esterday was a rare occasion when northwest winds - the culprits behind numerous delays at Boston's Logan International Airport and the justification for the Massachusetts Port Authority's desire to build a new runway - actually helped air traffic around Boston.
Blimps, banner-towing airplanes, and helicopters filled the skies for bird's-eye views of the Tall Ships, seizing a marketing opportunity to reach millions of spectators.
But the northwest winds led Logan controllers to redirect air traffic away from the ships. Arriving jets flew in over the Atlantic and landed on Runway 33L; departing flights used Runway 27.
''The weather and wind today certainly helped us manage this traffic above the harbor,'' said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters, who said the skies were ''a little more intense'' than the air traffic during Red Sox games.
One air traffic controller in the Boston TRACON was assigned to coordinate the additional traffic. TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) is an FAA facility at Logan in which air traffic controllers handle flights from 35 miles out until just before they land.
The airspace in which the blimps, banner planes, and helicopters were operating is managed by air traffic controllers because it is so busy, even though the clear skies were perfect for pilots to fly by visual flight rules.
Pilots flying in and out of Logan are frequently warned about ships as obstructions, but yesterday would have been even more of a challenge, with Tall Ship masts sailing past the ends of runways for much of the day.
To avoid that, officials with the FAA and Massport, which owns and operates Logan, said they wanted to avoid using the two north-south runways, which are the most efficient but require planes to take off or descend over the harbor channel.
''The preferred runway combination was 33 and 27, and it ended up being a perfect weather day,'' Massport Aviation director Thomas Kinton said.