Madison Haney

Florence native Madison Haney will race in the 90th anniversary of the Women's Air Race Classic. [COURTESY PHOTO]

After World War II, the racing was renewed under a new name: the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, also known as the Powder Puff Derby. The AWTAR was held annually for 30 years, from 1947 to 1977, until it was discontinued and the Air Race Classic, Ltd. filled its place.

In 2002, that race was reincorporated into the Air Race Classic Inc. and still runs today.

To view a map of the 2019 ARC route, and learn about each stop, go to airraceclassic.org.

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FLORENCE — At 8 a.m. today, a Shoals native took off for the skies on her way to LaGrange, Georgia, the first stop in a 2,538-mile friendly competition that marks the 90th anniversary of women’s air racing.

Madison Haney, a 2016 graduate of Florence High School and a rising senior at Auburn University, has teamed up with retired Air Force Col. Eileen Hamby, of Huntsville, to form team 32 — the Rocket City Flyers — in the Air Race Classic (ARC).

The Flyers, along with about 50 other teams, will have four days to fly from the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson, Tennessee, through nine other stops before finishing at the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport in Welland, Ontario, Canada.

Haney and Hamby are flying a 1973 Cessna Skylane 182P.

According to the ARC, each team will work to beat their plane’s unique handicap by the greatest margin. This means teams will not necessarily be racing each other in a traditional sense, but will be trying to achieve the largest triumph over their own best times.

Not only is Haney competing against teams from across the United States, but she is also racing against four fellow women pilots on Auburn University’s two teams — the War Eagle Women Blue and War Eagle Women Orange.

Haney’s aviation experience is extensive. At Auburn University, she serves as president of The Aviatrixes Collegiate Wing of the Ninety-Nines, president of Eta Mu Sigma National Aviation Honor Society, fundraising chair for the Women in Aviation Gone with the Wind chapter, and a member of the War Eagle Flying Team.

Haney also holds a private pilot license with an instrument rating and a high performance endorsement. She is now working on earning her commercial certification.

Recently, Haney signed a qualifying job contract with Delta Air Lines through the Delta Air Lines Propel – Collegiate Pilot Career Path program.

“(Madison) has always had a passion for flight,” said her mother, Renee Haney. “Being a pilot has been her dream since she was 5 years old.”

The ARC can be followed at airraceclassic2019.maprogress.com.

—kendyl.hollingsworth@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757

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