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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Women of The Air Race Classic

Friday Flyers...  

In memory of one of our racer's brother... An Air Force pilot whose RF-4 j crashed during an airshow.

This is the final Friday before the Air Race Classic begins. And the excitement mounts... I am giving a book away to the person who guesses the winner. Details at the end of this post.

Barbara Goodwin and Maureen Kenney

Barbara Good win and Maureen Kenney
Barbara Goodwin and teammate, Maureen Kenney along with 96 other women will fly across the country as they compete in the 2013 Air Race Classic.

The race begins June 18th in Pasco, Washington and spans over 2,128 nautical-miles. I will be heading to Pasco tomorrow and stop directly at the airport. Kids day will be well underway. We can meet the racers, and participate in all sorts of fun activities.

Barbara Goodwin is back for her tenth ARC. She is a Commercial pilot with single-engine land, flight instructor and basic ground instructor credentials and has logged 2,918 hours. As retired middle school math and science teacher, she is now a Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) out of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Why does Barbara fly?

“I fly the ARC for fun, friends and skill-building.” During the 2010 race, on their first leg, her vacuum system failed in Georgia. The airplane mechanic was also the town emergency medical technician, and they were delayed Waycross for 36 hours. 
Barbara is active in multiple volunteer groups, including the Young Eagles, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA); the Air Museum at Kalamazoo Airport; the Michigan chapter of the Ninety-Nines, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and Women in Aviation International (WIA), where she is a member at-large. Her husband, Robert, is also a pilot. When she’s not flying, Barbara enjoys gardening and travel.

Michelle Bassanesi and Gretchen

Michelle Bassanesi and Gretchen

Broomfield, CO – Gretchen Jahn

"Gretchen Jahn is a veteran racer, with 17 Air Race Classics under her belt. An instrument-rated Commercial pilot with 1,650 hours logged, Gretchen has single-engine land and sea certificates and a tailwheel endorsement. “I love to meet and help new racers,” Gretchen said. “There is always more to learn about the airplane, weather, aviation rules, team coordination and personal capabilities. It's fun to ‘collect’ airports, become more proficient and go fast!” 
Gretchen is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, focusing on manufacturing, aviation and management. She is the former CEO of Mooney Airplane Co., general manager of Alpha Aviation in New Zealand and COO of the German company Remos Aircraft. She also founded a software company. Today, Gretchen runs a management consulting firm working with midsize companies."

She and her husband, Karl, who is also a pilot, just bought an RV-7 so they could travel cross-country fast with lower fuel costs. Gretchen is a member of the Colorado chapter of the 99s, Colorado Pilots Association, TiE Rockies, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA), AeroInnovate, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Women in Aviation (WIA).
This dream catcher will be celebrating her 51st birthday the fun way! For more about Michelle, click HERE. She has her own page and this lady is one to watch. Happy Birthday Michelle!

Gene Nora Jessen and teammates,
Patty Mitchell and Brenda Carter

Gene Nora Jessen and teammates, Patty Mitchell 
and Brenda Carter

Gene Nora Jessen returns to compete for a ninth year in the Air Race Classic, she is no ordinary pilot. Gene Nora is a Commercial pilot with single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, instrument flight instructor, advanced ground instructor tailwheel and formation flying credentials and has an astonishing 4,430 hours logged. It’s no doubt this female pilot loves the wild blue yonder.

“It's an opportunity to stay sharp in the airplane,” Gene Nora said, “I enjoy the company of a group of truly inspiring women.”

Jessen has a fervent interest in aviation history, as evidenced in the publication of her two books, "The Powder Puff Derby of 1929" and "The Fabulous Flight of the Three Musketeers." She has the distinction of being one of the so-called Mercury 13. She also flew as a sales demo pilot for Beech Aircraft, then married and moved to Idaho to operate her own flight school.

She has been a member of the Ninety-Nines for more than 50 years and was the organization’s International president from 1988-1990; today she remains an active member of the Idaho chapter. Gene Nora and her husband, Bob, owned Boise Air Service until their retirement. They are both recipients of the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, a high honor and prestigious award to receive. In addition, she has been inducted into the Idaho Avia Hall of Fame.

JoAnn Speer and Kristy Gentry-Cox

JoAnn Speer and Kristy Gentry-Cox
Kenton, TN – JoAnn Speer and teammate, Kristy Gentry-Cox are ready to fly!

JoAnn Speer is an Instrument-Rated Commercial pilot with single-engine land, flight instructor, advanced and instrument ground instructor and tailwheel credentials and logged 862 hours in the air. “Since I first heard of the ARC, it has been a dream of mine to one day enter,” she said. “I feel that preparing for and entering the race will be an experience of a lifetime. I really want to encourage more women to experience the wonder of flight.”

JoAnn began flying at age forty, at the time she was the owner and operator of a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) called Jo-Aire before becoming the manager of Everett-Stewart Regional Airport in Tennessee.

“What an awesome experience for a country girl from northwest Tennessee! Who would have ever thought,” Speer said, “that I would someday be flying an airplane – let alone enter an all-women's cross country air race!”

