Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reno Air Race officials to discuss event with special committee on Thursday

Officials with the Reno Air Racing Association will give an overview Thursday of the National Championship Air Races and its contributions to the Reno economy to a special Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority committee that will help decide whether to give the group a special event license for this year’s event.

The association has held a license from the airport authority, which oversees Reno Stead Airport, for more than 10 years, but it expires on July 31 and must be renewed before the races at the airport can be held.

“We plan to educate the committee on the business issues that impact the air races,” Michael Houghton, president and CEO of the racing association, said Tuesday. “We also plan to ask them to issue a new permit.”

The future of the Reno Air Races was thrown into question after a vintage P-51 aircraft crashed into the tarmac during a race on Sept. 16, killing the pilot and 10 spectators and injuring more than 70 other people.

But Houghton announced in early January that the association plans to hold this year’s event Sept. 12-16, assuming they are able to secure the event license as well as waivers from the Federal Aviation Administration.

At Thursday’s public hearing before the airport committee, Houghton said he plans to present the same information he gave during a Jan. 10 National Transportation Safety Board hearing on air race and air show safety held in Washington D.C.

The NTSB is investigating the air races crash and is expected to release its report on the probable cause of the crash and make safety recommendations in the coming months.

During the Jan. 10 hearing, Houghton said that the air races have been held since 1964, and the event contributes about $85 million to the Northern Nevada economy annually.

The air racing association has a 48-year history of complying with FAA rules, according to Houghton’s presentation. And the race courses are reviewed, studied and tested before the races are held, he’ll tell the panel.

If you go

The Reno Air Racing Association will give a presentation at a hearing before the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority National Championship Air Race Event Committee.
When: 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Where: Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Concourse B, Conference Rooms A-B.


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