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Barton Hills says ‘no’ to F1 commuter helicopter travel

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TWC News: Barton Hills says ‘no’ to F1 commuter helicopter travel
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Formula One is right around the corner, but final details are still in the works surrounding the use of commuter helicopters for race fans.

The Barton Hills Neighborhood Association is no stranger to speaking out at city hall. This time, they are asking city leaders to say no to an application for a temporary helipad during November’s inaugural Grand Prix race.

"I want the city of Austin to find an alternate landing site for noisy helicopters that does not affect quiet residential areas," Barton Hills Neighborhood Association President John Luther said.

According to an application currently under review by the Federal Aviation Administration, commuter helicopters could be landing at 901 South MoPac near Barton Skyway.

Barton Oaks building 3 is the property under review. City leaders and race executives estimate there could be as many as 70 flights a day during F1.

Temporary flight restrictions will be in effect beginning one hour before the start of the inaugural Grand Prix event on Friday, Nov. 16, and ending one hour after the final race day, Sunday, Nov. 18. That's three days of low-flying travel in uncharted territory for the City of Austin.

Now, folks in the 78704 and beyond are sharing their worries.

"There's a lot of concern in the community and we even heard from the Mayor of Rollingwood this weekend who said, 'Serious concerns, doesn't seem appropriate,' and I agree,” Council Member Laura Morrison said.

If the FAA returns a letter of "No Objection," the city's Aviation has to sign off on the application as well.

Helicopter rides to and from the racetrack will cost about $500. As of last check, the FAA had not approved any temporary helipads in and around Austin. One has already been turned down for Zilker Park.

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