Updated 11/09/2012 09:48 AM
Temporary helipads approved for F1
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Two temporary helipads were approved for use during next weekend's United States Grand Prix.
Officials with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport approved the stops at 901 South MoPac Expressway, near Barton Skyway, and 300 South Congress Avenue.
The sites were approved with a few restrictions. They'll only operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Council Member Laura Morrison tried to pass two emergency measures Thursday that would limit the number of landings per helistop permit to 18.
Both permits originally asked for 100 take-offs.
"I just don't think it's reasonable for anyone in the City of Austin to be considering landing and taking off every four minutes for three days,” Council Member Morrison said. “That's ridiculous."
Her measures would have also taken into account "noise sensitive areas" within a 4,000-foot radius.
"Let's get some reasonable limits in place right now, which we can do by changing the code tonight," Morrison said.
ABIA's Jim Halbrook says the location near MoPac and Barton Skyway will only be allowed 46 take-offs Sunday. Another 20 take-offs will be allowed from atop the Embassy Suites parking garage near South Congress and Riverside Drive.
"One of the helistops has been reduced by 57-percent on Sunday,” Jim Halbrook, ABIA spokesperson, said. “The other one by approximately 70-percent on Sunday as well."
"We are south of the river in a very commercial area. It's easy, easy access from here," Rene Banglesdorf, Charlie Bravo Charters CEO, said.
Banglesdorf has the contract with Circuit of The Americas to arrange all charter flights to the track race weekend. She says the bulk will be based out of several nearby airports, including ABIA.
City officials say pilots must try to avoid neighborhoods to minimize the noise and the impact on those not being flown to the race.
Before the race event kicks off on Nov. 16, there will be training flights in and out of the sites.
The city will also install noise monitoring equipment near the MoPac Expressway site to see how the flights would impact the surrounding area.