OU Aviation to Compete in 37th Annual Okie Derby


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Students from OU’s nationally recognized aviation program will participate in a gathering of flying sportsmanship at the 37th Annual Okie Derby on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Sundance Airport in Yukon, Okla.

The Okie Derby Proficiency Air Rally, sponsored by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, will test the flight-planning proficiency and navigation prowess of the participants as they fly a near 225-statute-mile course to demonstrate their ability to fly a cross-country route in a manner that most closely equals their pre-flight speed and fuel estimates.

Two teams of OU students will participate in the derby. Team 1 will partner Keenyn Duncan (hometown: Oklahoma City, OK) an OU Certified Flight Instructor who currently serves in the USAF Reserve and is a member of the OU AFROTC program and Keisha Holback (hometown: Tomball, TX), an OU Aviation Professional Pilot major for the OU Aviation program who is also a member of the OU AFROTC program.

Team 2 will pair Susan Amstutz (hometown: Tulsa, OK) an OU Certified Flight Instructor, Professional Pilot junior and member of the OU Flying Sooners National Intercollegiate Flight Team (NIFA), and Zach Podrecca (hometown: Plymouth, MA) , an OU Professional Pilot major and member of the OU Flying Sooners National Intercollegiate Flight Team (NIFA).

Teams from OU have captured the derby’s overall Best Collegiate Team trophy for six consecutive years. This year’s OU contingent will use their experience at the Derby to prepare for their upcoming annual NIFA regionals, which will take place in October at the St. Louis Downtown Airport against seven other university flight teams.

The Ninety-Nines, Inc., is an international organization of women pilots established in 1929 by 99 women pilots. Members of the Ninety-Nines are represented in all areas of aviation and promote the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring their unique history and sharing their passion for flight. Since 1990, the Okie Derby has generated more than $65,000 for the Ninety-Nines’ “Wings of the Future Scholarship” program, which helps women with an interest in aviation realize their dreams of flying.

The Department of Aviation, under OU Outreach and the College of Continuing Education, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in four aviation concentrations, including Professional Pilot, Air Traffic Management—for future FAA air traffic controllers—and Aviation Management with or without flying options. OU students can also take the non-flying Introduction to Aviation course as an elective, or they can take courses to obtain their FAA private pilot’s license.

For more information about OU Aviation, visit aviation.ou.edu or call (405) 325-7231. For more about the 37th Annual Okie Derby, visit okiederby.com. To learn more about the Ninety-Nines, visit ninety-nines.org.

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Ashley Brand

Ashley Brand worked as a writer and editor for the college.