Super Bowl LIII fans who might have planned on getting close-ups and videos more using their drones are in for a disappointment since the airspace around Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta has been declared a “No Drone Zone” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Feb. 3, 2019, and during three days leading up to the event.
Looks like the FAA is playing some zone defense or playing it safe given the hundreds of thousands of football fans set to descend on Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.
Announcing a Temporary flying restriction (TFR) on game day that will prohibit drones within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the stadium up to 17,999 feet in altitude an FAA statement added that the TFR will be in place from 5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Some general aviation operations may be allowed within the TFR provided they meet specific security and operational requirements.
Hey @NFL @SuperBowl fans! Get your chips and dip ready. Get your jersey on. Fire up the grill. BUT leave your #drone at home, because the @MBStadium is a #NoDroneZone. Get more information at https://t.co/dDMxNt9vnp . #FlySafe #GoPats #LARams #SBLIII pic.twitter.com/Z2RBeglnED
— The FAA (@FAANews) January 28, 2019
The FAA will also restrict drone flights for one nautical mile around the stadium up to an altitude of 1,000 feet on January 31, February 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and on February 3 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at which time the TFR for the game takes effect.
The announcement comes as government and league officials grow increasingly wary of the threats posed by drones around airports and at major sporting events. Naturally so, given several reported instances of rouge drone menace-in 2017 for instance, a conspiracy theorist used a drone to drop leaflets over an NFL matchup near San Francisco, and a San Diego bartender landed a drone in Petco Park during a Padres game. At soccer matches across the pond, drones have delayed games and even started riots.
In September, the NFL came out in favor of a bill that would give the Justice and Homeland Security departments’ broader authority to counter drone threats at large gatherings like the Super Bowl. Sponsored by Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., The legislation however, was never put to a vote.
The FAA further said in the announcement that pilots found violating the temporary flight restriction could face criminal charges and be fined up to $20,000 or more. More details are available in the drone TFRs. Drone owners can check NOTAM numbers 9/5085 and 9/5087-5089. Also to find specific details of when and where they may fly Drone pilots can use the FAA’s B4UFly app too. To highlight the “No Drone Zone,” the FAA produced a 20-second video encouraging Super Bowl fans to bring their lucky jerseys, face paint and team spirit to the game – but leave their drones at home – because the stadium and the area around it is a No Drone Zone.
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