Officials Move Ahead With Plans for Reno Air Races
The head of the Reno Air Races Association says officials are moving ahead with plans for this fall's competition despite a tragic crash at September's races that killed 11 and injured more than 70.
Association President Mike Houghton said Wednesday the association is enlisting a panel of experts, including former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall, to help ensure the safety of the event scheduled for September 12-16 at Reno-Stead Airport.
Race officials say they must secure a number of permits to make sure the competition happens. But as of now, tickets are on sale for the race events. "We have the best and most loyal fans."
The National Transportation Safety Board has scheduled a hearing Jan. 10 to examine the safety of air shows and air races.
The Reno group's directors say in a letter on their web site they are "committed to preserving this unique and historic aviation event" that began 47 years ago. They have said if the races can't be staged, they hope to host an air show or memorial for the victims.
Houghton also mentioned the formation of a Blue Ribbon Review Panel to study the event. The panel will examine any possible changes or modifications that could be made to enhance the safety of the event.
The panel held its first meeting right after Wednesday's press conference and will release its preliminary results within the next 90 days, allowing race officials to study them before the event's annual Pylon Racing Seminar in June.
In order this year's event to happen, the RARA still must get permits from the City of Reno, Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority and the FAA.
The annual Air Races attract about 200,000 visitors yearly and bring in about $85 million to the local economy although the RARA lost up to $1.5 million for 2011.
Sunday, May 26 2013 1:49 AM EDT2013-05-26 05:49:26 GMT
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