The 41st annual Air Race Classic will make a pit stop in Ardmore today and tomorrow as 55 teams of female pilots race to finish the cross country flight.
The planes are scheduled to start flying through the Downtown Executive Airport this afternoon, though a definitive time can’t be given due to the nature of the event. Tyler Young, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce COO, said that the bulk of the planes are expected to come through Thursday.
“It’s the first time the race has ever come to Ardmore,” Young said. “It’s a pretty cool deal.”  
Female pilots from across the country embarked on the race Tuesday in teams of two, and must reach the finish line by Friday. Racers must execute high-speed flybys over a marked timing line as they reach each stop on the route. Many racers may stop to refuel, or to stay the night in Ardmore because flying after dark is not permitted in the ARC.
The current top ten winner’s purse totals $18,000 in cash prizes and awards from sponsors.
The ARC traces its roots back to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, in which 30 women pilots including Amelia Earhart, raced from California to Ohio. The race has evolved over time, and each year the course changes, providing a different set of challenges for the competitors. Women aged 17 and up are able to compete in the race, and various makes and models of planes are used.
Ardmore will be the pilots’ second to last stop before heading to Plainview, Texas, and ultimately the finish line in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
To track the racers’ progress in real time visit airraceclassic2017.maprogress.com.