AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn University’s all-female team will travel across the county to compete in the national Air Race Classic aviation competition next week.

Kendall Higdon and Ashley Tucker will take off from Frederick, Maryland, on June 20 in a Cessna Skyhawk and will have three days to make it to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/2sfiErz) reported. As part of the team called War Eagle Women, Higdon and Tucker will travel more than 2,600 miles as they ran against 54 other teams from across the nation.

“Auburn itself is so wrapped in tradition, and I think it would be great to establish this legacy for the aviation program,” Tucker said. “This school had been around since the ’40s, so to leave our own mark, it’s a huge honor.”

Higdon is an Auburn University senior, majoring in professional flight management. Tucker is a December 2016 graduate and now works as a certified flight instructor at the Auburn University Aviation Center Professional Flight school.

The women will have eight check points along the way as they travel across 14 states. Each team, allowed to fly only in daylight hours and favorable weather conditions, will race against a time set for them based on their plane and other flight specifications.

This is the first year of Auburn’s flight program that has had women who are eligible to compete in the all-female Air Race Classic, said Jennifer Herrit, the aviation center’s communication and marketing coordinator.

Tucker was selected to pilot the Cessna for the competition because of her experience with the plane, which is on loan to the university from Textron Aviation for the Top Hawk collegiate program. Tucker is on the Top Hawk team and was previously selected to fly the plane to Auburn when they picked it up from Kansas.

Bill Hutto, Auburn’s airport and aviation center director, said he is excited for the opportunity for the university and for Higdon and Tucker.

“We’ve got an excellent team in Ashley and Kendall,” Hutto said. “Hopefully they’ll have some fun along the way and raise some recognition for Auburn, but more importantly to go out and have a good time and represent our community and university.”

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