The Liberty Gazette
January 17, 2012Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: I first met Louise “Squeege” Scudieri back in 2009 in Denver, as we prepared to race against each other across the country in the annual four-day long Air Race Classic.
Louise is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and CEO/owner of Smooth Inductions, P.C. An independent anesthesia provider, Louise puts people to sleep, wakes them up nice, and puts in epidurals and other blocks appropriate for various procedures.
But just last week Louise admitted to “fighting back tears of joy” when her mechanic left a voice message that the crated overhauled engine had arrived at the hangar. She had ordered a shiny new engine, upping her horsepower from 235 to 275. In the Sport Air Racing League that puts her in a new class, and the long time friendly rivalry between Louise and AnnElise Bennett is on hold now, until AnnElise can convince her aircraft mechanic husband Bobby to put some more ponies under “X-Ray’s” cowling (that’s what she named her plane). Louise wants very much for that to happen, too. She says of AnnElise, “She makes me fly a tighter race. I want her in my class.”
Both women own and fly Cessna 182s. Both are competitive, and I just learned that Bobby Bennett, the world’s best aircraft mechanic, is heading over to Louise’s hangar to take a peek.
The race classes in the League are mainly determined by horsepower and cubic inch displacement. With the old engine Louise’s fastest time was in 2010 at a race in Sulphur Springs, where she clocked 157.31 mph. The record for these factory-built aircraft (in Class 3 with fixed gear) is held by Red Hamilton and Marilyn Boese. They flew their Cessna 180 in a race in Sherman, Texas and turned in a speed of 187.24 mph. AnnElise’s fastest time in the three years she’s been racing the C182 was in 2010 in Courtland, Alabama, where she turned in a speed of 164.45 mph. Funny thing about how the airplanes are classed, is that in the Factory 3 Class the Cessna 182 competes against a Cirrus SR22, which is a much newer airplane with a sleeker, cleaner design, and whips through the air pretty fast.
But moving up with increased horsepower, Louise will now find herself in competition with another fine chick pilot, Nancy Benscoter, who raced her first League race last October in Arizona, and turned in a speed of 164.80 mph. I figure Louise’s new engine has just got to be a whole garden full of carrots dangling in front of AnnElise. Still, the self-employed medical transcriptionist/domestic engineer of two hangars, two rent houses, 80 acres and 11 dogs who loves to turn people on to general aviation and giving rides – from a starry-eyed six year old girl with huge aviation dreams to an adventurous 80 year old lady for her birthday – wonders, is Louise actually going to race, push her new engine to its limits? I can’t wait to find out. The race season begins March 31 in Sherman, Texas. While we’re waiting for that, come back to this page next week for a peek into the life of AnnElise Bennett, race aviatrix extraordinaire. Until then, blue skies.