Monday, March 14, 2016

97 Days and Counting!

We are under the 100-day mark and there is still so much to do.  We have already registered our team and our airplane, but now the real work begins. 

Hotel reservations have to be made, not only at the Start and Terminus, but, also, en route.  Of course, we only know the places we CAN stop for an overnight, not not where we WILL stop.  That will be decided, most probably, the day before.  And it will all depend on the weather.  We know how far we CAN go in one day, but will the winds cooperate?  If we have a head wind, we will go slower and not make it as far in one day.  If we have a tail wind, we will go faster and cover more ground.

Which leads to flight planning, a big task by itself. The race covers almost 2,400 nautical miles, crossing over 11 states, and has to be completed in four days.  We also have to plan to get three team members, from three different corners of the country to the Start.  We have to decide what the best altitude will be to fly, based on the winds and other factors; we have to calculate fuel burn for each leg; and we have to determine which stops to get fuel and which stops to overnight.

In addition to flight planning, we are required to take safety courses that are applicable to the current year's race.  This year, we have to do two out of four of the following: Mountain Flying (because the race starts in Prescott, AZ and heads to Albuquerque, NM); Runway Safety (because anytime you have 55 planes all moving about the airport environment, you need to be aware and alert); Weather (no explanation necessary!); and Airspace (because most of the Stop airports are in controlled airspace and we need to know the rules).

The next item on the checklist will be the airplane.  Lara has submitted the ADs (Airworthiness Directives) for review, to make sure we have complied with all the FAA notices.  Lara will also be flying the handicap flight in the next month or two.  I'm sure she'll be posting about her experiences in this area.  Since she has a lot on her plate, as CoPilot I may need to remind her.

And, of course, all of this requires money, so we are also in the process of sending out sponsor letters. If anyone who would like to help us cover our expenses, we would be glad to accept the donation.  Even if we just have the largest cheering section following along, we will be thrilled!

More soon.  Thank you for supporting Classic Racer 71 Blackbirds!