Technology

FAA: No Drones at the Super Bowl

Yes, there’s a hashtag: #nodronezone

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman points skyward.
National Journal
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Kaveh Waddell
Jan. 28, 2015, 11:35 a.m.

The Fed­er­al Avi­ation Ad­min­is­tra­tion wants to make sure foot­balls are the only fly­ing ob­jects at the Uni­versity of Phoenix Sta­di­um in Ari­zona this Sunday.

Drones aren’t al­lowed at the Su­per Bowl game Sunday, the FAA re­minded people Wed­nes­day. “If you want to see video of the Big Game, watch it on TV. Leave your drone at home.”

The agency bans any “un­au­thor­ized air­craft”—that in­cludes the drone you bought at Ra­dio Shack last week—from fly­ing over many ma­jor sport­ing events, in­clud­ing most NFL games, col­lege foot­ball games in sta­di­ums that seat more than 30,000, and Ma­jor League Base­ball games.

A short video ac­com­pan­ied the FAA an­nounce­ment:

The sta­di­um has a re­tract­able roof, but there are many aer­i­al haz­ards above a foot­ball field that could prove fatal to a small, light drone should one get in­side: a way­ward field goal kick could eas­ily down a drone (po­ten­tially draw­ing the ire of more than 100 mil­lion fans), as could sev­er­al of the TV cam­er­as known as Skyca­ms that are con­trolled by cables above the field.

But per­haps more threat­en­ing are the FAA’s pen­al­ties for fly­ing over a re­stric­ted space such as a Su­per Bowl sta­di­um. Fly­ing an un­au­thor­ized air­craft over Sunday’s game could get you ar­res­ted, land you in pris­on, or leave you fa­cing civil pen­al­ties for “care­less and reck­less” op­er­a­tion of an air­craft.

In Septem­ber, po­lice ar­res­ted a stu­dent at the Uni­versity of Texas (Aus­tin) for fly­ing a drone over a home game. And a man who flew a drone in­to a Car­o­lina Pan­thers game in Char­lotte, N.C., sparked an FAA in­vest­ig­a­tion in Oc­to­ber.

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