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Reno Air Races Secures Event Insurance, Announces Safety Changes

Races to be held in September

May 24, 2012 - At a press conference Tuesday in Reno, Nevada, Mike Houghton, president of the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), announced that a $100 million insurance policy had been secured, paving the way for the National Championship Air Races to be held September 12-16 at Stead Airport.

Houghton also announced that course changes would be made in some race classes to position aircraft farther away from crowds. Other changes include requiring pilots to undergo special g force training and possibly adding more barriers in front of spectators. These came from recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board and a special Blue Ribbon Panel appointed by RARA in January.

The Reno Tahoe Airport Authority is requiring the insurance as a condition of its permit approval to hold the races this year in the wake of last year's tragic accident that took the lives of 11 people and injured 70 others.

"We still remain very saddened and focused on the tragedy that took place in September," Houghton said, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. "That day will be forever emblazoned in our minds and we will never forget the victims and the heroes of September 16."

Houghton said the additional insurance required by the airport authority would increase RARA's premium costs by $1.7 million. The association will appeal to the community to "step up to the plate" in ways such as asking residents to attend the event in greater numbers, additional sponsorships, and appealing to the casinos for support.

Economic impact studies show the annual race event brings some $80 million into the northern Nevada economy per year, Houghton said.

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