Forty teams took off on a 2,538-mile airplane race from Tennessee to Canada in June, but before the pilots started the 43rd Annual Air Race Classic from the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport, they were greeted by Explorers with Aviation Post 214 of Jackson, Tenn.

The Explorers transported pilots and their gear from planes to the airport terminal. The teams were at the airport for a few days before the start of the race for meetings and briefings, and the Explorers were on hand to help where needed.

“This event would be like Oshkosh but on a much smaller scale which is great, plus seeing all the small planes up and close was cool as well,” says Explorer Haden Johnson.

The race celebrates women’s air racing — all 105 competitors were women. After leaving the Tennessee regional airport, they headed to stops in Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada before reaching Welland, Ontario. It took four days to cover the distance.

Some racers were newcomers to the competition; others were veterans — all had stories about their passion for flying.

“I really enjoyed interacting with the pilots,” says Explorer Kaya Phillips. “They were all different people who shared a love for aviation and being a pilot.”

In addition to helping out the pilots and learning a little bit about them, the Explorers assisted the Memphis chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of women pilots, with serving meals and hosting an educational event for youth at the airport.

Serving others can turn into learning moments for your Scouts, especially when it’s an event related to a career field your Scout is interested in.

Aviation Exploring is open to young men and women, from the sixth grade to 20 years old, who are interested in the aviation career field. To learn more about Exploring and other career fields that Scouts get to delve into, click here and here.

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