UND aviation team takes off today in this year's Air Race Classic

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UND aviation team takes off today in this year's Air Race Classic

A University of North Dakota team took off this morning from Concord, Calif., for the 38th all-women Air Race Classic. The UND team--pilot Carly Namihira, co-pilot Amy Warbalow, and navigator Jen Pinkowski—and their UND Cessna 172 #608 was assigned as "Classic Racer 2" out of 52 teams total competing.

Warbalow, Namihira, and Pinkowski started their trip last Friday from the Grand Forks airport. This year's Air Race Classic, dubbed "From Sea to Shining Sea," is scheduled to cover 2,338.5 nautical miles, or 2,691 miles from the starting point in Concord to the race terminus at Capital City Airport in New Cumberland, Pa., on Thursday, June 19. After the race awards banquet Saturday, the team will then fly their aircraft back to Grand Forks.

This year's UND team is comprised of three members (last year's team, the first to compete in the annual Air Race Classic, consisted of two—Warbalow as pilot and Katrina Kugler, now a UND flight instructor, as co-pilot); Jenkowski is filling the new role of team navigator. She said she'd get a few hours at the controls during the flight to and from the race.

Also new this year is an all-student meteorology team recruited, organized and coordinated by Atmospheric Sciences faculty member Gretchen Mullendore. This team will be on the ground at UND, assisting the UND racers. The weather team consists of Brandon Bigelbach, Danny Burtch, Grant Gutierrez, Andrea Neumann, and Mariusz Starzec.

"This is a neat addition to this year's Air Race Classic effort, using the expertise of a number of Atmospheric Science students, under the direction of Mullendore and Fred Remer, another Atmospheric Sciences faculty member, to provide in-depth weather forecasting," said UND Aviation chair Beth Bejrke. "For our group of pilots to have a personal team of weather experts working with them is a big advantage."

About the Air Race Classic Women's air racing all started in 1929 with the First Women's Air Derby; 20 pilots, including famed aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, raced from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio, site of the National Air Races, according to the Air Race Classic website. Contestants are usually given four days, flying by visual flight rules to reach the finish. The race is run only during daylight hours.

About UND Aerospace The John D. Odegard School Of Aerospace Sciences (UND Aerospace) at the University of North Dakota is a world-renowned center for aerospace learning, nationally acclaimed for its achievements in collegiate aviation education, atmospheric research, space studies, and computer science applications. With more than 500 faculty and staff members, and more than 1,500 students from around the world, and myriad programs and projects, UND Aerospace sets the pace for the future of flight.

Juan Miguel Pedraza University & Public Affairs writer

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