WMU News

2001 Air Race Classic 'flight log'

by Jo-Elle Warner

June 27, 2001

PRATT, Kan. -- Greetings once again from Pratt, Kansas!

We were at the airport at 0630 with the plane pre-flighted and ready to go. Then we got the current weather brief. No go due to a stagnant low pressure trough right over Arkansas and level 4 thunderstorms running north and south along our route. This came to be the weather for the rest of the day.

Fortunately, to the West weather was good enough for the rest of the racers to make it here today. All 31 airplanes are safe on the ramp under the watchful eyes of the 38,000 cattle.

Purdue was the first plane to make it in today, so we've been hanging out with them waiting for the weather to improve. We enjoyed greeting our fellow racers and exchanging race adventures. It's very rare during the race for all contestants to be at an en route stop on the same day. If we have good weather tomorrow morning, it will be another busy launch like the one in San Diego. Because of our arrival yesterday, we will be at the head of the pack for takeoff in the morning.

As of now, the forecast is discouraging as it predicts headwinds, decreased visibilities, and occasional isolated thunderstorms. Being summer, however, that could all change overnight. Let's hope so anyway.

Pratt is a nice town, but we did not plan on establishing residency. However, the hospitality has been "over the top." The mechanic has loaned us his car, so we are quite mobile. The local paper, The Pratt Tribune, did a cover story on the air race. Because we were one of two teams here yesterday, we were quoted several times, and the Mooney was pictured on the front page.

One of the racers is Elizabeth Jennyson, the managing editor for AOPA's [Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association] Flight Training magazine. She has been keeping a journal of her race experience, and it can be found on the AOPA Web site, <www.aopa.org>.

We are glad to be only one time zone away from home and have high hopes to be on Eastern Time tomorrow.

Go Broncos!

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Jo-Elle Warner is a flight instructor in College of Aviation and a graduate of the WMU aviation program. She and Michelle Homister, an April aviation graduate, are competing against more than 30 teams from around the nation in the 2001 Air Race Classic, June 26-30, beginning in San Diego and concluding four days and more than 2,200 miles later at Sporty's Airport in Batavia, Ohio.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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