She and her husband, Kerry, who is not a pilot, enjoy outdoor activities; flying, camping and riding four-wheelers, as well as spending time with their grandchildren. JoAnn is a member of the Memphis Chapter, the Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation (WIA)

Kristy Gentry-Cox is an Air Transport Pilot with single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, instrument multi-engine flight instructor, instrument ground instructor, tailwheel and aerobatics certifications, a jet type rating and 9,000 hours logged. “I am flying the ARC because to be honest, JoAnn asked! JoAnn and I are both airport managers in Tennessee, so we see each other once a year at the Tennessee Airports Conference in Nashville. During the 2012 conference, JoAnn asked if I would be interested racing with her. Now, here we are!”

Gentry-Cox owns and manages the Athens Air Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the McMinn County Airport in Athens, Tennesse. In her spare time, she flies B-737s for Delta Airlines out of Atlanta. For Kristy, aviation is all in the family. Her husband, Andy, who is also a pilot, is a helicopter mechanic and does a lot of general aviation maintenance. Her father works for her at the FBO, and her mother is a proctor at her testing center and helps with catering. Even her dog, Pancake comes to the airport, to work security – or wait for treats.

Heather McCoy and Marisia Makowski

Winnemucca, NV – Heather McCoy

Heather McCoy is an Instrument-Rated Private pilot with a Single-Engine Land Certificate and Tailwheel Endorsement. "The Air Race Classic has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time,” Heather said, “but I never had a friend to race with. Now that I have met a fellow pilot from joining the Ninety-Nines, I have the opportunity to race for the first time. I am nervous and excited at the same time.”

She is an academic adviser at Great Basin College, where she has worked for twelve years. Previously, she was the college’s director and a business instructor. Her best – and worst – job ever was the elected position of county commissioner.

The wide-open spaces of northern Nevada allow for many activities that Heather enjoys, such as running, dirt-biking, cross-country skiing and, flying in non congested airspace.

Heather’s husband, Randy, is also a pilot and is building a Pitts Model 12. She is looking forward to learning to fly aerobatics. Heather is a member of the Reno High Sierra chapter of the Ninety-Nines and an at-large member of Women in Aviation International (WIA). "

Marisia “Moe” Makowski

Reno, NV - Marisia “Moe” Makowski is a Private pilot with a single-engine land certificate with 380 hours logged. Moe has had many adventures in her life. She has been rock climbing on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. and in Mexico, spent two months climbing and camping out of a car in Australia with her boyfriend, hiked Mount Kilimanjaro to scuba diving with sharks in the Bahamas. Now, she can add the air race to the list!

Moe is flying the race in memory of her brother, an Air Force pilot whose RF-4 jet had an engine flameout during an airshow in Wales in 1986. He ditched in the ocean, killing himself and his navigator but sparing the lives of thousands of spectators.

She is a sales engineer, custom-designing safety equipment for manufacturing facilities. Previously, she worked as a manufacturing and project engineer. She is a member of the Reno High Sierra chapter of the Ninety-Nines and an at-large member of Women in Aviation International (WIA).

There you have it. 
It's time to push these little birds 
out of the nest and into the sky.  

Thanks so the Air Race Classic for providing the information on these fabulous flyers. We wish all the women the best luck in their race.  
Enter a Chance to Win 
a copy of Flight For Safety

Guess who is going to win the race. You have until Tuesday the 18th (the start of the race) to post your guess on this blog. This is what you have to do:

1. Click to follow Flight To Success. 
2. Go to the List of Racers and select your winner. 
3. Tell me who will win, and why, in a comment below.

Racers, you can Vote for Yourself!
Do you think you are going to win? 

Note: If there is more than one correct guess, I will have a drawing. Also... many of the racers have blogs (found on the List of Racers link), so you can follow your selections progress, too. And I am sure they will have updates on the ARC website

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. Karlene, this is an awesome Friday Flyer post. Each time you mention all the flyers for this race, the more I wish I could attend. Best of luck to all who are entering the drawing! I can't wait to hear of the winners both in the race and the drawing! Have an awesome weekend, everyone!!


    1. I wish you could attend too! I'm thinking we could fly but we would need to look into drag. And... that's not good when flying. Lol. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Well, I have no choice but to go with Michelle Bassanesi—she and I share the same birthday!

    Yup, we will BOTH turn 51 the day of the race!!


    I'll take a copy of Flight for Safety, TUVM!! :D

    1. Happy 51st birthday to you both!!! What a GREAT month. Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. Hello Miss Karlene,

    I haven't the foggest which one of these amazing ladies might win. I like Michelle Bassanesi's smile in the pix above of her flying, so I think I'll pick her. Have a fine weekend sweet lady.

    1. Thank you for the comment! I'm wondering if everyone knows there is a list of many others too. lol. But she is awesome and this will be a GREAT birthday gift for her. I love your pick!

  4. Karlene, I'm with Eric. The list is huge, but 51 is my mother's next number lol!

    I am going with Michelle Bassanesi! Michelle, I am going to be your tailwind!!!

    And... A copy of FLight for Safety for me too! Cheers!

    PS: This post is great! Oh... Don't forget you have a bidder here in Brazil for your painting! ;)

    Have a lovely weekend Karlene!

    1. Ha Ha... and I just turned 51, and Cecilie's mother is 51. It's a GREAT number. But don't get there too fast. I will give her a hug for you and tell her you're on her team. Thanks for the comment!!!

  5. thank you for the support ... we came in second!

    1. Michelle, That is awesome!!! Congratulations!!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing post with your readers. Good job with it!


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