June 15, 2010

Media Advisory -- Air Race Classic Sendoff

Reporters, photographers and video crews are welcome to attend a flight send-off and sponsor appreciation for the three teams from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Aviation Management and Flight that will compete next week in the 2010 Air Race Classic.

The event is at 1 p.m., Wednesday, June 16, in the upstairs dining area of the main terminal at Southern Illinois Airport. Team members from each SIUC’s three entries will be available for interviews.

The 34th annual Air Race Classic covers 2,157.7 nautical miles in four days, June 22-25. The event begins in Fort Myers, Fla., and will end in Frederick, Md. Southern Illinois Airport is one of the competition’s eight legs and check-in points. Nearly 60 teams from across the nation are currently set to compete.

The event celebrates the history of women in aviation. Amelia Earhart was one of 20 women to compete in the first women’s Air Derby in 1929. The University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of SIUC Aviation. This is also the 100th anniversary of the first certified pilots in the United States.

Each team is comprised of a pilot and co-pilot. Since February the teams have been working to secure sponsorships and set up fund-raising events. The Saluki flight crews are Department of Aviation Management and Flight flight instructors Sabrina Zwego and Heather Heidinger, Katie Lake and Ashley Carder, and Erin Jackson and Christine Zoerlein. All three teams will compete in the event’s collegiate division.

The teams have a website set up at airrace.aviation.siu.edu and also have a Facebook page. More information is also available at www.airraceclassic.org/.