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Thread: What If....2021

  1. #21
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Lockheed Bob View Post
    Yes, Thanks Owen for your dedication to the Reno Air Races. Your inputs will help it survive into the future. The 3 day option is viable. I can't count the times I went from Sunday to Sunday.
    Thanks, Bob. One can only hope thoughtful and comprehensive changes result in a brighter future. Reno has struggled long enough to climb out of the hole it found itself in since 2011. We simply cannot continue to act in the same manner and expect different results.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  2. #22
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Fortunately and unfortunately, time always marches on. The balance of embracing new and honoring old is a 24/7/365 journey. Evolution, and extinction, are a part of that journey - we just all want to put off the extinction of the races as long as possible. I think it can be done but it does mean the event needs to evolve, most likely in a manner similar to what has been discussed here.

    In the end, for any event to be financially successful, it must be both interesting ("I WANT to go because it sounds fun/exciting/etc.") and accessible ("I CAN go in spite of cost/time/etc.") On the "want" side, obviously a high-value airshow is a natural fit but I wonder what other types of activities have a venn-diagram that significantly overlaps with air racing? On the "can" side, a shorter event (which in many ways it already is for the casual fan as per Brad's comments) is more doable for most. The event also needs to get past the kitchen table where Moms and Dads are deciding how to spend their money and time-off which are ever-increasingly in short supply. Which, of course, brings us back to the want side of the equation.

    On the expense side, shorter is cheaper seems logical but that is not 100% accurate. Sometimes, there has to be a "loss-leader" just as there is on Black Friday. Maybe instead of a full week it is a Wednesday to Sunday run with Wednesday and Thursday being the loss-leaders that are pure racing (quals and early heats) with fields sized to generate Bronze finals and Silver/Gold heats on Friday, Silver finals and Gold heats on Saturday, and Gold finals on Sunday. The event slides from a pure racing event on Wednesday to a nearly pure airshow on Sunday. My instincts tell me that die-hard race fans don't care if they are watching races on Thursday or Sunday, they just want races and will come for the whole thing. The airshow fans will come Saturday and Sunday and may just get bitten by the racing bug and come Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the next year and so-on.

    In terms of the immediate future, if Reno has to be an exhibition for a year or two or we have to expand the window prior to the next set of races (i.e. - skip 2021 to make 2022) to manage costs, so be it. I 'd rather it do that than go extinct.

    As always, not even sure if it is two-cents worth of thoughts...

    James
    Last edited by Fawkes; 11-30-2020 at 07:24 AM.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Fawkes View Post
    Fortunately and unfortunately, time always marches on. The balance of embracing new and honoring old is a 24/7/365 journey. Evolution, and extinction, are a part of that journey - we just all want to put off the extinction of the races as long as possible. I think it can be done but it does mean the event needs to evolve, most likely in a manner similar to what has been discussed here.

    In the end, for any event to be financially successful, it must be both interesting ("I WANT to go because it sounds fun/exciting/etc.") and accessible ("I CAN go in spite of cost/time/etc.") On the "want" side, obviously a high-value airshow is a natural fit but I wonder what other types of activities have a venn-diagram that significantly overlaps with air racing? On the "can" side, a shorter event (which in many ways it already is for the casual fan as per Brad's comments) is more doable for most. The event also needs to get past the kitchen table where Moms and Dads are deciding how to spend their money and time-off which are ever-increasingly in short supply. Which, of course, brings us back to the want side of the equation.

    On the expense side, shorter is cheaper seems logical but that is not 100% accurate. Sometimes, there has to be a "loss-leader" just as there is on Black Friday. Maybe instead of a full week it is a Wednesday to Sunday run with Wednesday and Thursday being the loss-leaders that are pure racing (quals and early heats) with fields sized to generate Bronze finals and Silver/Gold heats on Friday, Silver finals and Gold heats on Saturday, and Gold finals on Sunday. The event slides from a pure racing event on Wednesday to a nearly pure airshow on Sunday. My instincts tell me that die-hard race fans don't care if they are watching races on Thursday or Sunday, they just want races and will come for the whole thing. The airshow fans will come Saturday and Sunday and may just get bitten by the racing bug and come Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the next year and so-on.

