Kelly Burris, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., is set to participate in the Air Race Classic, an all-female aviation race that dates back to 1929 and the era of famed woman pilot Amelia Earhart.
The race route covers approximately 2,400 miles and will be held from June 23-June 26, 2009. Ms. Burris, who competed in the 2008 Air Race Classic, will fly from her Oakland County base today to the race starting point in Denver, Colorado. The race will finish in Atlantic, Iowa, where the top ten winners will split a $15,000 prize.
Ms. Burris will be piloting her 1962 Beechcraft Debonair airplane, which is affectionately known as “The Deb.” 34 teams are registered to participate in the Air Race Classic and Ms. Burris is on Team #7 with co-pilot, Erin Recke of Bellingham, Washington.
Her participation in the Air Race Classic combines Ms. Burris’ love of flying and competition with the ability to raise money for Air Charity Network, a charity that matches people in need with free flights and other travel resources. She has been a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and Angel Flight Central, members of the Air Charity Network, since 2004.
“Since a very young age, I have had a passion for aviation and flying, and I have always been a serious competitor. I am thrilled to again be participating in such a historic event, experiencing the wonderful camaraderie that exists among women aviators and honing both my flying skills and the performance of my airplane,” offers Ms. Burris. “Adding to my enthusiasm is the unique fundraising opportunity the race allows me to pursue for Air Charity Network. It’s a terrific combination.”
Ms. Burris, who raised approximately $12,000 in the 2008 Air Race Classic for Air Charity Network, aims to raise more than $25,000 this year and has enlisted the assistance of the Angel Flight Central member organization throughout the race route to promote the charity to communities along the route stops. Every dollar raised by Ms. Burris will be donated directly to Angel Flight Central; no donated monies will be used to offset the expenses Ms. Burris incurs to compete in the race.
A pilot since 1984, Ms. Burris learned to fly at Western Michigan University while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Burris worked for more than 11 years as an engineer in the aviation industry. As a practicing attorney, she has handled hundreds of patent issues involving aviation and often uses her plane for business purposes.
About Air Charity Network
Air Charity Network (http://www.aircharitynetwork.org/) is a national network of several independent member organizations arranging free flights of hope and healing by transporting children and adults in need.
About Women’s Air Racing
Women’s air racing all started in 1929 with the First Women’s Air Derby. Twenty pilots raced from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH, site of the National Air Races. Racing continued through the ‘30’s and was renewed again after WWII when the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR), better known as the Powder Puff Derby, came into being. The AWTAR held its 30th, final and commemorative flight in 1977. When the AWTAR was discontinued, the Air Race Classic, Ltd., (ARC) stepped in to continue the tradition of transcontinental speed competition for women pilots and staged its premier race. The Air Race Classic was reincorporated in 2002 into the Air Race Classic, Inc. This information courtesy of http://www.airraceclassic.org/)