Hartfield Pilot Making History

A private pilot from Hartfield is making history.

Ms. Leo Ford-Barber has logged more than 6,000 hours as an airplane pilot. She also teaches flying, and has been a pilot for 40 years.

Now, this summer, she was part of a three-woman team that competed in the 38th “Air Race Classic,” flying from San Francisco over the Rocky Mountains, through America’s heartland to Hershey, Pennsylvania, in four days.

The Air Race Classic was an eight-leg journey that was designed to promote women’s role in aviation, with roots going back to the “Women’s Air Derby,” first held in 1929.

That is especially notable because Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was one of the pilots at that air derby.

Ford-Barber said that she started flying because it was fun. Now she says, after 40 years, flying is more about transportation. However, she told reporters that the Air Race Classic has awakened her competitive spirit, something that she said seems to be showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down anytime soon.