Amelia Earhart did it. Bobbi Trout did it. And now Victoria Dunbar and Safiye Ademoglu of Florida Institute of Technology will do it, too. They’ll fly the Air Race Classic, June 21-24, in the 35th annual event all-female air race, formerly known as the Powder Puff Derby. No Florida Tech team has entered the race before.
Dunbar, a Florida Tech flight instructor and her student, 26-year-old Ademoglu, of Turkey, will fly a Cessna Sky Hawk in the four-day, 10-stop race that will take them from Iowa City to Mobile, Ala. They will be one of 50 flight teams competing for monetary and memorabilia awards.
Dunbar competed previously, in 2009, for Indiana State University, where she was on the faculty. Her two-woman team took first place in the collegiate subgroup of the Competitive Division that year, and second overall in the race that spanned about 2,700 statute miles. The 2011 race will be about the same distance.
Because the team flying the fastest plane could easily win, the planes are handicapped according to their speed. The Florida Tech plane is considered somewhere in the mid-to-slow range of contending planes, according to Dunbar. “It will be all about flight plans and strategy that will determine who wins,” she said.
The Florida Tech team is sponsored by Turkish Airlines. Ademoglu, working on her private pilot certificate, now has 40 flying hours under her belt—and will have that many more when she finishes the race. She is the only female among 134 Turkish flight students currently training at Florida Tech’s flight training arm, F.I.T. Aviation. About 40 more Turkish students are due to arrive this summer, all part of a five-year flight training contract with the Turkish national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines. Under the contract, FIT Aviation will train Turkish pilots up to the FAA commercial pilot level.
The Florida Tech flight team plans to leave for Iowa City on June 16 or 17. The winners will be announced at a banquet in Mobile on June 26.
For more information, visit www.airraceclassic.org.