Committee seeks to keep air show from being grounded

The Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival Committee made its case for receiving funding for future events during last week’s Truckee Tahoe Airport Board of Directors meeting.

David Love, the air show’s director of education programs, led the presentation, which focused on the benefits of the free annual festival, which is among the largest family friendly events that take place annually in the region.

The airport board has made no decision about having the 2022 air show.

Love said in past years the air show has attracted as many as 18,000 people, and without an agreement in place for future shows, organizers have collected roughly 900 signatures in support of continuing the event. Past air shows have included aerial displays, static attractions, a STEM expo, speakers, and other programming designed to engage youngsters in aviation.

This year’s air show, scheduled for Sept. 11, was canceled in July following a fatal plane crash near the airport.

During last week’s meeting, Love touted the air show’s dedication to safety, which earned the festival a 2018 International Council of Airshows Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Emergency Response. Safety measures during shows include ground teams, medical staff, and air boxes for pilots, which prohibit flights over people on the ground.

Board Vice President David Diamond questioned the effectiveness of using an air box if something mechanically were to go wrong with a plane.

Budgetary concerns were also a key issue brought up by the board. Past air shows were budgeted at $250,000, with $66,000 going directly to youth and children’s programs. EAA Young Eagles, KidZone Museum, and Truckee Optimist each receive an equal portion of the $66,000. Future costs are estimated to increase the budget for the show to up to $275,000. The airport has an operating budget of $18.9 million for the 2021 fiscal year.

Board Member Mary Hetherington asked whether money would be more appropriately spent on a year-round program like the KidZone Museum rather than a single event. Additionally, Hetherington brought up the festival’s allocation of funds, which have budgeted $29,000 for accommodations and car rentals for performers.

The board also brought up potential changes to the air show, including whether it might be better making the event static with no performances in the air.

Ultimately, Love said the committee would like to work with the airport board to prepare a budget and return with a final proposal in December or January to continue the air show, possibly in June.

“With a small ad hoc committee, we can come up with a cogent plan that we think can be successful and be valuable and showcase this airport,” said Love. “Secondly, once you have a budgetary sense, we certainly will work hard to try and produce an air show most economically, but we really think the two components — the flying component and the family festival — are integral to having that wonderful day.”

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User