Two key air racing events are moving ahead this year after organizational and other issues temporarily clouded their futures – the cross-country AirVenture Cup and the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev.
AirVenture Cup Race organizers have decided to go ahead with the 2012 event after first deciding to cancel the race this year. The initial move came after the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) notified organizers that the association would no longer support air racing, including the AirVenture Cup, race organizers say.
AirVenture says the EAA announcement “was a shock to us as much as it was to the rest of the aviation community, and we are still in the process of evaluating our options to continue the race.” But they add that the Sport Air Racing League has offered to help, “and the race will take place this year as planned.”
Organizers also note that with significant changes at EAA over the past year, a number of questions surfaced regarding branding. “We understand EAA’s position remains the same and no longer wishes to have their name associated with the race. As such, we have agreed to remove all references to EAA from the website and other marketing materials,” the association says.
EAA stresses that it did not make the original decision to cancel the event, but did agree that “since last year, there have been discussions with race organizers on better defining the event and its relationship to EAA, including clarifying name and branding elements.” EAA continues to provide volunteer support for the cross-country racing event, now in its 15th year.
The July 22 race begins at the Mitchell, S.D., airport and ends in West Bend, Wis.
The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), meanwhile, has the green light for the National Championship Air Races Sept. 12-16 at Stead Airport in Nevada, after securing a $100 million insurance policy.
The insurance policy was a stipulation by the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority in order to receive a permit for the event. RARA also is implementing a series of measures to improve event safety, including race course change.
The event came under scrutiny after a modified experimental North American P-51D, N7911, lost control and crashed into the airport ramp and the spectator box at Reno Stead Airport last September, killing 11 people and injuring 70 others.
Thein April issued a series of recommendations as part of its investigation, including expanded g-tolerance training and evaluation of racing aircraft modifications to help guard against similar crashes.