were ready to go. Luckily, we had planned on delaying our take-off anyway - to catch some better winds - so we weren't affected by the briefing.

Throughout the leg from Bartlesville to Shreveport our two planes stayed within approximately three miles of each other. We've been asked several times if we're purposely staying together and we have the same answer every time: "We're getting the same weather briefings, we've had the same training, and we're flying the exact same plane. It kind of just happens." Classic No. 6 (Sarah and Kirsten) was behind Classic No. 5 (Tina and Katherine) and never had them in sight due to haze, but we were constantly checking the distance out from the airport to make sure we weren't going to interfere with airspace.

On this leg we had several large hills - if you're from Indiana you may think they are mountains - and lakes. It was a beautiful route with some turbulence due to convection over the hills and lakes. We were going to take some pictures, but it was too hazy to take anything worth keeping.

Coming in to land at Shreveport, we had a couple interesting adventures. First, we had to make sure we were below the Class C airspace that was above Shreveport. In order to do that, we needed to descend at a faster rate than normal. Tina and Katherine, in Classic No. 5, also had an unusual experience coming in for the fly-by. Following is the transcript from the flight:

Classic No. 5: Shreveport Downtown, Classic 5 is 10 miles out for fly-by to land runway 14.

Tower: Classic 5 report 3 north for fly-by to land.

Classic No. 5: Will report 3 north, Classic 5.

*elapsed time*

Classic No. 5: Classic 5 is 3 north for fly-by to land.

Tower: Classic 5 still not in sight. Cleared for fly-by to land.

*elapsed time*

Tower: Classic 5 say position?

Classic No. 5: Classic 5 is over the numbers for 14.

Tower: Classic 5 I still don't have you in sight! I think you're at the wrong airport!

*silence* (insert heart attacks here)

Tower: Oh, never mind. In sight. Cleared for fly-by.

Classic No. 5: Don't scare us like that!

Tower: Don't worry, we were scared too.

Throughout this whole transaction, Kirsten and Sarah were getting ready to divert to find the correct airport, since they had been following Tina and Katherine. Luckily, everything was fine and tower just had a hard time finding Classic No. 5.

Since we had some extra time this evening, we planned some winds for the next routes and then took a nice break. First, we headed down the block to an IMAX theater to watch "Fighter Pilots." It's amazing how after a long week of flying, we're still 100 percent interested in going out of our way to watch an hour long show all about flying.

After the IMAX, a new friend picked us up at our hotel. Dave is a Purdue grad and long-time Purdue fan who is a B-52 ground instructor at the Barksdale Air Force Base here in Shreveport. He receives these e-mails and met us at the airport when he found out we'd be landing here for the day. Dave took us out to the base and showed us around the outside museum. He was our very own personal tour guide and we learned about vortex generators, ailerons, fuel dumping, and so many more interesting things that we had heard about, but never seen demonstrated on different types of aircraft.

We are now back at the hotel and getting ready to turn in for the evening so we can be up at 5 a.m. getting ready for an early departure. Thanks once again for all the support. We really enjoy receiving e-mails from home and seeing familiar names.

Thanks again!

Classic #5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic #6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus

June 21 - 11:22 p.m.

Greetings from Bartlesville, Okla.

That's right, we finally made it out of Indiana. We've had a very busy day and are planning to leave bright and early in the morning.

We were all at the Purdue Airport this morning to hear our final briefings and have some delicious food provided by Triple XXX. By 8:00 a.m., we had a weather briefing, breakfast, a briefing regarding the take-off, and our engines started. The take-off was absolutely amazing, with planes taking off every thirty seconds. Thanks to everyone who came out to show their support!

The first leg, from Lafayette to Winona, Minn., was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the scenery, which included rolling hills and the Mississippi River Valley. We were able to talk on an air-to-air frequency and had each other in sight almost the entire time. It was nice to be able to help each other out with spotting traffic and comparing ground speeds. There was a great photo opportunity at Winona with Classic No.5 on final for landing while Classic No. 6 was parallel to and a couple hundred feet higher than them for a fly-by. Go Boilers! Also at Winona, Classic No. 5 got bumped out of their fueling slot and were pushed way back. Luckily both teams were still able to avoid the afternoon convective build-up and made it safely to Bartlesville this evening.

From Winona, Minn., to Beatrice, Neb., our two teams were about 50 miles apart due Classic No. 5's fuel mishap in Winona. We were still able to communicate via air-to-air, so we weren't too worried. Katherine has decided that Iowa looks like one big golf course and we all agree. Didn't make it real easy to find checkpoints. The fly-bys were uneventful at Beatrice and they had wonderful food and drinks to get us through the next leg.

During the third leg, Beatrice, Neb., to Bartlesville, Okla., we were still about 50 miles apart, but once again talking on an air-to-air frequency. A few of the teams were caught by some unexpected convective activity (rain and lightning) but we had already passed through that part of the route when it arrived. The landing at Bartlesville was very smooth and we ran to put our names on the RON list (remain over night). This is vital because it determines what order we will take off in the morning. Also at Bartlesville we had the challenge of finding hotel rooms for the night. Every single hotel in Bartlesville was booked except a couple rooms at the Best Western. Great "racer's rate" plus a complimentary hot breakfast. Can't beat that!

