National Reno Air Races Embraces 50th Birthday

STEAD, Nev. (AP) -- Organizers are embracing the 50th anniversary of the Reno National Championship Air Races two years after a tragic crash that killed 11 people and injured scores more.

Reno Air Racing Association President Mike Houghton says he expects total weeklong attendance of 200,000 at the one-of-a-kind event that runs through Sunday at Reno-Stead Airport.

The competition's future looked bleak after the deadly crash in 2011. Ten spectators and pilot Jimmy Leeward were killed when his P-51 Mustang slammed into a seating area during competition.

Race organizers satisfied Federal Aviation Administration concerns by adding safety precautions last year.

They also persuaded state tourism officials to sponsor the competition and help cover insurance costs that had doubled after the accident.


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