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University of Central Missouri
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UCM Students Join National Air Race

UCM Students Join National Air Race

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG - 06/14/2006 - Two UCM aviation students are about to embark on an adventure that will challenge the skills they have obtained as students in UCM's nationally known aviation program.

First UCM Team to Participate in Women's Air Race Classic

Raven Roberts, Oregon, MO, and Catherine Eisenhauer, Springfield, MO, will take to the skies for four days to test their skills as aviators. The senior aviation technology majors will participate in the 30th annual Women's Air Race Classic June 20-23, which will pit their skills against the clock as they fly in and out of nine small airports in eight states. This is will be the first time a team from UCM has competed in the women’s air race.

Funds Raised

"We heard about the race last fall through the Wichita chapter of The Ninety-Nines, a national organization of women pilots," Eisenhauer said. Once the decision was made to participate, they began raising funds to pay for rental of the airplane, provided by the UCM Department of Aviation, fuel and expenses. Since March, the two have raised more than $5,700.

A Test of Pilot and Navigator Skills

Both women hold pilot licenses, and one holds an instrument rating, prerequisites for participation. Advancing in the competition requires that teams fly distances between two points in times as a close to possible to those prescribed, rather than in the shortest time possible, much like a road rally.

Nine Stops in Four Days

The pair will leave Mesa, AZ, on June 20. Over the next four days, they will fly in and out of airports in Santa Teresa, NM; Ozona, TX; Bryan, TX; Bastrop , LA; Ada, OK; Lawrence, KS; and Albert Lea, MN, before making their final landing in Menominee, MN. First through tenth place cash prizes are awarded, and the top college team will bring home a traveling trophy.

Long Time Career Goals

Roberts took her first plane ride at the age of 13. When the time came to choose a career upon high school graduation, a conversation with an aviation student from her hometown convinced her that UCM was the place to work toward her goal. She is pursuing a career in commercial aviation.

Eisenhauer’s grandfather was a pilot, and her father has kept that interest alive for her. When she was 14, her father purchased a ride for her in a biplane. Although she initially started studying marketing in college, she eventually changed her major to aviation. As a cadet in UCM's Air Force ROTC program, she will fulfill a 10-year military obligation in the field of aviation. Both plan to pursue graduate degrees.

Expanding Horizons

Roberts and Eisenhauer are excited the upcoming challenge of the air race, and they both consider it an opportunity to expand their skills.

"It's a great opportunity to meet other women pilots and network for future jobs in aviation, Roberts said. "UCM has prepared us well, so we know we have the skills. It up to us to put them to use."

Elizabeth Eisenhauer and Raven Roberts
UCM aviation students Catherine Eisenhauer, left, and Raven Roberts
will participate in the 30th annual Women’s Air Race Classic June 20-23.