Thank you for being interested in our Air Race Classic team! You can learn more about our flying club, Purdue Pilots Inc., and our ARC team on this website, and follow our race blog.

If you would like to help us reach our fundraising goals and set us up for success, you can make a tax deductible donation. If you are a company thinking about sponsoring us, please review our sponsorship packages to get your logo on our airplane!


Thank you to everyone who helped our 2017 Air Race Classic team. We appreciate your contribution, which made our participation in the entry possible. It takes a village!


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Purdue Pilots, Inc.

Purdue Pilots, Inc., is a student-led flying club based at Purdue University Airport (KLAF), and a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in the state of Indiana. Our mission is two-fold: to provide Purdue students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their spouses with affordable flight training and hour building, and to create a community of aviation enthusiasts on campus. To find out more about PPI, check out our website!

This will be our second race. We decided to participate in Air Race Classic last year to take on a new challenge and provide new opportunities to our members. Our team finished 22nd out of 52 teams—a great success for our first race. As a team and a flying club, we took advantage of this opportunity to learn, improve, and prepare for this year’s race. Through our first race, we inspired more aerospace engineers, as well as more women, to join our flying club and begin their flight training. The visibility of the race through our social media and presentations resulted in women running for and being elected in five of our eleven officer positions, which also led to an increase in the number of women becoming interested in aviation and reaching out. Of our currently registered flying club members, 27% are female—five times more than the national average of female pilots. One third of our members are aerospace engineers, both undergraduate and graduate, and a third of those are female (twice as high as the ratio of women among aerospace engineers at Purdue). Our goal is currently to support our student pilots and help them get their licenses, by emphasizing the benefits of aviation, and providing everyone with unique experiences and opportunities to grow as pilots and leaders in the aviation industry.

We also hope that our outreach and service work after the race will help encourage young girls to go in aviation and Purdue students to get their pilot’s license and advanced ratings, so that we can continue enhancing the General Aviation community.

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Meet the Team

Pilot: Nicoletta Fala

Nicoletta Fala came to Purdue University as a Fulbright Scholar to pursue undergraduate studies in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Having spent the first eighteen years of her life in Cyprus, where it is ridiculously warm, the Indiana weather was quite a surprise. During her time as an undergrad, she joined Purdue Pilots, Inc. and got her private pilot license and her instrument rating. After completing her BS and MS degrees at Purdue, she decided to stay on to do research on General Aviation safety, a topic that is near to her heart, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate. Nicoletta is passionate about the advancement of the General Aviation community and is currently the President of Purdue Pilots Inc.

This will be Nicoletta’s second Air Race Classic, and she is excited to share her experience with Cathy and Morgan. Currently a commercial pilot, she is working on becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) to help introduce more people to aviation. Nicoletta’s post-graduation goal is to stay in academia and become a faculty member, in order to directly mentor and hopefully positively impact as many young students as possible. 

If possible, Nicoletta would choose to spend all of her free time flying, but in a more down-to-earth approach, she also thoroughly enjoys reading and cooking.

You can follow Nicoletta’s flying adventures on instagram @nifaflies.

Co-pilot: Cathy Troyer

Cathy Troyer is currently a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and a senior in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, studying Professional Flight Technology. She started taking flying lessons during high school. She was pursuing flying as only a hobby, but she started thinking about a career in aviation. By the time that she knew that she wanted to be a pilot the rest of her life, she went off to college at the University of Kentucky to study Biology like her father did. During that one semester at Kentucky, she knew that she had to change her major. Cathy ultimately transferred to Purdue University in the spring of 2015, studying professional flight technology.

Cathy obtained all of her ratings at Purdue University and started instructing in April of 2017. She is now an instructor at Purdue University and Purdue Aviation LLC. She became involved with Purdue Pilots Inc. by flight instructing several of the members of the club. This will be Cathy’s first Air Race Classic, and she is very excited to take on the adventure with Nicoletta and Morgan.

Cathy’s career goals are still unknown. Whether she will pursue becoming a corporate or airline pilot, she just wants to fly for the rest of her career. She is currently working on her MS in aviation management at Purdue University. She also spends her summer breaks flight instructing and acting as second in command of a Phenom 300 at Don Davis Aviation in Henderson, Kentucky.

Even though Cathy spends most of her days flight instructing, she absolutely loves the outdoors. She really enjoys biking, hiking, and running in her free time.

You can follow Cathy’s endeavors on instagram @troyota_.

Teammate: Morgan Pietruch

The youngest among the Purdue Pilots, Inc. racers, Morgan Pietruch is a Sophomore in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue, and a student pilot. 

You can follow Morgan’s flying adventures on instagram @morganpietruch.

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