It's time to go plan some routes for tomorrow so thanks again for all your support and we'll have another update tomorrow evening!

Classic #5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic #6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus

June 21 - 12:08 a.m.

Greetings one last time from West Lafayette, Ind.

Tomorrow is the day we've all been preparing for - take off! This will be a pretty short update due to the fact that we will be taking off in less than eight hours.

We spent all day today in briefings with the rest of the racers to hear about safety issues, fly-bys, weather and the take-off. They were very informative while at the same time rather time-consuming. It was nice to see familiar faces giving the briefings - Professor Wulle, Dr. Carney, and even some of our very own ground crew.

After the briefings, we took care of some last minute preparations (including another run to Target) and kept a close eye on the weather in Minnesota. We also checked in with our ground crew to make sure they're geared up and ready to go bright and early in the morning.

The plans for tomorrow include a 5 a.m. planning session, 6 a.m. breakfast and briefing and an 8 a.m. departure for Winona, Minn. We're not sure what will follow after that, but we will be sure to send out an e-mail tomorrow to update all of you.

Thank you once again for your continued support and e-mails!

Classic #5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic #6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus

June 19 - 11:13 p.m.

Greetings once again from West Lafayette, Ind.

We had a busy day at the Community Cookout, afternoon briefings, and the Take-Off Banquet. Everyone is gearing up for the take off on Tuesday and starting to get excited!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Community Cookout this afternoon. It started at 11 a.m. and involved hamburgers and hot dogs, static displays and Young Eagle rides. Included in the static displays were four F-18s, a P-51, a P-40, a Twin Beech, a Navajo, a T-34, a Purdue King Air B200 and a Boeing 737 on display for the community to look at. All the planes that arrived today were able to do low approaches before landing so everyone could see their awesome performance capabilities. There were Young Eagle rides available for kids from ages 8 to 17, Sno-Cones and cotton candy and a National Guard climbing wall to entertain the younger crowd.

From 3 to 5 p.m., there was a first-time racers briefing to bring all the "newbies" up to speed. We learned a lot about official procedures and how to keep track of our score during the race. (I think our favorite parts were the cookies and drinks.)

Tonight we all attended the Take-Off Banquet to have an official send-off and honor the previous Powder Puff Derby racers and Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. It was a great time for all and a beautiful ceremony. We were able to mingle with the other racers and hear stories of years past.

Tomorrow, we will be attending briefings all day and go shopping for some last minute items necessary for the race. Look for the next update late tomorrow evening!

Thanks again for the continued support!!

Classic #5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic #6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus

June 18 - 11:37 p.m.

Greetings from West Lafayette, Ind.

The time has arrived once again for our annual Air Race Classic. We are lucky to be able to have two teams racing this year, so our e-mails and overall operations may run a little differently than in the past. Classic No. 5 (N553PU) has captain Tina Lukas and copilot Katherine Conrad and Classic No. 6 (N555PU) will be raced by captain Sarah Andersen and copilot Kirsten Korkus. The Purdue teams are gearing up for a great week-and-a-half and would like to update you on our progress.

We've completed all our practice flights, which included several aspects of flying that we will encounter in the race. In four hours of flying (two for each team) we managed to calculate fuel burn, check ground speeds, practice fly-bys and low approaches, all the while working on maintaining and improving our crew resource management.

Also in the past week, we have been busy washing, waxing and applying decals to our race aircraft. The Purdue aviation maintenance technicians were absolutely awesome in teaching us how to remove bubbles under decals and work around rivets. We prepared our "boxes" for the planes in which we keep washing fluid, windshield cleaner and extra oil, among other things. Patti (the Hangar 6 dispatcher) spent some time with us in the hangar figuring out the handheld global positioning systems and transceivers.

Yesterday the racers started arriving here in West Lafayette all the way from California, Arizona, and Florida, just to name a few. Fortunately, it wasn't a very long trip for us to move our planes from Hangar 6 to our tie-down spots.

We also had our registration and inspections yesterday. We were some of the first to register and then visited with the fellow racers until our inspections started. Purdue has a little different maintenance program than most, so it took some time for the inspectors to get used to our logbooks and credentials. Everything passed with flying colors - thanks Purdue maintenance! - and we're set to go.

We've been busy washing and waxing racer's planes yesterday and today as a fund-raiser for our ground crew. It's amazing how many planes you can wash with some hard work and elbow grease!

Tomorrow we are going to be attending the Community Cookout at Hangar 1 (Aviation Technology Building) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and would love to see you there if at all possible.

Thank you for your continued support and watch for our nightly updates!

Classic #5 - Tina Lukas and Katherine Conrad

Classic #6 - Sarah Andersen and Kirsten Korkus


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