…and we did better than we ever expected! We finished 22nd overall, which puts is the first half of the racers!! This being our first race and all, we were originally planning on going as a non-competitive team so we could learn how to race before doing it for real. Then we decided to just go for it, because the worst than can happen is finishing last. We decided to go competitive but focus on learning and being safe. We did both. And ended up doing well! It was a great challenge and having it conquered makes us feel proud.
On our best race leg, we finished 10th. What makes us even more proud is that we were racing a steam-gauge aircraft without an autopilot, hand-flying the airplane all the way across the country, and still managed to keep up with autopilot equipped teams that were supposed to be a couple miles per hour faster than us. We made safe decisions, stayed on the ground when we thought we would be better off on the ground, and finished the race with hours to spare.
We did get two penalties during the race: at Spencer, IA, our arrival and departure flybys were deemed too low. Twenty other teams ended up getting the same penalty. However, the judges said we had a really clean flight and we should be proud of it, and not getting those penalties would still get us the 22nd spot.
If you would like to know more details about the results, you can find all the numbers on all the teams at http://reports.airraceclassic.org.
I also won the rookie racer award, an award for first time racers, which aims to give people an incentive to get into racing. Overall, we are very happy with how we did, and are SO glad we decided to compete!