    In terms of the immediate future, if Reno has to be an exhibition for a year or two or we have to expand the window prior to the next set of races (i.e. - skip 2021 to make 2022) to manage costs, so be it. I 'd rather it do that than go extinct.

    As always, not even sure if it is two-cents worth of thoughts...

    James
    James,
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion here. Good stuff! Worth $0.02 and then some. I guess it's true...great minds thing alike. Essentially your "loss-leader" approach is what I'm proposing for 2022 (we'll get to 2021 in a minute).

    Again, the following is simply my opinion as a fan. Based on the fact that there is a wealth of knowledge out here on AAFO and I value everyone's input with the designs to keep this incredible event alive and well, I'm just going to throw this out there and let everyone take a whack at it.

    All Classes limit entries and establish minimum speed to qual. If you don't make it, you go home. Two opportunities to qualify...one race per division within each class.

    Here's the breakdown:

    Bips: 160mph & 15 slots
    F1: 180mph & 15 slots
    T6: 190mph & 15 slots
    Sports: 260mph & 24 slots
    Jets: 380mph & 12 entries
    UNL: 325mph & 15 slots (Turbines? T-28's?)
    ***NOTE: These numbers are based mostly on 2019 qualification speeds)

    Wednesday (0800 - 1730): Bips/F1/T-6 qualifications
    Thursday (0800-1730): Sport/Jet/UNL qualifications
    Friday: Bips/F1/T-6 Championships Races/Airshow Rehearsal
    Saturday: Sports/Jet/UNL Bronze & Silver Championship Races/Full Airshow Performances
    Sunday: Sports/Jets/UNL Gold Championship Races/Full Airshow Performances

    In 2019, we allocated the following for races in each Class:
    30mins/race for F1
    25min/race for Bips
    25mins/race for T-6
    FRIDAY: Running three races for each Class consumes 240 minutes (+/- 4 hours)
    Remain time used for Airshow Rehearsal (After racing has concluded. Have to noodle the issue of having paid attendance for Friday and holding an Airshow Rehearsal.)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    30mins/race for Sports (STOL during rejoin)
    25mins/race for Jets (STOL during rejoin)
    30min/race for UNL
    SATURDAY: Running two races for each Class (Bronze and Silver) on Saturday consumes 170mins (+/- 2.8hrs)
    Remaining time used for Airshow Performances (maximum 3.5hrs)

    SUNDAY: Running one race for each Class (Gold) on Sunday consumes 85mins (+/- 1.5hrs)
    Remaining time used for Airshow Performances (3.5hrs)

    STOL Drag would run their races as they did in 2019...during rejoins for Sport and Jets (approx 12-15min). We don't run STOL Drag during UNL rejoins.

    If we start each day at 0900 (an hour later...I need my beauty sleep!), Friday should conclude @ 1630; Saturday @ 1530; Sunday @ 1400

    One way to gauge interest between racing and airshow would be to run the airshow after all racing has concluded each day. This works best for airshow performers as they are used to a show starting around 1100-1200 each day. It's also important to keep performers start times consistent from day to day (i.e. I can't put the T-birds up at 1200 one day and 1500 the next).


    As for 2021:
    Eliminate June PRS
    Stand down from all sanctioned racing in all Classes
    Suspend (if possible) the NBCSN production agreement
    Each Class provides 6-8 aircraft of comparable performance (e.g. don't send 2 Gold, 3, Silver and a couple Bronze racers)
    Continue to contract with civilian and military performers
    Airshow Rehearsal Friday
    Airshow Saturday and Sunday
    Each Class will conduct an "Exhibition Race" during the Airshow each day

    Eliminating scanctioned racing should the effect of dramatically lowering insurance costs. Not familiar with the NBCSN deal but it would certain be helpful if it could be susupended for a year, since we're not actually "racing."

