Today: Jul 02 , 2020

Embry-Riddle Pilots Take to the Skies for the 4 Day Cross Country Women’s Air Race Classic

09 June 2018   Jason Kadah

It’s a 2600 mile, 4 day race through 15 states. 

PRESCOTT, Ariz. ­— Whether their interest in flying was sparked by other pilot family members or from listening to commercial jets and F-16s roar overhead, female pilots from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have their eyes set on one goal –  winning the  42nd Air Race Classic (ARC).

Skillfully maneuvering through unexpected weather and rough terrain, three Embry-Riddle teams will take to the skies to once again try and claim the top collegiate spot on June 19 from Sweetwater, Texas and finish Friday, June 22, in Fryeburg, Maine. 56 teams from 35 states and Australia, Canada, Colombia, Kenya and New Zealand are in the competition, including 18 colleges or universities.

The more than 2,600-mile, four-day race will take the teams through 15 states. Embry-Riddle Prescott, which has participated every year since 2009, finished first and second in the collegiate competition last year and second and fifth overall.

Considered the oldest race of its kind in the U.S., the Air Race Classic dates back to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby, where Amelia Earhart and 19 other female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. The ARC is the ultimate test for piloting skill and aviation decision-making for female pilots of all ages and walks of life from university students and commercial airline pilots to former military and aviation enthusiasts.


The Thumb Beauts Team #53

· Pilot Jennifer Lowe – Lowe, of Chicago, competed in last year’s race placing second in collegiate and fifth overall. She recently graduated with a bachelor’s in Aeronautical Science and minor in Meteorology. With just under 300 total hours, she has completed her commercial license with multi rating, instrument rating and a complex endorsement to perform as a pilot-in-command. She decided she wanted to be a pilot after flying for the first time to visit the Embry-Riddle Daytona Campus with her brother, who was a high school senior. She is considering joining and flying for the U.S. Navy and then later using her pilot skills to fight fires “to make a difference in the world while doing what I love.”

· Co-pilot Brenda Nava – Nava, also from Chicago, is the first in her family to be involved in aviation. A flight instructor at the Prescott Campus, she grew up next to Chicago Midway International Airport which, “awoke in me a deep passion for aviation.” Nava has a bachelor’s in aviation science and aviation management from the University of Dubuque in Iowa. She is honored to be a part of the race, “especially knowing its history and the women who led the path for every female in aviation.” 

The Air Race Classic pilots were selected for this prestigious competition by Embry-Riddle College of Aviation administrators from each campus based of their skills, competitive spirit and knowledge of aviation, safety, navigation, meteorology and crew resource management. The team will fly a Cessna 172 aircraft from the university’s fleet.

To follow the Prescott Campus teams on social media, visit the Embry-Riddle – Prescott Women's Air Race Group on Facebook, or go to @erauprarc on Instagram. For details on this year’s route, go to


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, oldest and most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at