WMU News

2003 Air Race Classic 'flight log'

by Amanda Gruden and Michelle Glisan

June 19, 2003

PRATT, Kan -- Greetings from Pratt, home of Miss Kansas, wheat and cows!

We arrived Monday (June 16) and were welcomed by the herd of cattle on the approach end of the runway. The weather for the flight here was beautiful. We flew from Battle Creek to Des Moines, Iowa, where we refueled and went on our way to Grand Island, Neb. Did a quick fly over of the airport in Nebraska and headed south for Kansas. We were lucky we left when we did, because storms were moving in from the north.

On Tuesday, we took our plane up to make sure everything was working okay, because on Wednesday morning all the planes were impounded. The arrival deadline was Wednesday at 11 a.m. and at that point, all the planes were impounded, and racers can't fly them again until the race begins. They impound the planes so we can't add or change anything on them after they've been inspected.

Our plane was inspected Wednesday. One of the inspectors came over and checked our propeller. She said it was reading higher (rpm) than what it was supposed to be, but we didn't think that was correct, so we got a second opinion. Luckily enough, the first inspector's prop reader was running low on batteries and reading incorrectly. Otherwise, we would have had to have some adjustments made to our governor, which we didn't want to have done. So, we were all set for inspections and good to go for Saturday. Our plane is spick and span after we rubbed off all the bugs. There shouldn't be any bugs between Michigan and Kansas, because we took care of them on the leading edges of our plane.

There were 38 planes that registered for the race, but two have already scratched for whatever reason.

Wednesday night, we did laundry. The goal on the race is to travel with the lightest amount possible, so we needed to wash some clothes in order to ship them to the finish to lighten our load. We are still taking more than some veteran racers. Just to give you an idea, some of these ladies will wear the same outfit for the four days of the race and carry their toothbrush and that is it. We decided to have a new shirt each day... not skimping too much.

Thursday afternoon we had our first briefing. It was the first-time racers briefing. Many teams that have been racing for a long time go every year. It is a good review.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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