Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, June 16 2014 at 3:52 PM, Updated: Mon, June 16 2014 at 4:05 PM
Some of the nation's top pilots visit Klamath Falls on a women's cross-country air race...The planes started coming in at around 10 Monday morning.
"Today is the 2014 women's air race classic." Explains Kristin Garcia of Prescott, Arizona. "From Concord, California over to New Cumberland, Pennsylvania."
45 teams are taking part in this year's competition, which celebrates women's role in aviation.
"And we really want to promote the idea of education and aviation to younger generations of women." Notes Emily Lewis of Michelton, New Jersey. "Actually, all generations of women."
The teams fly in stock aircraft with a goal of making the 'perfect' cross country flight in four days.
"So each race we'll do a handicap flight before the race even starts to get a basic average ground speed." Explains Kristin Garcia. "And then throughout the race, you try to beat that time."
Amy Warbalow of the University of North Dakota adds that teams track weather and wind conditions to plot the best path...
"It might not be the straight line - it might be the curvy line. And, you could come in dead last and get first place."
Civil Air Patrol cadets checked flight times...the planes got fresh fuel...and the pilots got a chance to stretch before heading off on the next leg of their journey.
And while the race is a serious competition, Sandy St. John of Dallas, Texas says it's also serious fun...
"The comraderie - just the flying experiences, the various places that we visit, and the wonderful people, like y'all."
The Air Race Classic is not stranger to Southern Oregon. The race passed through Medford in 1977 and 1986, and through Klamath Falls in 1979.
The race is now in its 38th year.
You can track the race, and learn more at: www.airraceclassic.org
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KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.