    It would be critical that we market this in a way that spells out a new beginning for current and future fans, with more exciting changes to come in 2022 and beyond. "We're in the midst of long-range planning that will ensure a vibrant aiviation event featuring highly competitive air racing and a world-class airshow for future generations!"

    OK folks...there you go. Get your red pen out and start hacking away. As I stated before, my personal thoughts and opinions only. That and $5.00 will get you a Starbucks!

    Thanks for "listening" and in advance for your thoughts.
    Last edited by Air Boss; 11-30-2020 at 10:34 AM.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  4. #24
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    I would like to begin by saying I have really enjoyed all of the discussion in this thread, both the ideas presented and the spirit in which they have been shared.

    There are a lot of really good thoughts represented here that weigh the incredible amount of variables that go into this. The financial weight along with the challenge of not losing the committed air racing fan base all while connecting with and drawing in the average air show attendee ... really limits the wiggle room and means something is going to have to give. Regardless of where this ends up, something or many things are going to be cut to ensure the survival of the event.

    I really appreciate your dedication, work and leadership on all of this Owen! Not to mention your willingness to share your thoughts so openly here on this forum. I've just been reading up to this point but I decided I would chime in (just as a fan of air racing) with some of my thoughts in regards to your most recent detailed post ...

    In regards to 2021, I get it and support it. If we have to do a year of "Exhibition Races" instead of actual racing to ensure RARA survives into the future, than I would support that. I do fear though that it would have to be very carefully marketed and even then there will undoubted be those who say, "it isn't real racing" and simply won't come or support the event. RARA's reputation as an event is still based on the fact that it is the only air racing event like it in the world. If the public image and message is that "real racing" isn't happening at RARA anymore, no amount of marketing may be able overcome it and it could mark the end of the event. There is no telling how things like that will play out in the public eye, I just think that it could be a real "reputation and marketing issue" that needs to be seriously weighed and considered before having a year of just "Exhibition Races".

    In regards to your ideas for 2022, my concern is there would not be enough racing on Sunday. Only 3 races on Sunday would be really rough for the committed air race fan and I think some of the classes which are excluded from Saturday and Sunday will not appreciate this schedule. I really like the shortened week, the reduction in the number of racers that can qualify per class, and limiting the airshow to only Saturday and Sunday. But you might have to have a schedule where all the Gold (championship?) races and only the gold races are run on Sunday. Then Saturday is just for Silver (consolation?) races and get rid of the bronze and medallion races. Friday would be a day with just heat races and no air show acts (only the rehearsal as you suggested), with two heat races per class for the silver and gold brackets. This would just give guys on the" bubble" the chance to move up (or down) to the next race level and to determine starting position for Saturday and Sunday. The generic schedule would look something more like this:

    Wednesday: Qualifications
    Thursday: Qualifications
    Friday: 12 Heat Races & Airshow Rehearsal
    Saturday: 6 Silver Races and Full Airshow Performances
    Sunday: 6 Gold Races and Full Airshow Performances

    Just my thoughts. Really appreciate you Owen and I'm looking forward to what the future holds for air racing and RARA.
    Chris

  5. #25
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Chris,
    Appreciate the kinds words and support. Thanks!

    Excellent points all around. That is my fear as well RE: 2021. The extent to which long-time RARA fan base would reject the one-year hiatus from sanctioned air racing as we know it. PR and Marketing would be more crucial than ever in communicating the reasoning behind the change and the expectations going foward.

