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Thread: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

  1. #1
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    Default 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    As we approach PRS 2021 it strikes me that this year represents a critical crossroads in the history of the event.

    As has been established over decades in the aviation industry, what puts butts in the bleachers is (i) military jet teams, (ii), single ship demos, (iii) warbirds demos, and from there on down. Like it or not, air racing, in the broader context, does not pay all the bills for Reno. Ask yourself, how long would Reno survive in its current form as just an air racing event?

    Reno 2021 has both (i) and (ii) (USAF Tbirds and F-22 Raptor) and in that regard we are fortunate. The following year Reno will not host a military jet team. Whether or not we can score a single ship or warbird act (when's the last time you saw one) is TBD. Chances are good but one never knows.

    Point being, 2021 represents a huge milestone on many levels. The financial pressures are being paired with encroachment pressues (residential and commercial) as a one-two punch on the long-term future of Reno.

    If you plan on attending and you're not bringing two or three newbies to Reno, aks yourself why. There is a very real chance that if 2021 is not a financial success, 2022 is in serious jeopardy.

    Yeah, I know. Been hearing that for a number of years. Fact is...it's NEVER been more real.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    I was just thinking this today. I?ve got a new group of gear heads I?m gonna try and bring out this year. I?ve been around long enough to show off the races. I?m sure anybody reading this could easily do the same. Reno is so rapidly expanding that there is a huge number of people who have yet to even be able see a race. Through recent world events, people have turned to the outdoors. Reno is so appealing because of it?s outdoor opportunities. Since lockdown, the boating/RVing ?scene? has exploded. I?m sure you?ve noticed. By September, the lakes are going to be very low due to the week snowpack. All the adrenaline junkies are going to be jonesing for a new thrill. What?s radder than an end of season, kick ass, hot rod airplane race? Ya nothing. I think it?s a perfect year to bring newbies out. Time to put the word in the street! AirRace Army. Make it happen.
    You'll get your chance, smart guy!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    Owen,

    Tickets bought and a shotgun broadcast made (and more to follow) to any of my friends who would enjoy the event to come with me and celebrate a return of at least some sense of normalcy. With luck, there will be several new faces in the crowd. In any case, mine will be there. As a side note, tell me when and where to be during your busy week and we will celebrate getting at least one more year!

    Best,

    James

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    Quote Originally Posted by Fawkes View Post
    Owen,

    Tickets bought and a shotgun broadcast made (and more to follow) to any of my friends who would enjoy the event to come with me and celebrate a return of at least some sense of normalcy. With luck, there will be several new faces in the crowd. In any case, mine will be there. As a side note, tell me when and where to be during your busy week and we will celebrate getting at least one more year!

    Best,

    James
    Hey James,
    Good on you! I'm no Copernicus by any stretch but it seems to me if Reno has, say, 60,000 individual guests each day (dunno) and only 10% of them brought a couple new folks through the gate...attendance goes up by 20%. That's gotta help...

    During race week my days start at 0600 and end around 1900 after our Daily Debrief in the RARA hangar. After an adult beverage (or three) and a bite to eat, it's off the hotel to work on tomorrows schedule. Wash...rinse...repeat!

    That said, I'd be happy to meet up with you at some point. My daily performer briefing is usually at 0900, lasts about :30 or so (firm believer they're called "briefings" for a reason). May have some time for a short chat after that before I head to the tower. Obviously that would involve a coke or gatorade only!

    I'd say perhaps after 1900 Daily Debrief would be a good time. Stay in touch. Shoot me a PM and I'll send along my number. We can text during Race Week.

    If you're attending PRS, I'll have more time during the day. I help out Race Control in the tower but with no performers I'll have more down time.

    Cheers,
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Boss View Post
    As we approach PRS 2021 it strikes me that this year represents a critical crossroads in the history of the event.

    As has been established over decades in the aviation industry, what puts butts in the bleachers is (i) military jet teams, (ii), single ship demos, (iii) warbirds demos, and from there on down. Like it or not, air racing, in the broader context, does not pay all the bills for Reno. Ask yourself, how long would Reno survive in its current form as just an air racing event?

