2014 RENO AIR RACES
RENO AIR RACE ASSOCIATION (RARA)
The appointment of Mike Major as Chairman for 2014 has brought significant changes to RARA. To streamline strategic decision making Mike first has reduced the Board of directors from 30 to 7-9 members. He is committed to reducing costs while generating more sponsorship. Unlike past leadership, he recognizes the value of TV, and will be working with various entities to expand coverage for the races.
For the long run Delaware Warbirds Racing sees this as a positive change in favor of the Fast Jets. We understand that Mike is not opposed to the Fast Jets. However, for 2014 RARA has elected to focus its efforts on building a new business base and will address the issue of speed in the future. So, for 2014 there will be no Fast Jets at all, including Pete Zaccagnino’s 2013 champion L-29 and Rick Vandam’s R2D2 L-39.
RACING JETS INC. (RJI)
Unfortunately, under its new leadership, RJI has taken some big steps backward. In barely more than a page, Jeff Turney’s November 15, 2013 letter itemized an incredible number of BOD actions that violate the RJI bylaws:
- Removed Steve Picatti from the BOD without cause
- Established a BOD membership with no representation from the Chairman of Aircraft Technical committee
- Created a new VP position on the BOD
- Appointed Phil Fogg to that position with no membership vote
- Eliminated the BOD position of Secretary/Treasurer (in 2013 this position was created also in violation without membership vote)
- Changed the member voting rights, penalizing owner/pilots
- Changed the corporate structure of RJI
- Changed RJI’s state of incorporation
Each of these actions violate the RJI Bylaws. The Bylaws allow for change like these but only after:
- Presentation to the membership by an RJI member (includes BOD members)
- Open discussion at the Annual Meeting
- Vote by the membership
- And ONLY for those proposals receiving a majority vote, presentation to the BOD for final vote and approval or disapproval
- Final vote by the BOD
The recent RJI actions demonstrate either a complete lack of understanding of governance or a complete disregard of the bylaws and the membership wishes. (does “Obama” come to mind here?). To the extent it can, Warbirds of Delaware intends to disregard these changes until ratified by the membership, as required.
In addition, the BOD has been guilty of serious lack of professionalism. Just one example is its treatment of Curt Brown, who had to read about his removal from the BOD “in the newspaper”.
His term had expired, but while many of us have contributed much to the Jet Class, no one has done as much as Curt. Yet the November newsletter said absolutely nothing about his leaving and no BOD member gave him the courtesy of a phone call.. He deserves better. In that light we’d like to list some of his accomplishments here.
- Holds absolute course speed record
- Holds Gold Race speed record
- Has won 5 races in 13 years in two different a/c types, far more than anyone else
- Was a key member of the initial Class leadership for the first Jet Class in 2001
- Was a key member of the initial Class leadership for the current Jet Class, represented by RJI
- Was Director of Operations since 2007, seven of the Jets’ thirteen years
- Ran PRS since 2007, seven of the Jets’ thirteen years
- Created the PRS syllabus
- Passed the FAA’s first mandatory Jet Class certifications
- Personally certified all current racers except one
- Worked closely with RARA and the FAA after the Morehouse crash to ensure Class survival
- Holds the complete confidence of General Ron Fogleman, one of the most influential members of the RARA BOD
Second, the RJI BOD was way too quick to roll over and adopt the RARA 2014 position on banning all Fast Jets. This change was completely unnecessary. RJI rules clearly state that in event of conflict, RARA and/or FAA rules prevail. This will make bringing the Fast Jets back that much harder.
Why did the BOD make this rule change? With the above actions the BOD now has a super majority of 4 stock L-39 members. When the Fast Jets had a majority, the BOD had to deal with all those who screamed “CONFLICT OF INTEREST!”, but we won’t go down that pathway here.
All these actions do not bode well for the future of RJI. The format has effectively been reduced back to stock L-39’s, which in RARA marketing survey’s have ranked second to last in racing popularity, as opposed to second when the Fast Jets were racing. More importantly, the RJI BOD is in danger of leading the Class into the same chaos that caused RARA to de-sanction the original Jet Class after the 2006 races.
See you in September. GO SLUGGO!