    I like your thoughts on 2022 and how best to split up the racing action. Spreading the racing out as in indicate draws a better balance all around. My proposal was a bit heavily geared to starting a bit later and ending earlier but I agree that have all six classes running each day is a much better approach and allows for bumping up and down. Thanks for deciding to jump in on this, Chris! It's EXACTLY why I decided to throw caution to the wind and just put it out there. Folks out here in AAFO-land are incredibly knowledgeable with hundreds of years of collective history that should NOT go untapped!

    Sincerely appreciate it, sir. Hopefully whatever changes are made, whether those discussed here or elsewhere, will get this sport back in the black and on a path toward both financial stability and even greater support and recognition.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  6. #26
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    I have been following this thread and have a lot of conflicting thoughts.

    I think that the priority at this point is figuring out 2021. As this point, I don't have any confidence that large public gatherings are going to be back up to speed by then. Regarding the discussion of doing things differently this year, I would attend either way. Even though I much prefer racing to an exhibition, I would still be there. The show stopper for me would involve what mitigation steps are taken for COVID-19. For example, if masks are required, we'll not be there. Not to start an argument, but I cannot wear a mask. This is not a statement about whether people should wear one or not. It's a personal decision, for personal reasons. I am not argumentative about it and I don't force my views on anyone else. I just avoid situations where there would be a conflict.

    With that out of the way, I think that anything to save costs in the short term is a good thing for the event. I'm definitely not in the group that we are trying to reach, because I will support the races no matter what. Even if the event is cancelled next year, I still have a budget for it and will still donate it. But if holding a reduced event with dramatically reduced insurance would be a net positive financially, I would support that.

    Longer term, the tough thing is how to make racing viable. I believe that the main two sources of income for the races would be either via advertising from sponsors or from gate related income, like ticket sales, pit passes, vendor fees, etc.

    There is lots of discussion here about getting big name sponsors. Personally, I'm not sure that's ever going to pan out. Big sponsors want eyeballs. That works out fine for something like NASCAR, with millions of fans and lots of television coverage. But we just don't have that at Reno. I love the fact that Stihl has been involved (and I have purchased a number of Stihl tools, because I want to support their sponsorship). But I don't think that there is some major corporation out there that would be willing to save the event out of altruism.

    So that leaves bringing in people to the event.

    I've mentioned a few times before on this site, that I bring at least a dozen people with me each year. Out of that group, there are a couple of us that are die-hard fans. The rest of the group is basically supporting us. They spend some time in the stands, but also have at least a couple of days where they go into Reno instead of Stead. For them, the biggest aviation draw is the major military air show teams. They'll make a point of being there for the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds. For that reason, I think that a fairly strong air show presence is essential.

    I've also mentioned this before, but anything that could be done to more engage these kinds of fans would be a plus. It could be something as simple as making the planes more recognizable from the stands. It could be something like a phone app that gets them more inside the workings of the event. We sit very close to the announcers and I can see the pairings and such on the table. Making this kind of information (and the race results) quickly available to the fans might be a positive thing. I use reports.airrace.org, but something friendlier and more up-to-date would be good. It might even be interesting to allow fans to register for news regarding their favorite teams. For example, you could send a text to registered fans when one of their favorite plans is going to be in the next heat, and a text with the results just as soon as they are available.

    Another thing that I think could be improved is keeping the fans informed about the current state of the event. Often times when there is an event hold, things just go quiet. I would appreciate it if it were more open about what's going on. I realize that sometimes there might be sensitive information, but anything would be better than silence.

    For my part, I would rather see some different airshow acts. In particular, I would like to see things that I would not be likely to see elsewhere. I do enjoy watching some high-energy aerobatics, but there are lots of airshows that offer that. I would enjoy seeing some exhibition flights by unusual aircraft. I'm usually getting into Reno on Wednesday of race week, and we leave Sunday after the Unlimited Gold, so I don't see a lot of arrivals and departures by the static displays. It might be interesting to get some of them to do short fly-bys to fill in time between heats, particularly the unusual ones.

