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2004 Air Race Classic 'flight log'

June 26, 2004

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.--Amanda J. Gruden, lead flight instructor for Western Michigan University's College of Aviation, is sharing piloting duties with Sarah Tower, a 2003 graduate of the WMU's aviation flight science program, for the June 23-26 Air Race Classic, a women's, cross-country event that takes competitors on a 2,400-mile round-robin journey that begins and ends in Wichita, Kan.

This is the fifth time a WMU team has competed in the high-profile race, which is billed as "the only all-woman, cross-country event." This year, for the first time, the WMU team has abandoned its previous use of the college's more sophisticated aircraft and opt for a single-engine Cessna 172--the plane routinely used by the college for flight training. The move allows the team to avoid the hefty handicaps placed on previous WMU teams and put the women in a plane they fly daily in their flight instruction duties.

Below are reports from the two WMU aviators, beginning with their arrival in Kansas for the start of the race. Click on the date for the complete report.

June 25, Wichita. Kan. --"We are back in Wichita! The race does not officially end until tomorrow, and we won't know how we finished until Sunday evening."

June 24, Sheboygen, Wis. --"Only two legs of the race remaining, and we should be able to accomplish them tomorrow."

June 23, Gilette, Wyo. --"The flights were uneventful, with plenty of sunshine and tailwinds. We encountered new scenery and America's heartland at its best."

June 22, Wichita. Kan. --"Everything we will need for the next four days is neatly packed into a few small bags. We are ready to go!"

June 16, Huron, S.D. --"We left Battle Creek this morning at 9 a.m. and flew southwest to skirt around Lake Michigan and avoid Chicago's airspace."

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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