The Reno Air Race Association must raise a half million dollars by Dec. 15 to meet its operational costs after a third year of financial losses.
“In order to address the operational costs of 2014 and beyond, including an oppressive insurance premium, we need to raise $500,000 in commitments, funds and debt reduction by Dec. 15,” President Mike Houghton said in a Nov. 22 letter to members.
That insurance premium is the result of a Sept. 16, 2011, crash involving a modified P-51 Mustang that killed the pilot and 10 spectators, including Gardnerville contractor John Craik. In addition to the deaths, 74 spectators were injured in the crash, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued seven recommendations for making the race safer.
Houton said the association has cut positions, implemented furloughs, wage and benefit reductions for staff in order to cut costs and preserve the air race.
“As difficult as these steps are, they are intended with the sole purpose of keeping air racing alive and preserving this historic aviation event for our community and the world,” he said. “While this might seem a daunting task, we have already made substantial strides in accomplishing this goal. Concurrently, through voting to immediately restructure the RARA board of directors and bylaws, our current board of directors is taking the steps to ensure an evolution of our fundraising and sponsorship model that allows us to grow this historic event far beyond 2014 and become more agile in the decision process.”