Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sandra Feliciano: Hagerstown, Maryland, pilot helps get air race off the ground



Sandra Feliciano of Hagerstown was a teenager when, as a Civil Air Patrol cadet, she fell in love with flying.

It would be many years later — after marriage, children, divorce, a move and meeting her current husband — that Feliciano would get her pilot's license in 2007 and became a flight instructor in 2010.

When pilots from across the nation arrive for the 41st Air Race Classic on Wednesday at Frederick Municipal Airport, Feliciano will have had a hand in planning the logistics and activities for the female-only competition.

Feliciano, 47, is a member of the Sugarloaf Chapter of the Ninety-Nines Women Pilots in Frederick.

The Ninety-Nines were founded in 1929 by Amelia Earhart and 98 other female pilots to support and encourage women pilots. It now has about 5,000 licensed pilots from 35 countries.

"This air race is not only a fun race and fun thing to do, but it also gets the word out that, hey, women pilots have a place in our aviation framework, structure that we can contribute to, and we're just as good as any of the guys are," Feliciano said.

The three-day, cross-country air race is an annual event, with different starting and ending points. In 2010, Frederick was the end of the race, but this year, it will be the starting point.

It is the oldest airplane race of its kind in the United States, according to a news release.

More than 50 airplanes, with more than 100 female pilots, will arrive at Frederick Municipal Airport on Wednesday. There are pre-race inspections, flights to determine each plane's handicap, classes to take, and activities planned for the pilots, family members who travel with them and the public.

The race begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 20, with airplanes taking off 30 seconds apart. The public can watch the departures from the airport parking lot.

The racers will have four days to fly the 2,648-mile course from Frederick to Santa Fe, N.M., stopping in between at Coshocton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Decorah, Iowa; Bemidji, Minn.; Spencer, Iowa; Abilene, Kan.; Ardmore, Okla., and Plainview, Texas.

Prizes are awarded at the finish on June 23 in Santa Fe for each leg and for the overall race, with times based on each plane's handicap.

"There's a lot of logistics involved in it. We've been actually working on this for about three years now," Feliciano said.

She has been working on hotel arrangements and will help out the main organizer, Lin Caywood, who is racing.

Only 1 to 2 percent of Americans are pilots. Of that number, only about 6 percent are women.

For that reason, the Ninety-Nines provide much-needed support, encouragement and camaraderie for female pilots.

"I just love flying. ... I think more women should get up and fly and get their pilot certificate," said Feliciano, a nurse consultant who does contract monitoring for prison health care in the western half of Maryland.

Tickets to many of the events are still available. For more information, go to www.sugarloaf99s.org.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.heraldmailmedia.com

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for using your talents to promote women pilots, The 99s Inc., and the ARC! Though I had to hang up my wings due to health, I always follow the ARC online. I know it takes far more than the pilots to make this historic air race happen each year, and you are playing a key role. Have fun!
Marion Nauman, Ventura County 99