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Purdue students flying high to compete in Air Race Classic

Two teams of Purdue students are competing in the 42nd annual Air Race classic. This is the second year in a row that dual teams from the university are participating in the women's competition.

Posted: Jun. 13, 2018 11:35 PM
Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 11:42 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- Two teams of Purdue students are competing in the 42nd annual Air Race classic. This is the second year in a row that dual teams from the university are participating in the women's competition.

Nicoletta Fala, Cathy Troyer amd Morgan Pietruch are representing Purdue Pilots, Inc. in this year's race. These Purdue women are taking to the sky to compete in the only women's air race in the United States.


The cross-country competition will start in Sweetwater, Texas. The team will then travel to Minnesota, down to Illinois, over to Michigan, back to Indiana and finish the race in Fryeburg, Maine.

That's 2,656 miles total to be traveled in four days or less.

There are 55 teams in the race, but apparently they're not the competition. Captain Nicoletta Fala said they are racing against themselves.

"We have a handicap speed, which is our top performance speed," Fala said. "So we are trying to beat that, or get as close as possible. So we're getting compared to our airplane's handicap speed and not each other."

First Officer Cathy Troyer says the team has been preparing by doing practice flights, and collecting lots of data for the plane.

The Piper Warrior II can fly at up to 12,000 feet, but the team is planning to stay at 10,000 feet.

And as for speed-
"The lighter we are the faster we're gonna go so we are trying to pack as light as possible," Troyer said.

This is Fala's second year competing, so she's feeling pretty confident.
News 18 asked her if she was nervous for anything.
"Not really. I think once we take off we'll be fine, it's going to be fun."

But first-timer Troyer has one worry.
"I, myself am just nervous of screwing up a radio call. But, overall I believe we're going to do really well."

The team will depart on Tuesday, June 19th. Their deadline to arrive in Maine is 5 pm on Friday, June 22nd.

Their third teammate, Morgan Peitruch, will be updating social media accounts and a blog throughout the race.
You can read their blog here or follow their instagram account @purduepilotsinc.

All race teams can be followed here.

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