You know the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the “Racing Capital of the World.” But this week for the Red Bull Air Race, it’s also an airport.
The Indiana Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation has certified IMS as a private-use airport from now through Oct. 4, covering the weekend of the inaugural Red Bull Air Race. The world’s best pilots will be taking off and landing right next to their race course, which doesn’t happen everywhere on the Red Bull Air Race calendar.
A lot went into making that possible.
Hulman Boulevard, dedicated as “Hulman Runway” for the event, is the main runway for the pilots and designated in air-traffic parlance as RB 18/36. The markings on the runway were made with careful consideration by INDOT; this wasn’t like painting of lines on a street.
Antennas for communication with pilots are spread throughout the facility by the Red Bull Aviation Team. The top floors of the Panasonic Pagoda are a full-fledged FAA control tower, clearing the planes while keeping the skies clear above. And during the event, the planes are residing in specially-built hangars north of the Pagoda and behind the Tower Terrace grandstands. Call it Gasoline Alley for the jet set.
And the best part about the “Indianapolis Motor Speedway Airport”? There will be no long TSA lines, lost luggage or delayed flights from Newark. Just the incredible show that is the Red Bull Air Race.