By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
After 10 spectators and a pilot died in a crash at last year's National Championship Air Races in Reno, the fate of the event was uncertain, but now organizers say they are definitely holding the races as usual this September, although with a modified course. Reno Air Racing Association Director Mike Houghton said on Tuesday the largest pylon course will be moved further away from the crowd, and some curves will be modified to decrease the g-forces on pilots. The association has hired a new safety director, secured $100 million in insurance, and acquired a permit from the city. G-force training will be required for all pilots, and organizers will scrutinize pilot age and medical certifications. Tickets for the event, which will run Sept. 12-16, are now on sale at the association's website.
Race pilot Jon Sharp, who served on the review panel, said the course changes won't be dramatic. "The planes will be a little further away, but they won't be little dots," he told The Associated Press. The NTSB has not completed a final report from its investigation of the crash, but the city's permit requires race organizers to comply with all of the board's recommendations. "If [NTSB] had something they felt was going to be a deal-breaker, I'm pretty certain that would have surfaced by now," Houghton told the AP. The air racing association also plans to host a "world-class memorial and tribute
to those who lost their lives and for their family and friends."