Reno Looking For Donations: 2021 Races In Doubt


The National Championship Air Races is more than a quarter of the way to raising the initial $500,000 of $1 million it needs to stage the 2021 races in Reno. The group sent out an appeal in early November for donations to start making up the funding shortfall that resulted from the cancellation of this year’s event in September due to the pandemic. “For more than 56 years, the National Championship Air Races has carried on a proud legacy. Now, that legacy is in jeopardy due to financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the race committee’s fundraising page says.

COVID-19 rules made holding the event impossible. Reno was already behind the eight ball going into 2020 thanks in part to an unanticipated $160,000 increase in insurance costs for the 2019 races. “While the team budgeted accordingly for 2020, any opportunity to recover was completely cut off by COVID-19 and instead the issue was compounded,” the group said. Ultimately, about $1 million is needed to ensure the races go ahead but the first $500,000 is critical to lay the groundwork. The race organizers have slashed expenses, organized online events and auctions and even sold a hangar to keep the lights on but the future is dependent on the fundraising campaigns, they say. 

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. Why would I donate to an organization that has regressed into a purely high priced commercialized enterprise? I went to the Reno Air Races 30 years ago when it really was a great show and went every year with anticipation for the great sport races that they were. and not to mention the fantastic air show, the best anywhere. They have digressed into the worst airshow with very few unimpressive acts and you sit in the stands and listen to advertisements hour after hour waiting for terrible uninspired races. Not Not Not like the old days. and the cost is ridicules’ I wouldn’t spend the money if They let me in for free. And you think I should donate!!! What You been smokin.