K-State Salina Team Places Sixth in Air Race

An all-female Kansas State University Salina student team clocked its highest overall finish ever for the university in the Air Race Classic.


SALINA -- An all-female Kansas State University Salina student team clocked its highest overall finish ever for the university in the Air Race Classic.

The team placed sixth out of 41 teams and third among 14 collegiate teams. The Air Race Classic is the longest-running all-women pilot transcontinental air race and dates back to 1929.

Members participating in the race included Jen McLean, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Karen Morrison, Wichita; and Tonya Hodson, Marion.

Students flew from to Pasco, Wash., to Fayetteville, Ark., in a Cessna Skyhawk 172 S-model, stopping in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma.

McLean, a May 2013 graduate in professional pilot, said weather challenged the team.

"Some days the weather was not the best, and we had to figure out a way to get around it," she said. "High winds, high density altitude and mountain storms tested our skills."

Morrison, a senior in professional pilot, said she gained confidence flying in unfamiliar places and networked with fellow competitors from around the world.

"We made some lifelong friends, but the most important thing I learned was that no matter how much experience you have, you can always learn something new," she said. "That was expressed by the pilots who have been flying for more than 20 years. "

Hodson, a senior in professional pilot and a member of last year's team, said she enjoyed learning new skills.

"I learned the importance of patience and slowing down the procedures which will help me to become a better certified flight instructor," she said.

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