Airports in region saw more traffic also
Austin Executive Airport near Pflugerville had about 300 airplanes for the weekend, up from about 120 on a normal weekend, Executive Director Andrew Perry said.
Perry also estimated that the airport had about 160 helicopter takeoffs and landings Friday through Sunday.
The six helicopter landing areas at Circuit of the Americas saw about 2,100 takeoffs and landings throughout the weekend, said Steve Henry, owner of Fort Worth-based Henry Avia- tion, who was hired by circuit organizers to run the helicopter operation.
Those aircraft came from most of the area’s airports, several temporary and private locations as well as Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth, he said.
Helicopters from Georgetown-based Charlie Bravo Aviation landed at the circuit about 440 times, coming from locations around the area, CEO Rene Banglesdorf said.
McRae Aviation, which flew two helicopters out of a temporary location off East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, landed at the circuit about 150 times throughout the weekend, office manager Bethany Ligon said.
Austin-based McRae initially planned to use a temporary location off South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) just south of the river, but moved its base of operations after city officials restricted landings past 6 p.m., in part because of concerns from nearby residents.
“The city placed limitations on the hours of operation so that we would have been able to get our customers to the track but not back out,” Ligon said. “We were forced to change location last minute in order to accommodate our customer’s needs.”
Ligon and Banglesdorf said they’re fine-tuning the lessons they learned for future events, but called the weekend a success, particularly in terms of safety.
“If you saw all the helicopter traffic in the afternoon, about 4 p.m. in the afternoon on Sunday, and knew how many were in the air in a very small area, it’s not surprising — but definitely something for which to be thankful,” Banglesdorf said. “There were a lot of professional pilots, a lot of hurry up and wait. Things can happen and nothing did.”