Samantha Horne of Avon, Livingston County, and co-pilot Frances Englund of Fairport are one of 54 teams of female pilots who will fly across the country in the 42nd annual Air Race Classic (ARC) from June 19 to June 22, making at stop at the Penn Yan Airport. The event traces its roots to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby in which Amelia Earhart and 19 other daring female pilots raced from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. This contest marked the beginning of women’s air racing in the U.S. and was known at one time as the “Powder Puff Derby.”
“I am so excited to be able to fly a cross-country race,” Horne said.
The race will be a first for both her and Englund. Beginning in Sweetwater, Texas, the racers will touch down at eight small airports — including Penn Yan Airport — before ending in Fryeburg, Maine.
“I know that I’ll learn a lot throughout this,” Horne said, “about the airplane, the weather, flying in general, and about myself.”
Both women are members of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Ninety-Nines (99s), an international organization of licensed women pilots and women student pilots.
In 2014 Horne, while still in high school, got her private pilot’s certificate. Three years later she received her instrument rating allowing her to fly in all types of weather conditions.