    I grew up in an aviation family in Seattle and know lots of people with personal and professional connections to aviation. I've tried to get many of them to come down to the races. Lots of them have said that Reno is a bucket-list event, a bit like Oshkosh, but actually getting them down there has been tough. I've gone so far as to offer to pay some of their expenses and give them tickets (I always buy a few extra).

    There are two main reasons that most of them pass.

    The first one is scheduling. Working people have limited vacation time, that they need to prioritize against what their families want to do. This may sound like a silly thing, but airline seats between Seattle and Reno are a bit hard to get during the air races. It makes it difficult to get people down for just the weekend. A couple of years ago, Alaska cancelled the return flight for a couple of my party who really needed to be back in Seattle on Monday morning. We ended up sending back one of our RVs on an all night drive to get them home in time.

    The second issue is the environment at Stead field. I do know quite a few retired folks with an interest, and they (mostly) don't have the scheduling issues. The thing is that spending a lot of time out at Stead in mid-September is physically taxing for them. My dad was a retired airline pilot and used to go with me every year. About 10 years before he passed, it just got to be too much for him. Spending many hours out under the sun, the walking around at 5000 feet elevation, etc. just added up. Even the younger folks in my group get uncomfortable. We've had the same grandstand seats now for 20 years, and we've been bringing in folding chairs to set up under the grandstand behind the announcers. Without that, I suspect that my group would get smaller.

    Sorry that I don't have any answers, but I wanted to mention the above to at least give some perspective about things that prevent more people from attending.

    Ultimately, I think that the most truthful thing in this thread is that the races are for the racers first and foremost. I think that no matter what level you participate, this is something that they do because they have a passion for it. I doubt that anyone is making money by racing (and I suspect that most participants are spending a lot for the privilege). In order to fill the field, I think that making the participants happy is the most fruitful strategy. My feeling is that the most important thing to the continued viability of air racing, is to have people driven to do it. I'm just happy that I can be there to see it.

    Anyway, that's just a random dump of my thoughts. I hope that you find something of use in them.

    Oh, and I thought that I'd add that I think that the scheduling changes discussed in the last few posts would be great. I would be happy with a tightened up schedule. One suggestion would be that I would rather have Saturday be airshow heavy to bring in lots of people, with more racing on Sunday.
    Last edited by wadeh; 11-30-2020 at 01:08 PM.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Boss View Post
    James,
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion here. Good stuff! Worth $0.02 and then some. I guess it's true...great minds thing alike. Essentially your "loss-leader" approach is what I'm proposing for 2022 (we'll get to 2021 in a minute).

    Again, the following is simply my opinion as a fan. Based on the fact that there is a wealth of knowledge out here on AAFO and I value everyone's input with the designs to keep this incredible event alive and well, I'm just going to throw this out there and let everyone take a whack at it.

    All Classes limit entries and establish minimum speed to qual. If you don't make it, you go home. Two opportunities to qualify...one race per division within each class.

    Here's the breakdown:

    Bips: 160mph & 15 slots
    F1: 180mph & 15 slots
    T6: 190mph & 15 slots
    Sports: 260mph & 24 slots
    Jets: 380mph & 12 entries
    UNL: 325mph & 15 slots (Turbines? T-28's?)
    ***NOTE: These numbers are based mostly on 2019 qualification speeds)

    Wednesday (0800 - 1730): Bips/F1/T-6 qualifications
    Thursday (0800-1730): Sport/Jet/UNL qualifications
    Friday: Bips/F1/T-6 Championships Races/Airshow Rehearsal
    Saturday: Sports/Jet/UNL Bronze & Silver Championship Races/Full Airshow Performances
    Sunday: Sports/Jets/UNL Gold Championship Races/Full Airshow Performances

