June 13, 2013 – Teams from Embry-Riddle’s campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., will represent the university in the 2013 Air Race Classic (ARC), a four-day transcontinental flight competition for female pilots.
Flying for Prescott are pilot Shelby King and co-pilot Anna Chrzanowski, while pilot Valdeta Mehanja and co-pilot Danielle Erlichman will fly for Daytona Beach.
The women were selected for this prestigious competition by Embry-Riddle College of Aviation administrators on the basis of their piloting skills, their competitive spirit and their knowledge of aviation, safety, navigation, meteorology and crew resource management. Both teams will fly Cessna 172 aircraft from the university’s fleet.
The Embry-Riddle teams will compete against 45 other teams from around the world, including 12 from other universities. This year’s race begins at Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, Wash., on June 18. The racers must navigate and check into airports in nine cities on the 2,458-statute-mile route, completing their journey at Drake Field Airport in Fayetteville, Ark., on June 21.
Embry-Riddle racers have racked up impressive performances in the Air Race Classic over the years. Daytona Beach has participated every year since 2007, finishing twice as the No. 1 team in the collegiate subcategory and capturing the No. 2 ranking in the overall competition. Prescott has taken part every year since 2009, ranking as high as No. 2 in the collegiate division and No. 6 in the overall competition.
Valdeta Mehanja on the Daytona Beach team is pursuing a B.S. in Aeronautical Science and is a flight instructor. Her co-pilot Danielle Erlichman holds that same degree and is currently working as a flight instructor while pursuing an M.S. in Aeronautics. Erlichman also competed for Daytona Beach in last year’s Air Race Classic, her team beating all other collegiate teams and placing No. 2 overall.
“I’m very excited and grateful to be representing the Daytona Beach Campus again this year in the Air Race Classic,” Erlichman said. “I know my experience from racing last year will give us an advantage as we compete against some of the best female pilots in the world.”
The team’s alternate pilots are students Waverly Giannotti and Kelsey Tenhoeve and its coach is Marisha Falk, a former ARC competitor who now drives the Embry-Riddle Jet Dragster.
The Daytona Beach team’s website is http://riddleracers.wix.com/riddleracervii#.
Shelby King on the Prescott team has nearly completed her B.S. in Aeronautical Science and plans to become a flight instructor. Anna Chrzanowski holds a B.S. in Aeronautical Science and is a flight instructor. The team’s alternate pilots are flight instructor Maren Ferreira and former ARC competitor Marlene Wessel. Flight training manager Ryan Albrecht is their coach.
“We at the Prescott Campus are very proud of our race team this year,” said Jerry Kidrick, Flight Department chair. “Anna and Shelby have worked very hard to prepare for the race and it has truly been a group effort to get the aircraft and crew ready to compete. The talent, dedication and professionalism it takes to be competitive in a race of this type is a reflection of the quality of the Flight Department’s employees and students.”
ER is sponsoring aerobatic pilot Matt Chapman, and two high-tech Embry-Riddle training aircraft, a Diamond DA-42 and a Cessna 172, will be on display.
Dan Carrell has been named interim chancellor. Jerry Kidrick joins Embry-Riddle as chair of Prescott's flight department. Tom Rajala has been named dean of enrollment management.
The free event on Oct. 13-14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day is the only air show in the United States to host three jet demonstration teams including the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.