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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Luncheon to Honor Women's Students Flying in Air Race Classic

Thursday, April 21 luncheon will be followed by Saturday, April 23 Aviation banquet.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-19-2016

Photo at right is published courtesy of Graceful Portraits Photography.

Mankato, Minn. – Four Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s aviation students will team up to join 60 teams – all female – in competing at the 40th Annual Air Race Classic, a four-day, 2,500-mile race from Prescott, Ariz., to Daytona Beach, Fla., from June 21-24.

It’s the first time that a women’s team from Minnesota State Mankato has entered the race, dubbed as the only women’s air race in the United States. According to the Air Race Classic’s website, more than 100 women’s pilots, ranging in age from 17 to 90 years old, compete in the event annually.

The Minnesota State Mankato students have named their team “The Wright Women.” The team includes seniors Amy Dahlheimer (21) of Howard Lake, Minn. (kneeling at right in photo), and Jessica Adams (21) of Buffalo Center, Iowa (kneeling at left in photo), both of whom will fly in the race (in a Piper Warrior 28-161), and juniors Allie Rachko (21) of Andover, Minn. (standing at left in photo), and Lauren Hensley (19) of Kasson, Minn. (standing at right in photo), who will serve as the ground team.

Compass Airlines to Present $4,000 Sponsor Check at Thursday, April 21 Luncheon

Compass Airlines will present the four Minnesota State Mankato women with a $4,000 sponsorship check to go toward Air Race Classic race expenses at a Thursday, April 21 luncheon at the Mankato Regional Airport.

The event is not open to the public, but media are welcome to attend. A brief presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m., with lunch following. All four women will attend the luncheon along with Compass Airlines personnel, Minnesota State Mankato College of Education Dean Jean Haar, Department of Aviation faculty members and students, as well as administrators and representatives from North Star Aviation.

For more information about the luncheon, please contact Lane Dulon, first officer/pilot recruiter for Compass Airlines, by phone at 952-457-5834.

According to Dec. 31, 2013 Federal Aviation Administration statistics, women made up only 6.6 percent of all pilots. Air Race Classic, Inc., according to an April 9, 2016 Air Race Classic press release, is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with a mission of encouraging and educating current and future women pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women’s roles in aviation, and preserving and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation.

The Minnesota State Mankato students participating in this year’s Air Race Classic hope to make participation in the Air Race Classic an annual event for Minnesota State Mankato women’s aviation students. Rachko and Hensley plan to fly in the 2017 race, recruiting two new team members to serve on the ground team.

2016 Annual Aviation Banquet Set for Saturday, April 23

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Aviation along with North Star Aviation will host the University’s 2016 Annual Aviation Banquet on Saturday, April 23 on campus in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Boeing Flight Test Pilot Christine Walsh is the keynote speaker.

Cost for tickets is $10, and the banquet is open to the public. A non-alcoholic social will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. RSVPs are requested by April 20 by calling 507-389-6116 or by emails to

The Department of Aviation is part of the College of Education at Minnesota State Mankato.

The University’s bachelor of science degree program in aviation (professional flight), which prepares students to become professional pilots, is accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International.

For additional information about the Department of Aviation at Minnesota State Mankato, please contact Tom Peterson, assistant professor and coordinator of Minnesota State Mankato’s Aviation Program, by phone at 507-389-6116 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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