It was business as usual Thursday at the Reno Air Races, STANDING DOWN! The day started hopefully. Several F-1 and Bi-Plane aircraft were cleared to practice prior to starting a full schedule of races. No sooner were these aircraft airborne than...
It was business as usual Thursday at the Reno Air Races, STANDING DOWN! The day started hopefully. Several F-1 and Bi-Plane aircraft were cleared to practice prior to starting a full schedule of races. No sooner were these aircraft airborne than the word came to 'black flag' them for immediate landing.
It was reported that the FAA, which had cleared the racers to fly, rescinded the approval when Air Route Traffic Control radar observed the racers on radar. In the confusion of the national control of airports and airspace crossed signals became evident and nothing resulted from the incident.
Racers stood down again but remained ready to fly.
At 3:00 PM Reno Air Racing Committee Chairman Bill Eck briefed the pilots, ground crews, and officials. He reported that EAA founder Paul Poberesny had the EAA attorney hammering the FAA to lift the restriction insofar as it affected the races which operate under a strictly controlled waiver. He was told that the Air Traffic Control Chief in Washington said that he expected National Security people to permit implementation of Part 91 rules which permit flight under IFR rules by sunset Thursday or Friday morning at the latest.
Reno Air Racing officials have elected to observe the National Day of Mourning declared by President Bush and conduct no races on Friday. They will, however, conduct an observance of the day at the air race grandstand. If the FAA implements Part 91 some of the air race classes will fly missing man formations during the observance period from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
If FAA permission is received the race planes will be allowed to practice only on Friday afternoon.
Eck emphasized that all air racers hurt right along with all Americans but this event is unique in the world. It is almost 100 percent volunteer and all 150 race planes and their crews plus 2,500 volunteer workers are already in place. The event cannot be postponed and rescheduled like ball sports. Reno will race on Saturday and Sunday, not despite the tragedy in New York but out of respect for the victims as manifest in the Friday observance.