May 20, 2011

Media Advisory -- Air Race Classic Fundraiser

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend a fund-raising event Saturday, May 21, at the Williamson County Regional Airport for Southern Illinois University Carbondale flight instructors participating in the upcoming 2011 Air Race Classic.

The pancake breakfast and airplane wash is from 8 a.m. to noon, at Midwest Aviation, which is right under the control tower at the airport. The local Carbondale and Marion Experimental Aircraft Association hold a pancake breakfast the third Saturday of each month, and proceeds from this month’s event will go to the SIUC race team.

Flight instructors Erin Jackson and Melanie Murdock will compete in June in the 35th annual event, which celebrates the history of women in aviation. Jackson and Murdock will be at Saturday’s fund-raising event and available for interviews.

The race covers 2,365 nautical miles in four days, June 21-24. The event begins in Iowa City, Iowa, and will end in Mobile, Ala., and features 10 legs and check-in points. The legs feature stops in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The team’s expenses are at least $5,000, including entry fee, fuel requirements with rapidly rising fuel costs, lodging expenses and food, in addition to pre-race and post-race activities. The University is responsible for the Cessna Skyhawk 172R plane and maintenance.

This is the second year that SIUC will have an entry. In 2010 there were three SIUC teams. Jackson and Christine Zoerlein was the highest finishing SIUC team, placing ninth of 53 teams overall and third in the collegiate division. Last year was the 100th anniversary of licensed female pilots. Famous aviator Amelia Earhart was one of 20 women to compete in the first Women’s Air Derby in 1929.

Additional information on the 2011 Air Race Classic is available at