SIU-Carbondale's nationally recognized aviation program achieved another milestone this weekend.
For the first time in program history, an SIU team won the All Women's Cross Country 2015 Air Race Classic.
Senior Jessica Reed and assistant instructor Stephanie Armstrong won both the collegiate and overall title in the 39th annual event.
After the Flying Salukis won the national collegiate championship in May, Armstrong told us it's wonderful that females have a chance to succeed in a male-dominated industry.
The Air Race Classic covered nearly 2,200 nautical miles with nine legs. Scores are based on a plane's projected versus actual timed performance. The event continues a tradition started with the 1929 Women's Air Derby, where famed aviator Amelia Earhart and 19 other female pilots flew from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio.
Reed flew about 85 percent of the event; Armstrong handled navigation and communications.
Fifty-four teams competed for the overall title, including 17 collegiate teams.
A second SIU team made up of Sarah Demkovich, a graduate assistant from Algonquin, and Emily Frasca, a May 2015 graduate in aviation management from Champaign, was 24th overall and seventh in the collegiate division.