Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day One of the Race

Woke up this morning as very excited racers we were, got the car packed and headed to the mandatory breakfast at 6 am. We ate a sturdy breakfast, got our weather briefing, and got our last minute departure briefing. We were the first team to turn in our Air Race Classic flight plan, and ran out to the car to drive to the airport.

We arrived at the airport, unpacked the car, and packed up the plane.  We preflighted and hopped into the plane and sat. We got the word that the takeoff time was going to be delayed an hour due to weather. The rule for the first leg of the race was that to allow all the racers to take off, the slowest and most leastvmanueverable plane must be able to make it VFR the entire route.We ended up walking around and took a few pictures with our newly made friends. 

After we heard there was going to be another delay of now 11 am PDT, we went inside to the FBO and played cards with a bunch of the other collegiate racers. After making a bunch of noise, some of the older women joined in and played the card game "spoons" with us. It was a blast! The ARC committee ended up buying us all egg mcmuffins from McDonalds since we were all just sitting around. That's was nice of them as it held us over for a while. 

At 1pm PDT, the committee gathered all of the racers together, took roll call and told us the news about the race. They started out with the good new... The race wasn't going to be canceled.  However, they included that there was going to be changes. The first change was the first leg of the race was going to be removed. It came down that they didn't care how you made it to the first stop, just get there eventually to be able to start the race. At this point, I was overwhelmed with information and the what should we do; that I really wish I was taking a video of all the chaos. The best way to describe this site was Black Friday shopping. It was complete craziness! We asked other teams what they were doing and got Liberty University advice on what they were doing. 

We came up with a plan to go IFR for part of the way and then finish it up with going VFR into Mountain Home. Idaho. We started the plane with the other 40 some planes as well and called up ground clearance. We called up about 4 times wanting our clearance; however, we kept getting ignored. Once we were 1 of 10 teams left on the ramp they finally called up us, however; they didn't recognize the Sioux callsign so we ended up going by NDU61 for a callsign. Once that was straightened out, we taxiied out and waited in a long line of aircraft. We waited and waited. I now know how passengers feel on airliners when they sit on the ramp for a long period of time.  I have been in a habit lately with writing down the time when we are starting the engine and taking off. I'm so glad I did that today as I kept watching the clock and realized that we were sitting on the ramp at that point for close to two hours. We were on the ramp for so long because we were waiting for the airspace to clear out for IFR traffic going to Mountain Home,Idaho. We finally were allowed to do a 360 on the ramp and taxi to Runway 30 and get out on that runway.  We taxiied to the end and sat behind a King Air waiting to get his IFR clearance. The King Air ahead of us called up to the tower and asked how much longer it was going to be to for him to depart. The tower called up and said that they had no idea. At that point, we wanted to update our times with UND Aerospace as they were really off, and check the weather again. 

We taxiied back to the ramp and went into the FBO and rechecked weather, went to the bathroom, and got a snack. We updated times, revised the route, and refiled our flight plan. We got back into the plane, and started the engine. We were making mistakes with missing things on checklists, then we rechecked the weather on the iPad and saw a embedded thunderstorms along the route. I turned to Katrina and said we are tired, hungry, and have had too many things against us already, we should just stay the night here. It was a tough decision to make as we witnessed majority of the racers takeoff and are headed on the race route . But in the long run, we made a smart, safe decision. It might cost us in the end and we might not finish in time but in the long run safety is what means the most to me and throughout my training safety has been engrained to be the number one important factor in aviation.

So hopefully you all can conclude where our current location is at the moment... Pasco,Washington if you didn't follow with the blog tonight. 

Here are some photos of today's activities:

Amy excited to race!

Our little passenger buckled in and ready to go!

Our little friend who we met at the start, came to wish us good luck for when we left!

Our new friends from Purdue (Amanda and Rachel)

Planes lined up ready for to go

Air Race Classic and Cessna

Katrina meeting new friends
Playing cards
Our tracking device works! We taxied around the ramp for two hours and figured that out!


  1. super blog! not only great pilots, but terrific writers, too. Juan Pedraza, University and Public Affairs, University of North Dakota

  2. Amy and Katrina,

    We realize the start of the 2013 Air Race Classic was frustrating. However, when all is said and done you'll look back upon it as a good adventure.Safe flying and blue skies!

    Jim and Jan Klosterman
    Parents of Annette, 2007 UND Aerospace Grad