Teams from Embry-Riddle’s campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., will represent the university in the 2014 Air Race Classic(ARC), a four-day transcontinental flight competition for female pilots beginning June 16.
Pilot and captain Val Mehanja and co-pilot Nancy Snyder will be defending the Daytona Beach team’s first-place finish in the collegiate category and third overall in last year’s Air Race Classic.
Flying for Prescott are pilot Kristin Garcia and co-pilot Marlene Wessel, supported by their ground crew and alternate pilots Anna Chrzanowski (coach and alternate co-pilot), Hannah Rooney (alternate pilot), and Krystal Megha (alternate pilot). Last year’s Prescott team finished fourth in the collegiate category and 12th overall.
The women were selected for this prestigious competition by Embry-Riddle College of Aviation administrators on the basis of their piloting skills, their competitive spirit and their knowledge of aviation, safety, navigation, meteorology and crew resource management. Both teams will fly Cessna 172 aircraft from the university’s fleet.
The Embry-Riddle teams will compete against 50 other teams from around the world, including 11 teams from other universities. This year’s race begins at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, Calif., on June 16. The racers must navigate and check into airports in 10 cities on the 2,691-statute-mile route, completing their journey at Capital City Airport in New Cumberland, Pa., on June 21.
Embry-Riddle racers have delivered impressive performances in the Air Race Classic over the years. Daytona Beach has participated every year since 2007, finishing three times as the No. 1 team in the collegiate division, and has finished as high as No. 2 in the overall competition. Prescott has taken part every year since 2009, ranking as high as No. 2 in the collegiate division and No. 6 in the overall competition.
Marlene Wessel is from Brensbach, Germany. She graduated with a BS in Aeronautical Science with an Air Traffic Control minor. Kristin Garcia is from White River Junction, Vermont. She graduated in May with a degree in Aeronautical Science, with minors in Air Traffic Control and Aviation Business. Both Kristin and Marlene are currently working as flight instructors at the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus.
Follow Garcia and Wessel during the Air Race Classic at: http://goerauclassic46.blogspot.com
Val Mehanja is from Kosovo, and graduated in May from the Daytona Beach Campus with a degree in Aeronautical Science. She is a flight instructor at the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach Campus. Nancy Snyder is from Wellington, Fla., and is majoring in Aeronautical Science and will graduate in the fall. She hopes to become an Embry-Riddle flight instructor this summer.
Follow Mehanja and Snyder during the Air Race Classic on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/riddleracers
Other schools fielding teams in the Air Race Classic are Indiana State University, Jacksonville University, Liberty University, Louisiana Tech University, McGill University, Purdue University, Texas State Technical College, University of North Dakota and Western Michigan University.
(Top photo features Nancy Snyder and Valdeta Mehanja of the Daytona Beach team)
About the Air Race Classic
Originally known as the Powder Puff Derby when it was established in 1929, the annual cross-country race is sponsored by Air Race Classic Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of general aviation, presenting and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation, demonstrating women’s roles in aviation and encouraging and educating current and future women pilots.
Each ARC aircraft is judged against its own handicapped cruising speed and teams must follow the route as closely as possible while improving their average speed, a format that focuses more on piloting skills and decision-making than on speed alone.
For more information, go to http://airraceclassic.org.
MEDIA CONTACT DAYTONA: James Roddey, Communications and Media Relations Manager, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.; (386) 226-6198; firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT PRESCOTT: Jason Kadah, Communications and Media Relations Manager, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz., (928) 777-6731; email@example.com.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 75 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.