45th annual race kicks off June 21 in Lakeland, Florida, covering 2,500+ miles over four days of airspace challenges to the terminus of Terra Haute, Indiana
Fort Myers, Fla.—June 8, 2022—Birds of Paragon, a three-person female flight team from the award-winning Paragon Flight Training, will take to the skies to compete in the 45th annual Air Race Classic (ARC) June 21–24. ARC is an all-female cross-country air race that tests pilots’ skills over four days through changing terrain, weather, winds and airspace. Birds of Paragon will vie for the top spot against almost 50 teams as they traverse a total 2,549 miles from Lakeland, Florida, to Terra Haute, Indiana.
Making the journey as part of the Birds of Paragon rookie team are Florida-based certified flight instructors from Paragon Flight Training—Katie Truedson (pilot) of Babcock Ranch, and Connie Hite (flight instruments navigator) of Cape Coral—as well as 19-year-old co-pilot and avionics lead Cassie Thompson-Pride of Fort Myers, who is a member of Paragon Flight’s student ambassador team.
“Birds of Paragon is excited to continue the legacy of female air racing through ARC,” Paragon Certified Flight Instructor Connie Hite said. “This is truly a team effort, and we are especially grateful to Paragon Flight for both their financial and moral support of this team—and in their promotion of women in aviation and aerospace.”
Paragon Flight Training is sponsoring the team, supplying them with one of its brand-new Piper P100 (registration N305UM) aircraft for the race, overnight lodging expenses, uniforms and other flight race essentials.
“We are very proud of this exceptional team of women pilots,” Paragon Flight Training President and Owner Chris Schoensee said. “These ladies exemplify the spirit of Paragon Flight and our collective passion for flying and achieving – we are thrilled to be supporting them. I’ve seen the time and dedication they’ve put into preparing for this event and I certainly would not want to be competing against them; they are going to be amazing.”
The Air Race Classic follows a different route every year. This year’s defined course will present a variety of challenges and learning opportunities for flight teams—yet be within the endurance range of the slowest airplane. There are multiple predefined airports that the team must fly to, but landing at each airport is optional depending on what the team decides. Each team must be on the ground prior to sunset at a designated race stop, and those teams determine how many days they want to take to finish the course – factoring in strategy, weather, and airplane endurance.
During the race, individuals will be able to follow the progress of their favorite racers from the ARC website. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 – with the highest-scoring team receiving a total $6,000 cash, plus medallions and awards for each team member. For more information, visit the ARC 2022 race page.
About Paragon Flight Training
Paragon Flight is an award-winning flight academy headquartered at Page Field in Fort Myers, Florida. With FAA 141 and SEVIS accreditations, a fleet of 30 aircraft, and advanced simulator technology, the company trains commercial, professional, and recreational pilots as well as offering military pilot training for domestic and foreign governments. The company is in the process of a 28,000-combined-square-foot expansion slated for completion in 2022. Learn more at ParagonFlight.com.