Women’s Air Race Classic comes to Faribault, MN! Started in 1929 as the Women’s Air Derby, the current Air Race Classic, Ltd. (ARC) stepped in to continue the tradition of transcontinental speed competition for women pilots in 1977. The race routes are approximately 2,400 statute miles in length, and the contestants are given four days, flying VFR (visual flight rules) in daylight hours, to reach the terminus. This year’s race begins in Sweetwater, TX, on June 19 with terminus activities in Fryeburg, ME, taking place from June 22 to June 24. Each airplane is assigned a handicap speed – and the goal is to have the actual ground speed be as far over the handicap speed as possible. The pilots are thus given the leeway to play the elements, holding out for better weather, winds, etc. The objective is to fly the “perfect” cross-country trip. In this type of race, the official standings cannot be released until the final entrant has crossed the finish line. Actually, the last arrival can be the winner.
Faribault is the fourth of ten scheduled stops in this year’s race. Why is that significant? Race organizers wanted to honor the life of WASP Liz Wall Strohfus by including her hometown of Faribault, which renamed their airport after the great lady during its 70th anniversary celebration in 2017 . . . welcome to Liz Wall Strohfus Field. Flying fast and strong today, the Air Race Classic is attracting world-wide success and remains a venue for competitive flying. Louise Thaden is quoted as saying, “… added skills are developed, self-confidence is increased and enduring friendships are made”. And Blanche Noyes added, “Flying is ageless.”
Additional reasons for the Faribault stop include Redman Aviation Restoration Enterprises – RARE Aircraft Ltd – an award-winning, family-run company nationally-recognized for its restoration of antique aircraft. If you’ve got a vintage project in a hangar or on your wish list, you might want to stop in and talk with the Redmans. Faribault is one of the oldest settlements and predates Minnesota’s inclusion as a U.S. Territory, touting several interesting stories in history that affected the nation! To learn more about that history an overnight stay at the Historic Hutchinson House B&B is highly recommended. Owners Tami and Doug Schluter share these stories in great detail and give you a step-by-step guide of where you can learn more first-hand as you move about Faribault’s Historic Downtown. For example . . . the Faribault Woolen Mills have been in operation over 150 years; supplying wool blankets to the troops of two World Wars. Have you ever taken a ride on a Tilt-A-Whirl at an amusement park or the state fair? The ride was invented by Faribault native Herbert Sellner and debuted at the Minnesota State Fair in 1926. Several restored “tubs” adorn the downtown for a fun, photo op! These are just 2 examples of the incredible history of this small, midwestern town . . . located just 45-minutes from the major population centers of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mankato and Rochester.