On Friday, November 13, I hopped on yet another friendly Southwest Air flight from Chicago to Austin, but first made a few stops in Kansas City and Dallas. This time the stops were welcomed because they allowed me to change seats (while waiting on new passengers to board the plane) and grill my Pilot on how we would be flying into Austin. I texted Kevin to find out exactly where the future F1US site was located geographically in relation to the airport. He quickly responded and then I pulled the pilot aside for a rather abnormal question:
“So, I have a really technical question. Say I wanted to look out the window on our descent into Austin and see a parcel of land located about a mile and a half southeast of the airport. What side of the plane should I be sitting on?” <insert smile and charm>
The pilot thought for about 2.5 seconds and then responded, very matter-of-factly, yet somewhat puzzled, “On the right side.”
I thanked him and took my seat in 1F – the window seat on the right side of the plane. When we were taking off from Dallas we passed over the oldDallas Cowboys football stadium – the one that has a retractable roof. Legend has it that Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys team owner) wanted the roof to open so that "God could watch his team play."
That’s how American football works in Texas – kids start playing at age 9 and don’t stop until college or later if they’re lucky.
It’s interesting to note that HKS Architects designed the new Cowboys stadium and they’re the architects joining Herman Tilkke for design of the Austin track and site.
Here is a promo video of the new Cowboys stadium. Although it is really poor quality, you can start to get a feel for HKS Architect's work. How do you think they will incorporate their work with Hermann Tilke?
(IMHO HKS has a better high quality flash video on their company website: HKS Sports)
Though about 200 miles south of Dallas, the flight to Austin is a quick one, and about thirty five minutes later we were making our descent into Austin Bergstrom International Airport. We swung out to the southeast and then made a sharp hairpin turn to enter the airport headed north. My seat on the right side of the plane allowed me to look out the window, an east-facig view, and setup for the perfect shot of the site and future track location; a view no one has shared with fans until now. I was so excited about the idea of getting a closer look that I started snapping pictures as we got closer to the airport and to my surprise, the flight path gave me a perfect view of the site. It's safe to say that future passengers flying into Austin from the south will pass above the track and have a perfect view of this new Austin icon. Pretty cool, eh?
The following diagram shows the flight path we took while approaching Austin and the direction of my camera for each of the track site images. In total, four of the images I took give a perfect view of the site and should help you understand the terrain and location a bit better (more images in the Gallery).