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Turning Laps In The Sky For Austin F1

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:06 PM CDT

With the inaugural day of Formula One kicking off at Circuit of the Americas, it was more than just high-octane cars doing laps.  Helicopter Charter Companies were busy ferrying race fans to the first day of practice at the track.  Charlie Bravo Charter is the exclusive charter service for the Formula One event at the track, and they have ramped up their fleet in anticipation of the weekend. 

Rene Banglesdorf, the CEO, says, “Being able to schedule helicopters to pick up passengers as they’re coming in, and have them feel like their receiving priority treatment is, I believe, probably going to be our biggest challenge over the weekend.”  The company has already sold-out over 500 round trip flights during the next three days, with half of those booked by Texans.

Travis Hess is a Houston based helicopter pilot who was hired specifically for this event.  He describes a well-coordinated aerial network of routes to and from the track, where each aircraft flies to specific waypoints that correspond to landmarks on the ground, like the intersections of major highways.  Designated altitudes help separate the traffic -- inbound aircraft fly at 1,300 feet and outbound aircraft at 1,000 feet.  Each charter helicopter is also assigned a specific call sign and number.  Travis’s helicopter is Race 25. 

It’s a well-choreographed system to help ensure the safety of everyone, both in the air and on the ground.  But every good pilot keeps his head on a swivel.  As Travis approaches the track, the controller on the radio alerts him to two departing helicopters, but he has already seen them. As he carefully flies past and lands safely on the ground, he smiles and says, “And they call this the slow day.”

For more info on Charlie Bravo Charter visit: Laps In The Sky For Austin F1

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Race Schedule

Fri. Nov.16
Practice 1 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Practice 2 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Sat. Nov. 17
Practice 3 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Qualifying noon

Sun. Nov.18
Race 1 p.m.

Complete Schedule


  • Fri. Nov. 16: Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, Frank Erwin Center
  • Fri. Nov 16: Flo Rida with Cobra Starship, Austin Convention Center
  • Fri. Nov. 16: Juanes, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sat. Nov. 17: Enrique Iglesias with Nelly, Austin Convention Center
  • Sat. Nov. 17: Lupe Fiasco, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sun. Nov. 18: The Wallflowers, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sun. Nov. 18: Official After Party. Ghostland Observatory, Fitz & The Tantrums, The Wailers, DJ Jillian Ann and Tje Austin, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Fri. Nov. 16-Sun.18: 5 stages at outdoor Austin Fan Fest, schedule at
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