Monday, February 15, 2016

Meet the Team!

Lara Zook Gaerte is our team Pilot and is from Fort Wayne, IN.  She holds numerous ratings, including single engine (land) and multi engine (land), instrument, and ATP (airline transport pilot). She has complex, high performance and tailwheel endorsements, and is also a skydiver.  She is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) for both single and multi engine planes, including instrument instruction for both. She is a five-time Master CFI, a FAASTeam (FAA Safety Team) representative, and is the current President of the Air Race Classic.  She has over 8,000 flight hours and has flown in 5 of these races.

Donna Harris is the team CoPilot, from Lake Havasu, AZ.  She is the rookie of the team, this year being her first time participating in the Air Race Classic.  She holds a single engine (land) rating, as well as her instrument rating. She has complex and high performance endorsements, and is the current Treasurer of the ARC.

JoAnne Alcorn is the Teammate, from Winter Haven, FL. Jo holds FAA ratings for single engine land, single engine sea, and multi engine land, as well as her instrument rating.  She has her complex, high performance and tailwheel endorsements.  She is also an Advanced Ground Instructor, for both basic and instrument. She has flown in 7 ARC races and has 1,800 flight hours.   Jo is the current Vice President for the Air Race Classic.

Welcome to our Blackbirds Blog!

This blog is about racing in the 2016 Air Race Classic, an all-women transcontinental air race that has roots back to 1929 when Amelia Earhart, Pancho Barnes and several other women pilots started the very first all-women air race.

Our team is #71, thus, the Blackbirds, after the Lockheed long-range strategic reconnaissance aircraft.  We chose this number for several reasons. Since the team makes up three-quarters of the executive board of the Air Race Classic, we wanted to be the last one to leave the Start, just in case an issue came up that needed us.  We also wanted a number that would fit easily on the cowling, the outer cover of the engine.  All planes will have the team number placed in the same location for easy spotting by the timers on the ground.  More on all this in later posts!  With the chosen team number, it was a natural choice to have "Blackbirds" as the team name.  And, as we go screaming (the engine, not the team!) across a timing line, the timers can say, "Bye Bye, Blackbirds!"

Thank you for joining us on our journey to the Start and, hopefully, to the Terminus.  Please feel free to add comments or email us.  We hope you enjoy our travels.