    In 2019, we allocated the following for races in each Class:
    30mins/race for F1
    25min/race for Bips
    25mins/race for T-6
    FRIDAY: Running three races for each Class consumes 240 minutes (+/- 4 hours)
    Remain time used for Airshow Rehearsal (After racing has concluded. Have to noodle the issue of having paid attendance for Friday and holding an Airshow Rehearsal.)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    30mins/race for Sports (STOL during rejoin)
    25mins/race for Jets (STOL during rejoin)
    30min/race for UNL
    SATURDAY: Running two races for each Class (Bronze and Silver) on Saturday consumes 170mins (+/- 2.8hrs)
    Remaining time used for Airshow Performances (maximum 3.5hrs)

    SUNDAY: Running one race for each Class (Gold) on Sunday consumes 85mins (+/- 1.5hrs)
    Remaining time used for Airshow Performances (3.5hrs)

    STOL Drag would run their races as they did in 2019...during rejoins for Sport and Jets (approx 12-15min). We don't run STOL Drag during UNL rejoins.

    If we start each day at 0900 (an hour later...I need my beauty sleep!), Friday should conclude @ 1630; Saturday @ 1530; Sunday @ 1400

    One way to gauge interest between racing and airshow would be to run the airshow after all racing has concluded each day. This works best for airshow performers as they are used to a show starting around 1100-1200 each day. It's also important to keep performers start times consistent from day to day (i.e. I can't put the T-birds up at 1200 one day and 1500 the next).


    As for 2021:
    Eliminate June PRS
    Stand down from all sanctioned racing in all Classes
    Suspend (if possible) the NBCSN production agreement
    Each Class provides 6-8 aircraft of comparable performance (e.g. don't send 2 Gold, 3, Silver and a couple Bronze racers)
    Continue to contract with civilian and military performers
    Airshow Rehearsal Friday
    Airshow Saturday and Sunday
    Each Class will conduct an "Exhibition Race" during the Airshow each day

    Eliminating scanctioned racing should the effect of dramatically lowering insurance costs. Not familiar with the NBCSN deal but it would certain be helpful if it could be susupended for a year, since we're not actually "racing."

    It would be critical that we market this in a way that spells out a new beginning for current and future fans, with more exciting changes to come in 2022 and beyond. "We're in the midst of long-range planning that will ensure a vibrant aiviation event featuring highly competitive air racing and a world-class airshow for future generations!"

    OK folks...there you go. Get your red pen out and start hacking away. As I stated before, my personal thoughts and opinions only. That and $5.00 will get you a Starbucks!

    Thanks for "listening" and in advance for your thoughts.
    Well then...I don't know whether to be proud for myself or feel sorry for you if we were that close in thinking!

    First, for 2021, I have nothing that I can think of that would improve upon the path you laid out. I'm assuming the financials of a traditional airshow are significantly more favorable and as such, would make every effort to attend in order to help put more $$ in the coffers for 2022.

    For 2022, I'll play along and throw out the following (all based on the times you shared...)

    Set the field size for each class as appropriate (someone more informed than I can make that call.)

    Wed - Quals for all groups as is appropriately divided up.

    Thursday Morning - Final Quals for all groups as is appropriately divided up.

    All but the last two potential slots for each class are set on qual times.

    Thursday Afternoon - Some sort of wild-card/last-chance heat for each class (assuming there is a need) to fill the last two slots. Again, how the participants are selected/identified would need work but properly done and with good marketing could create some great drama for Thursday afternoon. (One note: average speed for the winner and 2nd place would be used as their qual time so they could actually race their way straight into Gold.)

    Friday - Bronze races for all 6 (180 minutes) plus 60 minute break to address legal attendance plus airshow rehearsal (210 minutes) = 0800-1530. Since racing (and paid attendance) ends earlier in day, this would be an ideal place to have some sort of companion activity down in Reno (maybe an Aces game with fireworks and a music concert, ???)

    Saturday - Silver races for all 6 (180) plus airshow (210) = 0900-1530. STOL as laid out (while it is certainly racing, it can be treated as airshow in terms of timing.)

