LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - LeTourneau University is once again taking to the skies for the Air Race Classic. The women’s race has been going since 1929. The team needs a little financial assistance for racing expenses.
Cecilia Kim, Laura Laster and team captain Erica Swenson are all pilots, and are pretty excited about the 2,400 mile Air Race Classic.
“It is a big deal for women to get to do this air race because it’s something that we get to show that we are part of aviation just as much as anybody else,” Swenson said.
“The fact that we’re able to race in this race, I’m very excited because it really helps support our women and give them a really cool opportunity to practice with them during their years at LeTourneau learning to fly,” Laster stated.
Laster is LeTourneau Aviation Director of Flight Operations, while Erica and Cecilia are students who are licensed pilots.
“We not only represent the school but we can actually learn something out of it, out of this race, like making all the pilot decisions and having a good experience of having a safe flight,” Kim said.
They’ll fly a Cessna 172 Skyhawk over a three day period, and their expenses will be nearly $10,000, so they need financial help.
“If you don’t raise the money, do you not race? Is that what happens?” I asked Erica.
“Pretty much. We can’t really do anything if we don’t have the money,” Swenson replied.
Swenson’s father is a pilot, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Kim was born in Korea and grew up in Fiji near an airport.
“Whenever I hear the airplane I always think back of getting onto that airplane and go back home to Korea,” Kim recalled.
The team got into flying in different ways, but now are all sharing the same goal, and attitude.
“Go Letourneau,” Swenson laughed.
The last time Erica parked the plane she got the front wheel directly on a yellow line she couldn’t even see from the cockpit. If that’s an indicator of all their skills they may do okay in a race against women of all ages.
The race starts in Jackson Tennessee, goes south to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and then north eventually ending in Welland, Ontario Canada June 18-21. If you’d like to help the team with their expenses click here.