Popular Air Race 'Cancellation' Riles Experimental Community
ANN is still gathering the details... but despite the lack of a formal note from EAA (at least to ANN), it appears that the EAA has killed off its support and long-standing relationship with a very popular cross country air race known as the AirVenture Cup.
Founded in 1997, the EAA AirVenture Cup was "dedicated to aviation advocacy and preserving the rich heritage of cross-country air racing in the United States. The race is held annually in advance of EAA Airventure, and provides pilots with a platform to safely compete against other aircraft builders and new technologies."
The race has 11 classes of aircraft, all homebuilt aircraft, some of which reach speeds as high as 400 mph. The competition is a timed race, meaning that each aircraft takes off individually and flies the course -- racing to achieve the best time. The times are then used to place winners according to class, which are then announced at the Awards Banquet that same evening in Oshkosh. This year’s race was to have commenced in Mitchell, SD (KMHE) and ended in West Bend, WI (KETB), with checkpoints in Sheldon, IA (KSHL) and Pocahontas, IA (KPOH), totaling 450 miles.
According to sources quoted on a number of experimental message boards, Homebuilders Community Manager Chad Jensen has reported that, "We’ve had several conversations about the continuation of the use of EAA and AirVenture with the Cup race. With direction set from the top, and in light of the general public concern for anything related to air racing, EAA will no longer be associated with air racing in any form going forward. Thank you for your patience allowing us to work through this decision. We look forward to and thank you for your volunteer efforts."
While the reason for the decision appears to have its foundation in the tragic consequences of the 2011 Unlimited Air Race accident at Reno, the decision is apparently not sitting well with the experimental aircraft community. Comments on the VansAirForce.net message board were overtly negative, with a number of persons indicating the decision indicating an erosion of dedication to sport aviation by the EAA, such as the comment made by RV-8 Pilot Jon Ross, who noted that, "Frankly, I feel like I have been kicked in the teeth by this."
A number of other comments were even more critical as the matter was discussed on the VansAirForce and Canard Aviation message boards.
ANN has emails into EAA for more info and some explanation of the matter... we'll report back to you as soon as they respond.