    Sunday - Gold races for all 6 (180) plus airshow (21) = 0900-1530. STOL as laid out (while it is certainly racing, it can be treated as airshow in terms of timing.)

    This allows for consistency on Saturday and Sunday (and even Friday afternoon for a Blues/TBirds rehearsal.) Obviously, if F1 or Bipe need an 0800 start due to winds, you can always let them go earlier but keep the rest of the schedule as planned.

    Over time, if warranted, you build earlier in the week from Wednesday morning to increase field sizes and the number of heat races up until COB Thursday. Friday through Sunday always remain the same.

    Somebody break out the red ink!

    James
    Last edited by Fawkes; 11-30-2020 at 02:27 PM.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Wade,
    A very thoughtful reply, sir. Folks on this fourm never cease to step up. Well done.

    As with all things under the current pandemic, so many unknowns. There is hope on the near horizon with the vaccine(s) and I'm sure we are all crossing our fingers they prove themsleves out. Large events early in 2021 will still struggle with attendance and frankly, whether we race in June or not, I'd still suspend PRS.

    Good point about making information about current status of the event and following race aircraft via an app. Certainly seems like something that could be pulled together in the coming months. Don't know if anyone in RARA has been contacted re: this but I'd be happy to send it up if you don't mind.

    I am working on a few things that would somewhat unique from an airshow standpoint. There are a few new concepts in aviation out there and perhaps they can be enticed to show up, whether it's a demo or static.

    With respect to shortening the days and the overall event one of the factors I'm weighing is, at least to me, it's just too damn long. And unless you're a died-in-the-wool air race fan, it seems to me a HUGE ask of folks to spend 3, 4, or 5 days in the high desert, sitting in aluminum bleachers or baking in a box, wandering around on a blazing hot tarmac from mid-morning to the dinner hour. Frankly, with my non-aviation hat on, I'd ask, "You want me to do what...for how long...over how many days?" Much more likely to attract new fans if each day and the event is a bit shorter.

    Seeking out those things that "prevent" folks from attending is to me at least as important as those that "cause" people to attend...probably more so. The "cause" folks are already there...it's the "prevent" folks we need to attract and in order to do that we need to remove the obsticles and convert them to the "cause" side of the house.

    Take you point regarding the schedule. My original post was weighted toward finishing earlier (e.g. the shorter days scenario). I think Chris' idea about a better balance through the weekend is a good one. If I understand your point, you'd argue for, say, Bronze on Saturday, Silver and Gold on Sunday?

    Thanks very much for offering up your thoughts, Wade. It is certainly appreciated!
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  9. #29
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    Default Re: What If....2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Fawkes View Post
    Well then...I don't know whether to be proud for myself or feel sorry for you if we were that close in thinking!

    First, for 2021, I have nothing that I can think of that would improve upon the path you laid out. I'm assuming the financials of a traditional airshow are significantly more favorable and as such, would make every effort to attend in order to help put more $$ in the coffers for 2022.

    For 2022, I'll play along and throw out the following (all based on the times you shared...)

    Set the field size for each class as appropriate (someone more informed than I can make that call.)

    Wed - Quals for all groups as is appropriately divided up.
    Thursday Morning - Final Quals for all groups as is appropriately divided up.

    All but the last two potential slots for each class are set on qual times.

    Thursday Afternoon - Some sort of wild-card/last-chance heat for each class (assuming there is a need) to fill the last two slots. Again, how the participants are selected/identified would need work but properly done and with good marketing could create some great drama for Thursday afternoon. (One note: average speed for the winner and 2nd place would be used as their qual time so they could actually race their way straight into Gold.)

    Friday - Bronze races for all 6 (180 minutes) plus 60 minute break to address legal attendance plus airshow rehearsal (210 minutes) = 0800-1530. Since racing (and paid attendance ends earlier in day,) this would be an ideal place to have some sort of companion activity down in Reno (maybe an Aces game with fireworks and a music concert, ???)

