June 02, 2011

Media Advisory -- Big Muddy Air Race

Faculty, staff and students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Aviation Technologies will play key roles in the inaugural “Big Muddy Air Race” originating from Southern Illinois Airport on Saturday, June 4.
Twenty-six competitors from throughout the United States have registered so far for the event, which begins at 10 a.m. Part of the Sport Air Racing League, the event covers approximately 165 nautical miles over Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.
The race will run pilots along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and include checkpoints at Perryville, Mo., a natural gas suspension bridge near Grand Tower, an interstate overpass near Cairo, Fort Defiance State Park in Massac County, Metropolis, and the smiley face water tower in Makanda before returning to the airport.
Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the event, beginning with a pilot briefing at 9 a.m. in Room 145 of the Department of Aviation Technologies’ building at the airport. The event will be over at about noon, and the ramp will be open to the public to view the planes and talk with competitors. Race results will be available at about 12:30 p.m.
The rain date is Sunday, June 5. Participants will begin arriving in Southern Illinois on Friday.
In addition to aviation faculty and staff participating, SIUC’s Rotor and Wing Association, a registered student organization, will host a post-race cookout in the department’s hangar. Aviation technology students largely comprise the organization.
The entries include numerous experimental and factory aircraft, in addition to a P-51 Mustang, a World War II air bird, according to John D. Cotter, an assistant professor in the aviation technologies program. Competitors will come from throughout the United States, including Texas, Alabama, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan.
Air speed on the planes will reach 200 to 300 mph, said Sam Hoskins, the event coordinator, who is from Murphysboro.
More information on the event is available at bigmuddyairrace.blogspot.com/, or by contacting Hoskins at 618/967-0016, or by email at sam.hoskins@gmail.com.