CAMARILLO, Calif., Aug. 19 (UPI) — Federal officials say they’ve refused permission for a California air show to host a controversial air race, citing concern over the safety of spectators.
The decision by the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits the Ultimate Air Race Championship from staging a high-speed race at the Camarillo Air Show this weekend, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
FAA officials questioned the safety of the slalom course where aircraft would fly around pylons at low altitudes, saying they were concerned about the distance between the aircraft and the estimated 40,000 spectators expected to attend the air show.
Show organizers disagreed, saying the event’s pilots are highly skilled and there is sufficient space to separate the viewing areas from the course.
Race organizer David G. Rigg lost his pilot’s license for a year and was convicted of reckless flying after buzzing the Santa Monica Pier in a Soviet-era military jet in late 2008, the Times reported.
The Ultimate Air Race Championship claimed repeatedly during the months leading up to the air show that it had obtained FAA approval for the race when it had not, the newspaper said.
“We are aware of the misrepresentations,” Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman in Los Angeles, said. “Our main concern, however, is to ensure that the air show is conducted in a completely safe manner.”