    Saturday - Silver races for all 6 (180) plus airshow (210) = 0900-1530. STOL as laid out (while it is certainly racing, it can be treated as airshow in terms of timing.)

    Sunday - Gold races for all 6 (180) plus airshow (21) = 0900-1530. STOL as laid out (while it is certainly racing, it can be treated as airshow in terms of timing.)

    This allows for consistency on Saturday and Sunday (and even Friday afternoon for a Blues/TBirds rehearsal.) Obviously, if F1 or Bipe need an 0800 start due to winds, you can always let them go earlier but keep the rest of the schedule as planned.

    Over time, if warranted, you build earlier in the week from Wednesday morning to increase field sizes and the number of heat races up until COB Thursday. Friday through Sunday always remain the same.

    Somebody break out the red ink!

    James
    Well...let's just say it's the former shall we?!

    I went back and looked at 2019 qual and racing skeds. We've discussed racing times per class below. Here's what we did for quals (somebody check my math!):

    Monday and Tuesday per day (aggregate):
    F1: 1:10 (2:20)
    Bip: 1:00 (2:00)
    T-6: 1:10 (2:20)
    Sport: 2:15 (4:30)
    Jet: 1:10 (2:20)
    UNL: 1:00 (2:00)
    TOTAL: 7:45 (15:30)

    Wednesday:
    F1: :40
    Bip: :35
    T-6: :30
    Sport: 1:15
    Jet: :30
    UNL: :25

    Total Time Allocated to qualify Monday thru Wed 1200):
    F1: 3:00 (20 entries)
    Bip: 2:35 (18 entries)
    T-6: 2:50 (14 entries)
    Sport: 5:45 (36 entries)
    Jet: 2:50 (14 entries)
    UNL: 2:25 (11 entries)

    Essentially I'm discussing removing the Wednesday half-day qual period, in addition to fewer entries in F1, Bip, and Sport classes. I have no doubt we can reconstruct the qualification periods and make this happen in two days with some time to spare for your "Last Chance" event if need be. There is typically a fair amount of "dead-air" during any one qual period. It would be made known to each class that due to time constraints we cannot afford long periods of dead-air. Be ready on-time, launch, qual and recover. If a class has :10 or more of dead air on Wednesday, their time slot is shortened accordingly on Thursday.

    I do like the racing format better than what I posted initially. Makes for a smoother, more balance event. Well done.
    Last edited by Air Boss; 11-30-2020 at 02:50 PM.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: What If....2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Boss View Post
    Wade,
    Don't know if anyone in RARA has been contacted re: this but I'd be happy to send it up if you don't mind.
    I don't mind at all. Please use anything that would be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Boss View Post
    I am working on a few things that would somewhat unique from an airshow standpoint. There are a few new concepts in aviation out there and perhaps they can be enticed to show up, whether it's a demo or static.
    This sounds great! I would love that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Boss View Post
    Take you point regarding the schedule. My original post was weighted toward finishing earlier (e.g. the shorter days scenario). I think Chris' idea about a better balance through the weekend is a good one. If I understand your point, you'd argue for, say, Bronze on Saturday, Silver and Gold on Sunday?
    Yes, Bronze on Saturday, with Gold and Silver on Sunday would be great. My personal feeling here, is that even with things to interest the less die-hard fans, Sunday is special. If there are scheduling differences between the two days, I would rather have more racing on Sunday than Saturday.

    If you are interested in shortening Sunday, my preference would be to run the F1 and Biplane silver and gold races on Saturday and start racing a bit later on Sunday. Actually, front loading the F1 and Biplane races earlier in the week might help, too, if it eases the weekend schedule. I don't think that that are a huge draw for non-racing fans, and those of us who are will still be there to support them, no matter when they race. A few of us in my group are always in the stands in time for the first race of the day.

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