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2008 Air Race Classic 'flight log'

June 28, 2008

by Meghan Burlager and Betsy Taylor

MANSFIELD, Mass.--We actually made it to the finish line!

The deadline was 5 p.m. yesterday, June 27, and we made it in with a couple hours to spare. The weather was pretty marginal, and it was another stressful day.

We went from Franklin, Pa., to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and then on to Mansfield. We were constantly dodging planes and clouds, all while maintaining separation from the New York hills. We basically fell out of the plane when we shut off the engine safely on the ground in Mansfield.

We were so glad to make it, and were surrounded by volunteers and well-wishers who wanted to meet us. They were very receptive here in Boston. We were glad to see them, but wanted a little timeout to get ourselves together.

We met a few local pilots and a Western alumna who wants to do an interview with us later this weekend. We can't remember who she writes for, but we were so tired we just agreed, and she'll call us later. We had a three-hour wait for a rental car and passed out for a while when we finally got to the hotel.

Last night some of the local college students/flight instructors took us to Boston for a dinner at Cheers. It was nice, but we had gotten so used to being in bed before 10 p.m.--since we got up every day at 5 a.m.--that we weren't exactly the energizer bunnies.

It was cool to see Boston at night. It's a beautiful mix of old and modern architecture that we hadn't experienced before. Being on the east coast made us realize that we actually just flew across the country in four days in a single-engine plane, which felt pretty unique.

We checked out our scores today, and at first we were a little disappointed. On further review, we noticed that they had messed up our time on the first leg, which added an extra ten minutes to our times. That made a huge difference. We had to meet with the chief judge (a little intimidating), and he ended up accepting the times that we had recorded.

There was a mix-up in Miles City, Mont., and since we knew who was ahead of us and all of the other times matched up correctly, the judge decided that our times were correct. We don't know how it will affect the overall scores, but we are optimistic, since they asked to inspect our aircraft. That doesn't mean we did really well, but we most likely will be in the top 12! If that is true, we will be overjoyed. Competing with these women who do this every year is an honor and a challenge, so not getting last place will be a win for us.

Results will be announced at the Sunday night closing banquet.

Meghan Burlager and Betsy Taylor
#32 on the tail and #1 in your hearts

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

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