I'll preface this by saying I'm not a pilot so I don't know much about Air Traffic Control.
How does Air Traffic Control work for Red Bull air races? Does:
(1) each plane taking off need to contact the local airport's ATC and let them know what they plan on doing/request permission for it, or
(2) do the event organizers schedule a block of time and airspace with ATC and take care of managing that block by themselves?
The latter seems feasible from my (non-pilot) perspective:
- there's only one plane at a time on course (easy to manage)
- it's a pretty well defined area that they'll be staying within.
It would help the event by:
- perhaps allowing some of the long-range communication systems to be removed from the airplanes (reducing weight - useful for racing)
- give the pilots fewer things to think about prior to their run on the course
- transferring the control of take-offs and landings to the organizers makes it easier for them to stay on schedule
I think there would be advantages for them to do it the second way, and I think it would be technically possible to safely do it that way. However, it's not what I think is "standard procedure" and I wonder if they strayed from standards for their events' organization.
So are they doing it the first or second way? If they're doing it the first way, why? It seems inefficient, could they do it the second way (legality/regulation -wise)? Did I miss something that would make method (2) more trouble than it's worth? Or maybe they're doing it some other way I didn't think about?