NTSB Plans Public Hearing on Air Race, Air Show Safety

A public meeting on airshow and air-race safety has been scheduled for January 10, 2012, in Washington, D.C., by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman and all five board members will participate in the one-day meeting, during which members will gather information on the safety regulations and oversight in the planning and execution of these events.

“Regulators, aviation organizations, industry groups, and airport authorities will be questioned by the Board about safety practices, procedures, and protocols,” reads the announcement from the board. Meeting participants are to be announced.

The public meeting is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. EST in the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington D.C.


Study Seeks Clearer Picture of GA Airports 

By Dan Namowitz, AOPA

AOPA and other industry groups are working with the FAA as it develops a new classification system for general aviation airports. The agency is conducting a year-long study that seeks new, expanded GA airport categories for use in a national integrated systems plan.

The classification study, which began in January 2011, is considering replacing the two current classifications – general aviation and reliever – with as many as five that would provide more definition of airport services and activities in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Airports included in the NPIAS are considered significant to national air transportation and therefore eligible for federal airport improvement grants.

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National Championship Air Races introduces Blue Ribbon Review Panel; announce dates for 2012 event

National Championship Air Races introduces Blue Ribbon Review
Panel; announce dates for 2012 event

Reno, Nev. –In a press conference to discuss the future of the National Championship Air Races, the
Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced on Wednesday the formation of a Blue Ribbon Review
Panel to study the event. The panel will examine any possible changes or modifications that could be
made to enhance the already high level of safety established by the FAA and existing RARA procedures.
RARA also announced that, despite many challenges in the near and long‐term future, they are planning
to hold the 49th Annual National Championship Air Races at the Reno‐Stead Airfield, Sept. 12 – 16, 2012.
“Buoyed by the overwhelming support of the victims and families of last year’s terrible tragedy, our
sponsors, air race participants and fans and aviation enthusiasts all over the world, we are absolutely
committed to doing everything we can to hold this historic event in 2012,” said Mike Houghton,
president and CEO of RARA. “The safety of our fans and pilots has always been our foremost and
primary concern, which is why we feel so strongly about a blue ribbon review. This effort is not designed
to interfere or duplicate the efforts of the National Transportation Safety Board and we will continue to
cooperate with them to the fullest extent.”
The panel conducted its first meeting shortly after the press conference and will release its preliminary
results and recommendations to RARA within the next 90 days, allowing race officials to study them
before the event’s annual Pylon Racing Seminar (PRS) in June.
Headed by former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jim Hall, and former
Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Nick Sabatini,
the four members of the panel bring a wide breadth and depth of experience. The panel is rounded out
with two aviation legends, Steve Hinton, a highly‐acclaimed movie stunt pilot, aviation choreographer,
two‐time national Unlimited Air Race champion and current pace plane pilot in the Unlimited Class, and
John Sharp, an aeronautical engineer and the winningest pilot in the history of air racing.
“In addition to the blue ribbon panel, as is an annual matter of course, we will work with the race classes
and emergency responders to conduct an internal review, in the very near future, of all of the event’s
operations and procedures,” said Houghton. “Until we get further down the road, we will not speculate
on possible changes to the event or the results of either of these reviews or the NTSB investigation. As
has been the case, the NTSB has asked that they remain the point for all communications related to the
The not‐for‐profit event is a year‐round effort that regularly attracts more than 200,000 spectators and
generates an estimated $85 million annually to northern Nevada’s economy. It was also announced that,
RARA had a loss of up to $1.5 million for 2011. Race officials wanted to make it very clear that, while this
financial loss presents a significant hurdle, thanks to the continued generosity, sympathy and support of
the event’s fans and sponsors, the loss could be overcome.
“We know there are many people in our organization, our community and all over the world who have
been significantly impacted by last year’s tragedy and our thoughts and prayers remain with them,” said
Houghton. “However, we have heard from a vast majority of these people that this event must continue
on and many of our fans and sponsors have volunteered to do whatever they can in order to help
ensure the successful continuation of the National Championship Air Races. It’s in this spirit that we’re
working towards holding a poignant and successful event in 2012.”
In order for the 2012 event to occur, RARA must receive permits from the City of Reno, Reno‐Tahoe
Airport Authority and the FAA. RARA has already begun to initiate conversations with each of these
entities regarding permitting for 2012 and these conversations are ongoing.
“For planning purposes, we have to receive our waiver from the FAA for PRS by the end of February or
March, at the latest,” said Houghton. “This will provide a pretty good indication of our ability to get
permits and waivers for September’s event. Regardless, many people, including victims of the accident,
have told us they are coming to Reno in September, one way or another. We’ll do whatever we have to
do in order to memorialize and celebrate courage, passion and indomitable spirit that is so often
associated with aviation but, more importantly, was so vividly exhibited during the accident and the
weeks and months since, even if that means just holding a memorial air show.”
For more information on the National Championship Air Races, visit


Aluminum Overcast on Pawn Stars Dec. 19

EAA News - See Aluminum Overcast on Pawn Stars:

See Aluminum Overcast on Pawn Stars Pawn Stars December 15, 2011 ? Those of you who watch the History Channel?s hit show Pawn Stars are in for a treat Monday, December 19, as EAA?s B-17 will be featured on one of the show?s segments. (No, we?re not trying to sell or pawn the airplane!) During the October 11-12 tour stop for Aluminum Overcast at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), members of the show?s cast were invited to the airport to see the airplane. They decided to incorporate that visit into the show, according to the show notes, which read, ?The Old Man takes the day off to tour a World War II era B-17 bomber.? Tune in Monday at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST for the episode premiere!



NTSB to Hold Public Hearing on Air Race and Air Show Safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is holding a hearing on air race and air show safety. The hearing will be chaired by NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, and all five Board members will participate. During the one-day meeting, the Board will gather information on the safety regulations and oversight in the planning and execution of these events. Regulators, aviation organizations, industry groups, and airport authorities will be questioned by the Board about safety practices, procedures, and protocols.

Event: Air Race and Air Show Safety Hearing

Date/Time: January 10, 2012 9:30 a.m. (EST)

Location: NTSB Board Room and Conference Center , 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC

Participants: NTSB five-member Board

Note: The forum’s agenda and participants will be announced soon. For more information, call 202/314-6100.

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