Female pilots racing into Lee’s Summit for 43rd annual Air Race Classic

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A nearly century long tradition is about to take flight in Lee's Summit.

Since 1929, female pilots have been participating in cross-country air races. One of the most popular and long-standing events is taking off from the Lee's Summit Memorial Airport.

A total of 49 planes, each with a pilot and co-pilot, will land in Lee's Summit, to take part in this leg of the 43rd annual Air Race Classic. The event started Monday in Tennessee.

Over a four-day period, pilots will race in 10 locations, on their way to Ontario, Canada.

At each stop, teams fly a timing line at full throttle, taking off 30 seconds apart.

Each segment of the cross-country trip gets added to their total score, with the fastest women winning the grand prize.

FOX4 caught up with a duo in from New Mexico who say they're loving this leg of the journey.

"I just love it. It's so green. Where I live it can be so brown and with so many mountains, it can be really turbulent. Out here, it's just so beautiful. It talks to the soul," said pilot Susan Larson.

This is the first time Lee's Summit has hosted part of the women's Air Race Classic. After this part of the race is done, teams will head to Minnesota, before finishing up in Canada Friday, at the end of a more than 2,500 mile trip.

The public is welcome to watch the pilots take off from the Lee's Summit Memorial Airport. Wheels go up starting at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, but weather could alter their schedule.

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