    Reno 2021 has both (i) and (ii) (USAF Tbirds and F-22 Raptor) and in that regard we are fortunate. The following year Reno will not host a military jet team. Whether or not we can score a single ship or warbird act (when's the last time you saw one) is TBD. Chances are good but one never knows.

    Point being, 2021 represents a huge milestone on many levels. The financial pressures are being paired with encroachment pressues (residential and commercial) as a one-two punch on the long-term future of Reno.

    If you plan on attending and you're not bringing two or three newbies to Reno, aks yourself why. There is a very real chance that if 2021 is not a financial success, 2022 is in serious jeopardy.

    Yeah, I know. Been hearing that for a number of years. Fact is...it's NEVER been more real.
    I don't know how many airshows have had a donation campaign that was as successful as Reno's. Plenty of thanks to Trent Palmer for his part in the campaign, and I'm curious if his social media reach is going to help with attendance. There were thousands of people that donated for the very slim chance of winning Trent's prize so there still is love for the sport far and wide. Some of those people might end up as butts in the seats this year as well. A good social media following is HUGE these days and having STOL at Reno is hopefully a game changer.

    Regarding 2022 performers, as long as there isn't government interference with military demo funding, I don't see any issues with Reno being able to grab a USAF/Navy combo of 2 single-ship demo teams without having the Tbirds/Blues. The F-35 either the USAF or Navy team (since Reno hasn't had it yet as 2020 never happened), along with either the Rhino Demo, C-17 demo (people REALLY love this demo), or something else like the F-16 would be a fantastic lineup.
    *My Air Race Site*

    Reno from '99 to '19

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    Quote Originally Posted by GRNDP51 View Post
    I don't know how many airshows have had a donation campaign that was as successful as Reno's. Plenty of thanks to Trent Palmer for his part in the campaign, and I'm curious if his social media reach is going to help with attendance. There were thousands of people that donated for the very slim chance of winning Trent's prize so there still is love for the sport far and wide. Some of those people might end up as butts in the seats this year as well. A good social media following is HUGE these days and having STOL at Reno is hopefully a game changer.

    Regarding 2022 performers, as long as there isn't government interference with military demo funding, I don't see any issues with Reno being able to grab a USAF/Navy combo of 2 single-ship demo teams without having the Tbirds/Blues. The F-35 either the USAF or Navy team (since Reno hasn't had it yet as 2020 never happened), along with either the Rhino Demo, C-17 demo (people REALLY love this demo), or something else like the F-16 would be a fantastic lineup.
    No doubt about that! What Trent Palmer pulled off was huge. He almost single-handedly ensured the "Save the Races" coffers were topped-off. And one can hope that as a result of that campaign it translates to butts in the bleachers. I'd like to see more around RARA's social media efforts. I'm not on FB so can't speak to their presence there. They occassionally post to Instagram. The RARA website is woefully out of date.

    As for marketing...for example, I reached out to RARA's marketing folks and asked the following: The title sponsor, Stihl, does a fair amount of advertising on television. Why don't they place the RARA logo at the bottom of the slide shown in the last five seconds of their ads and a statement like "Title Sponsor of the Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show, Septermber 16-19 2021 in Reno, NV USA." The response I got back from the marketing folks was, "Hey, that's a great idea! Let us investigate and get back to you." Wait...what? This never crossed your mind? How is that not a win-win for Stihl and RARA? I'm no marketing guru by any stretch but I can't believe that would be an expensive process and the ROI prospects would seem substantial. But....I could be wrong.

    As for performers in 2022 all of those are on the table. We submit the DoD form every July 1 and request, essentially, everything. As do most all other complex airshows. I remain hopeful we can get the Birds and Blues on an even/odd year rotation. Blues were last here in 2016. Reasons vary but are the usual ones.

    No doubt we'll grab something painted gray performing!
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    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    A POINT OF CLARIFICATION:

    When I referenced "RARA's marketing folks" I was NOT referring to RARA personnel.

    It was a reference to the firm RARA hired to manage their marketing.

    As you can imagine RARA is running on a very limited staff with folks wearing mulitiple hats.

