UND Fields Its First Women-only Air Race Classic Team

UND Aviation student Amy Warbalow, left, and UND flight instructor Katrina Kugler
UND Aviation student Amy Warbalow, left, and UND flight instructor Katrina Kugler

Student Amy Warbalow, instructor Katrina Kugler take off June 12 for four day transcontinental race

by Juan Miguel Pedraza, Division of University and Public Affairs writer/editor

University of North Dakota Aviation student Amy Warbalow and her teammate Katrina Kugler, a UND flight instructor, leave Wednesday to compete in the internationally renowned Air Race Classic.

This is the first time that UND has fielded a team for this women-only event pioneered by, among others, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart. The Department of Aviation is part of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (UND Aerospace).

The two women fly out of Grand Forks June 12 in a UND Cessna 172 for the 2,400 mile June 18-21 race, which starts in Pasco, Wash., and ends at Fayetteville, Ark.

Kugler, a pilot and aviation educator, is from Yuma, Ariz.; Warbalow, who also is majoring in aviation education and just earned her instructor certificate, is from Minocqua, Wisc. The have been tracking their preparations for the race on their blog.

To prepare for the race, Kugler and Warbalow met regularly over the last year with UND Director of Aviation Safety Dana Siewert and with aviation weather expert Fred Remer, also a faculty member in UND Aerospace. They met with UND Director of Extension Programs and aircraft fleet manager Don Dubuque to discuss the special requirements for mountain flying.

About the Air Race Classic 
Women’s air racing all started in 1929 with the First Women’s Air Derby; 20 pilots, including farmed aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, raced from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio, site of the National Air Races, according to the detailed Air Race Classic history of the race posted on its website.

The early air races were the “on to” type, with noon and night control stops, and the contestants more or less stayed together. In that manner, weather and flying conditions were practically the same for each entrant and the race officials could release standings to the media after each day of racing.

The current race routes are about 2,400 statute miles in length. Contestants are usually given four days, flying by visual flight rules to reach the finish. The race is run only during daylight hours.


Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor
National Media Relations Coordinator
UND Division of University and Public Affairs
Office 701.777.6571 | Cell 701.740.1321