Tweto ready to co-pilot airplane in prestigious Air Race Classic

June 19, 2017

Ariel Tweto

Ariel Tweto

Unalakleet’s Ariel Tweto grew up around airplanes so it figures she’s a pilot.

But air racing?

The 29-year-old is about to embark on a new flight plan in life when she participates for the first time in the prestigious Air Race Classic, the oldest airplane race of its kind in the United States.

The four-day cross-country race is for female pilots only and begins Tuesday in Frederick, Maryland, where 52 teams will depart on a 2,648-mile journey to the finish in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Many things drew Tweto to the Air Race Classic.

“The adventure and wanting to get out of my comfort zone and try something new and challenging was what drew me to it,” she told me. “Also, I love the fact that it’s promoting aviation and it’s all tough, adventurous, wild, determined and somewhat crazy ladies.”

Tweto, of East High fame, is currently working as an actress, writer and producer in Los Angeles, California, where she has made several TV appearances since 2011.

She’s best known for her family’s reality series ‘Flying Wild Alaska’ on the Discovery Channel that was based out of her hometown and centered on her family’s flying business.

It was on those episodes that we watched Tweto learn to become a pilot.

Now she’s going to co-pilot a plane in a race with roots to aviation icon Amelia Earhart, who participated in the 1929 when it was called the Women’s Air Derby.

Teams will face unfamiliar terrain and challenging weather as they put their aeronautical ability to the test. At each stop along the way teams will execute a high-speed flyby across a timing line as they race against the clock.

Each race plane carries a team of two or three women. Tweto will co-pilot a Mooney aircraft with veteran pilot Mary Wunder of Pennsylvania.

“We are team Popping Bubbles,” Tweto said. “Hopefully it’ll bring some more attention to my nonprofit and to the suicide epidemic that is happening in the north.”

Popping Bubbles supports communities from within to create programs and networks that foster the unique needs and wants of individuals. They run motivational speaking tours, create and oversee community support groups, and build extracurricular opportunities.

“Our mission is to pop the social and physical barriers that prevent people from living happy and successful lives,” was a quote from

“This is about bringing more attention to aviation and inspiring the youth to get interested in flying,” Tweto said.

She’s already planning to do the Air Race Classic again next year.

“I grew up in a family full of pilots so maybe I’ll drag the whole family into it,” Tweto said.