Beatrice Municipal Airport in the southeast corner of the corn-infested state of Nebraska normally gets a flight or two an hour. On Monday, they’re expecting more than 200.
As the solar eclipse looms ever closer, people are flocking to the best place to see it: the Midwest. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials aren’t expecting much disruption throughout most of the country, but they did install a temporary air-traffic tower to handle the increased traffic at Beatrice.
“We’re starting to see the people arrive,” Diana Smith, the airport manager, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg. “It’s probably the largest amount of traffic and aircraft that we’ve seen in one day.”
On top of installing four temporary towers in Oregon and Nebraska aviation authorities are also taking steps to make sure things like scientific balloons don’t enter plane pathways. An agency statement said the towers were placed in areas considered to be prime spots for viewing the eclipse.
Eclipse-specific notes released to pilots from the agency give instruction to be wary of increased scientific machinery in the sky. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in conjunction with researchers and colleges across the country, plans to launch more than 100 high altitude balloons equipped with a camera and other sensory technology.
In Beatrice, FAA controllers are stationed on a truck that’s normally used for plowing snow.
Adjustments are routine for the FAA, but just like driving a car, pilots can get distracted.
“Are you flying today?! Remember to focus on your operation,” the agency tweeted.
— The FAA (@FAANews) August 21, 2017
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