    I didn't mean to throw anyone under the bus here...just pointing out what seemed to be a fairly straight-forward opportunity.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    The thing that truly scares me is another surge. I'm watching sports with crowds, people wearing their masks under their noses rather than over.. In Oregon, we're heading the wrong way and the Gov is talking about closing down again...

    WHAT IF!

    People continue to resist getting the vaccine get careless and we head way backwards...

    Money gets spent...
    Crowds can't come...

    It'd be the end for sure this time...

    I just hope everyone uses their common sense and we can actually get this behind us~
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    Quote Originally Posted by AAFO_WSagar View Post
    The thing that truly scares me is another surge. I'm watching sports with crowds, people wearing their masks under their noses rather than over.. In Oregon, we're heading the wrong way and the Gov is talking about closing down again...

    WHAT IF!

    People continue to resist getting the vaccine get careless and we head way backwards...

    Money gets spent...
    Crowds can't come...

    It'd be the end for sure this time...

    I just hope everyone uses their common sense and we can actually get this behind us~
    RANT ALERT!:

    Sounds as though we can expect guidance for CDC (such as it has been) regarding outdoor gatherings. Basically, if you're fully vaccinated the mask is pointless and distancing will not be a major issue. Also keep in mind that those who have already been infected have developed antibodies so as we move closer to "herd immunity", they will be factored in.

    The thing we have to keep in mind too is we shoudn't get wrapped around the axle about case numbers rising in the general context. In general those are younger folks who tend to have no underlying health conditions and will more than likely be asymptomatic or suffer light effects. Thus also building the herd immunity. The critical numbers are related to hospitalizations and deaths. And those are treanding down on a weekly basis. According to John Hopkins Director of Immunizations, where we are now is essentially like a light to moderate flu season. Is that worth shutting down over? Do we shut down over flu season? Were we walking around with masks three years ago when the flu killed 35K and hospitalized 450K people? Are we say those numbers of deaths weren't significant enough to warrant drastic measures (setting aside the unconstitutionality of the matter). That's little comfort for folks who lost family to the flu. And who, BTW, were prohibited from visiting them in the hospital or attending their funerals.

    Yes, I get that this is Wuhan crap is a different animal and early on we didn't know too much about it. Drastic times, drastic measures. Understood. But that was 16 months ago. A lot has changed...include our resident infectious disease experts advice.

    People will resist getting vaccinated for a variety of reasons. That's their choice to make. For some of them (those who possess the anti-bodies already due to previous infection), getting vaccinated may actual pose a health risk. Others simply refuse due to the nature of the development of the vaccine.

    I've had both Pfizers...no side effects. And frankly, I think it sends the wrong message to see our leaders and others who have been fully vaccinated walking around wearing a mask. They espouse the virture of the efficacy of the vaccine and encourage everyone to get the shot...but they still sport the mask in almost every environment. What kind of message does that send? Where is the incentive to get the shots? Does the vaccine work or doesn't it?

    End of the day, with several months ahead of us and hospitalizations and deaths trending in right direction, almost 30% of entire US population fully vaccinated, and averaging 2.7 million vaccines per day, I don't see this being an issue that will shut the event down.

    That is, barring some state official or unelected bureaucrats ignoring the science. There is a mountain of evidence that shows this bug trasmits most effectively in poorly ventilated indoor environments.

    I was informed last week that my show in Seattle has been cancelled due to the governors incredibly restrictive guidelines. Essentially no outdoor event can have more than 9000 people in attendance and they have to be spread of 15 acres. That's one person per every 72 square feet...let that sink in. One Person/72sf. Where is the science supporting that ridiculous conclusion?

    More than anything...it's knuckleheaded government officials decisions that worry me...not the virus.

    OK...soap box back under the desk...
    Last edited by Air Boss; 04-26-2021 at 09:13 PM.
    Owen Ashurst
    Performer Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    http://airbossone.com/

  10. #10

    Default Re: 2021 EXPECTATIONS - A CAUTIONARY TALE

    I?m not worried about covid closing the races. We are well on our way down the vax path with more than half of adults had at least first dose. At the current rate, this has all adults with a first dose by early august. The rate will tail off a bit, sure, but we will be in pretty good shape in the US by September.

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