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Tue, Jun 30, 2009

Ann Arbor Pilot and Atlanta Co-Pilot Win Air Race Classic

Best Among The 34 Team Field

They flew mainly in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. That was part of the winning strategy for Kelly Burris and her co-pilot Erin Recke in the Air Race Classic, an all-female cross-country airplane race.

Racers departed Denver last Tuesday. Burris and Recke finished in Atlantic, Iowa on Friday, but didn't know they had won until the awards banquet was held Sunday. Burris, who is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press "We decided to stay as low as we could. It was a very hot route. We went down through Texas. We would fly a couple of legs early in the morning. We would be done by noon. When it was hot and bumpy in the afternoon, we didn’t fly. We let the airplane rest."

Burris, and her Atlanta-based co-pilot Erin Recke finished the course three knots faster than any other team, considered a wide margin in the rally-style cross country race.  The team finished the race last year, but were disqualified for using a navigation system rather than dead reckoning. “This is something we have wanted really bad after our goof up last year,” Burris told the paper. “This was a nice slice of redemption. The other racers were so happy for us. We put a lot of thought and strategy into it and it all paid off. We won by quit a bit, which was a nice feeling.”

The Air Race Classic is designed specifically for women in aviation. It was first developed by Amelia Earhart in 1929, and this year's event was the 33rd race. Burris and Recke have donated their $5,000 prize to  Air Charity Network, which claims to be the largest charity air transportation organization in the world.

FMI: www.airracecassic.org 

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