Maverick Female Aviators Compete in 2500-mile Women’s Air Race; Mankato Among Stops

ARC team photo of the Purple Tails from Minnesota State Mankato.

Four women pilots with the Aviation Program will represent Minnesota State Mankato in the 46th annual Air Race Classic. Members of the University’s Purple Tails piloting a single-engine Piper Archer include Samantha Naples, pilot; Grace Ackerman, co-pilot, and Madi Luebke and Ella Jones, teammates. Considered the epicenter of women’s air racing, the classic is slated for June 20-23 with 44 teams flying 10 legs from Grand Forks, N.D. to Homestead, Fla. The first checkpoint of the race will be Mankato. 

Track the progress of the Purple Tails as Team 15 in the 2023 race.

About 18 percent of aviation majors at Minnesota State Mankato are women.

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