Neighborhood List Servs Ablaze About Helicopter Flights

Neighborhood List Servs Ablaze About Helicopter Flights

[image courtesy of]

As could be predicted, neighborhoods surrounding Downtown are in high gear with folks excitedly complaining about the new sound of choppers overhead today. In my Travis Heights community in SoCo, our South River City Citizens (SRCC) list serv (and, therefore, my inbox) is filling up with unhappy chatter. I just checked in with the ABIA Aviation “Noise & Emissions Office” (never knew there was such a thing) and the phone lines are on fire.

So I finally couldn’t take it any more and posted the following on our SRCC site. Maybe those of you who agree can share similar thoughts with others.

“My two cents: How about everybody reposition your thinking to something like this…

“Wow! Isn’t it great to have this amazing new event in Austin… positively showcasing our wonderful city to the world… providing jobs to thousands of Austinites, supporting our local businesses, and pouring tens of millions of dollars into our local economy?

“I think it’s all a matter of perspective. I am hearing the choppers too, right along with y’all. But what I hear are the motors of economic prosperity, not ‘noise’. I am perfectly willing to put up with a few days of new Austin Weirdness to receive the benefits of all the good things that come along with it!

“In my mind’s eye, I am picturing every passing helicopter overhead to be carrying a giant bucket of cash — kinda like you see when the choppers are dousing a forest fire with water — and they are over here dumping it all over our city. Kachinggggggg!

“And when you need a break from these new sounds, my guaranteed recommended solution is: a pair of headphones, a soothing classical music playlist on Spotify (or whatever your musical indulgence may be), and a nice hot cup of zen tea.

“We can survive this neighbors, we really can!”

Cheers mates,
–Fernando of the Hood


About Fred Schmidt

Fred Schmidt is co-owner, with wife and business partner, Shelley Meyer, of longtime Downtown Austin retail stores Wild About Music Art & Gift Gallery (26 years) on Congress Ave, and Toy Joy (29 years) and Austin Rocks (5 years) in the 2nd Street District. Concurrently he is also Director of International Affairs at Capital Factory, Austin’s premier incubator/accelerator facility for startups, already located in the proposed new Innovation District in the northeast quadrant of Downtown. He has served as a past board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA), the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA), and 6ixth Street Austin. He thinks this is one of the best places in the world to live, work and play! Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not reflect the positions of any affiliated organizations.


  1. The late night chopper(s) were a different issue altogether — the “normal” kind: police on a manhunt. Went on for quite some time. Also involved a reported couple dozen cruisers on the ground as they combed the Travis Heights neighborhood and blocked off streets. Crime, B&E’s/theft mostly, have been at alarmingly high levels this year in the neighborhoods off IH-35. Had one the prior evening as well.

  2. OK…I can agree with the general spirit of the post, but it’s now 11:30pm and there is still a helicopter going over my house every 2-3 minutes. Helicopters may be a necessary evil to get people (racers and team members in particular) to the track and back. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to shut down the racket at 9pm or so, which is well over 5 hours after the event wrapped up for the day. It’s possible to be both accommodating hosts AND respectful of residents’ lives.

  3. Lance Hunter says

    Sadly, we’re probably just going to have to get used to it. (The complaining, that is.) There’s going to be a lot of loud, cranky NIMBY types moaning for the next couple of years during F1. Eventually, they’ll sound as absurd and behind-the-times as the people who complain about SXSW.

  4. Didn’t work. I still see our fine city over-run by people I don’t want here.

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