2024 Air Race Classic Route

Jetlaw Partner Kali Hague and flight instructor Robin Laws are competing in the all-women’s Air Race Classic. The Jetlaw team returns after capturing 10th place in Kali’s restored 1947 Luscombe 8E taildragger. This year the team is racing a 1979 Cessna 172 from the flight school where Robin teaches.

Jetlaw Partner Kali Hague and flight instructor Robin Laws are competing in the all-women’s Air Race Classic.

The Jetlaw team returns after capturing 10th place in Kali’s restored 1947 Luscombe 8E taildragger. This year the team is racing a 1979 Cessna 172 from the flight school where Robin teaches. The team is competing against 47 teams and 106 racers from across the world. 

Kali and Robin met in Kansas State University’s aviation program, where they both learned to fly. The long-time friends credit their structured-flying background to their solid crew resource management (CRM) and safety-first approach to air racing. 

“Our goal is to be safe, have fun, and then win”, says Kali.

This approach, coupled with their combined 3,000 + hours of flying experience, helped them safely push the limits on Kali’s vintage taildragger last year. “We knew that some of the race legs were going to be a stretch if we had a headwind”, said Robin. A fuel stop on a race leg would cost the team precious time on the clock. Kali installed a fuel-flow meter before the race to give the crew the data they needed to safely manage fuel consumption. 

The Luscombe was at least 20 knots slower than the next slowest aircraft in the race. It was challenging for the team to even finish the race in the allotted four days. “It was fun to be the ‘darling’ airplane at every stop, but we are ready to race something faster”, added Robin, laughing. The team had to climb to 9,500 feet on one leg to reduce their fuel burn and avoid an en route stop. “We went from broiling temperatures on the ground in Texas to the middle of winter at altitude. It was an adventure, but we were too cold and stressed to enjoy that leg”, remembered Kali. 

The team looks forward to the increased flexibility that racing a faster airplane provides. Spring weather often means thunderstorms in the Midwest, a challenge for small aircraft that must fly day-VFR per race rules. Even a two-hour ground hold for weather can have significant consequences for racers. “This race is all about flying the perfect cross-country flight. If we have a good tailwind, then we want to fly as many legs as possible that day. If there’s a headwind, we might want to delay our departure to wait on better wind”, explained Kali. The Cessna 172’s speed and larger fuel tanks provide the flexibility the team needs to compete with the technically advanced and high performance aircraft in this year’s race lineup. 

The race starts Tuesday, June 18 in Carbondale, IL (KMDH) and finishes Friday, June 21 in Loveland, CO (KFNL).

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