Traverse City News and Events

NMC Pilots Join Air Race

April 22, 2019

Two women from the aviation program at Northwestern Michigan College will be teaming up for the oldest air race of its kind. Hannah Beard of Interlochen and Jessi Martin of Maple City will participate in the Air Race Classic, a 2,300-mile race exclusively for female pilots. The two will take off from Jackson, Tenn. June 18 in an NMC Cessna. They will be flying sunrise to sunset with an anticipated finish date of June 21 in Welland, Ontario.

Beard is NMC’s top-performing aviation student this year, mastering commercial pilot skills faster than any other student, according to Aviation Director Alex Bloye. Bloye said competing in the Air Race Classic will draw more awareness to the college’s aviation program. While only four percent of U.S. airline pilots are female, nearly 20 percent of current NMC aviation students are women. NMC is also home to a chapter of the networking and support group Women in Aviation International.

They are not the only local women participating: NMC flight instructor Victoria Gannwill be racing as part of another team. Air Race Classic pilots range from ages 17 to 90. Interested persons will be able to follow the race on the NMC Aviation Facebook page.

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