We're in! After much deliberation, we've named ourselves 'The Azalea City Avgals,' in honor of our hometown, Mobile, Alabama. We're also known as Linda Keller and Amelia (Mimi) Reiheld, and we're embarking on a grand adventure this summer, flying Linda's Cherokee 180 in the 35th annual Air Race Classic. The Air Race Classic arose from the ashes of the old 'Powder Puff Derby', and continues that tradition of women pilots racing stock airplanes across America.
We'll join dozens of other women pilots in mid-June, plotting our course from Iowa City, Iowa to Mobile, Alabama, taking the scenic route. To begin the adventure, we'll cross four or five states just getting to Iowa City for the start of the race. Then we'll spend several days in the company of other women pilots, learning safety considerations and race rules, having airplanes inspected, meeting new friends, and greeting old ones. The race begins on June 21, and we'll be off to cross Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, before alighting, finally, four hectic days later, at Mobile Downtown Airport for the Air Race finish.
From Mimi: I grew up in Mobile, and caught my love of flying and sailing there. Life intervened, and my journeys in subsequent decades have taken me all over the country. I'm now settled with my husband, Rob, in pretty, historic little Edenton, North Carolina. We get down to Mobile fairly often to visit family, though, and whenever my Mooney 231's wings cross that lovely delta, I feel very much at home again.
From Linda: As the saying goes, I'm not from here, but I got here as fast as I could, arriving 'home' to Mobile nine years ago after criss crossing America from midwest to northwest to southeast to midwest back to the southeast!! For the first 40 years of my life I was happy to be just a passenger in a plane piloted by my father-in-law Ace Keller a retired Air Force pilot. I learned to fly in the great Northwest shortly after turning that awful age of 40. My husband Bruce earned his private certificate also and is a GREAT copilot. After 20 plus years we still just love to go flying!! When I am not flying I am a realtor with Coldwell Banker Charles Hayes Real Estate and an avid tennis player. We are the proud owners of N5174L, a 1967 Piper Cherokee 180, nicknamed Ms Lima - she will be our ride for the big Air Race Classic with ladies only!
News Flash! We've just learned that we are Air Race Classic Team Number 6. As first-time racers, we're fortunate to have as mentors, that is, Mother Birds, Team Wild Mama, skippered by Terry Carbonell. Wild Mama was last year's winner. We plan to do some serious brain-picking.