Two Wolverines take off on a full-throttle adventure in the 43rd Annual Air Race Classic


Utah Valley University aviation graduates and certified flight instructors Lindsay Jarman and Jessica Washburn are participating in the 43rd annual Air Race Classic taking place June 18-21.

At 8 a.m. this morning, the flag dropped for the 90th time,  but this is a first for the UVU team and the university. “Neither one of us have done this, so this will be exciting,” Washburn said.  But the Wolverine team is not flying solo. “There are a lot of older women that have done this for years. We have a program, through the race, where they set you up with an experienced racer and team, and they can help you through the process,” Washburn said.

Jarman and Washburn are among 109 women pilots competing in small airplanes. The race is the oldest of its kind and travels more than 2,500 miles throughout the Midwest and ends in Welland, Ontario, Canada, near Niagara Falls.

The UVU team is flying a 2019 plane awarded to them by the Textron Aviation. The Cessna Skyhawk 172R also came through a competition. Only four aviation schools in the nation were allowed the opportunity to receive use of the plane.

“My boss came to me to ask if I would put in an application," Jarman said. "I did this video. I interviewed a bunch of students and flight instructors. I said what we’d use it for, how it would be taken care of, and that it would be insured.”

Jarman also created a marketing plan, how the aircraft would be utilized day-to-day, and included the possibilities it would bring for entering the race.

“Because UVU’s aviation is so compacted with students, we couldn’t take a plane for three weeks from the students. Luckily, this plane opened up a spot for us to actually run the race,” Jarman said.  UVU will have the Textron aircraft for a total of nine months.

The race includes a wide variety of aircraft and competitors. They range from 17 college teams to a veteran competitor in her 90's. Each plane carries two to three women and participants who hail from the United States, Canada, Britain, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Norway, and South Korea. There is one military team competing.

They fly by visual flight rules, which means competitors have to keep their distance and stay out of the clouds.

“It adds a layer of complexity to it. You have to follow certain rules, and if there’s a cloud along your route you have to deviate around it, you can’t just plow straight through weather. You have to plan around weather instead of flyingthrough it, which adds a layer of complexity to the flight,” Washburn said.

Washburn also said aircraft specifications even the playing field. “It can’t have a turbocharger on it. It has to be naturally aspirated. It can’t be a high-performance aircraft. They limit how much horsepower each engine can produce."

There’s also a pre-flight check. “They have you do what they call a handicap, where they specify the weather, and altitude in which you’re supposed to be flying," Washburn said. "They stick a GPS tracker and have you fly a square, and then they take the data from that to figure out what everybody’s handicap is so that everybody is on an equal playing field.”

Both UVU flight instructors said they entered the profession because uncles and grandfathers were pilots and were encouraged to follow their dreams. They found a passion for both flying and teaching at UVU. They now have more than combined 1,200 flight hours. They are excited because this race will give them more experience and unforgettable memories.

How long it will take each team to finish the race depends on the weather, the pilot's strategy, and the speed of the airplane. The fastest planes may complete the course in two days, while the slowest aircraft may take all four days. But because the ARC is a handicap race, teams are racing against their own best time, not against one another. This allows slower planes to compete against faster aircraft on an equal basis.

Official standings aren't determined until after the last team crosses the finish
line. Follow Team UVU’s progress online at and

Neither one of us have done this. It'll be exciting.