Historic air race begins today in Colorado | VailDaily.com

Historic air race begins today in Colorado

Kevin Simpson
The Denver Post
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostThirty-seven-year-old Longmont resident Marijke Unger, who is participating in her first Air Race Classic this week, says the cross-country competition proved that women "could compete on the same playing field as men."

Marijke Unger’s single-engine two-seater has a lightweight fabric shell stretched taut around a metal frame and a design suited for aerobatics – and, she muses, time travel.

Since she bought the plane five years ago, it has turned her world upside down and taken her to out-of-the-way airfields where kindly old-timers restore classic planes and spin ancient yarns. Today, it catapults her back to 1929.

When Unger’s aircraft and 31 others take off this morning from Centennial Airport in Englewood, they’ll mark the 80th anniversary of an epic cross-country race that helped open the field for women and etch names such as Amelia Earhart and Louise Thaden in aviation history.

“Those were my heroes in a lot of ways,” said Unger, a Longmont resident who along with co-pilot Kara Pruitt of Broomfield will fly the four-day Air Race Classic. “This race proved they could compete on the same playing field as men. It was inspiring to women.”

To read more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_12668176

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