Gizmodo: "The FAA's Drone Ban at the Super Bowl is Absurd"

The FAA's Drone Ban at the Super Bowl Is Absurd

From Gizmodo:

You may have heard about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) quietly declaring that this year's Super Bowl will be a "no drone zone." You may not have heard just how big that no drone zone will be. It's 60 miles wide. The no drone zone is larger than the city of Phoenix. Seems a little bit absurd, huh?

That's because it's totally absurd.

The FAA is establishing what's called a temporary flight restriction that consists of several circles around the University of Phoenix stadium, where Sunday's big game is going down. The firsthas a 10-mile radius "in which general aviation aircraft, media, banner towers, blimps and unmanned aircraft will be prohibited." The second ring's radius extends 30 miles from the stadium and prohibits all aircraft that don't have a set flight plan, transponders on board, or two-way communication with air traffic control. Drones of any shape or size won't be allowed in either ring.

Just in case you were wondering what that 30-mile radius would look like in Phoenix:

By the way, there are already some no-fly zones in the Phoenix area, including two airports and an Air Force base. Those zones are teeny tiny compared to the Super Bowl's no drone zone, though:

The FAA's Drone Ban at the Super Bowl Is Absurd

And for context, this is what a 30-mile radius would look like in Washington DC, where DJI recently grounded its drones after a drunk government employee flew his Phantom onto the White House lawn. The zone would reach almost all the way to Baltimore:

The FAA's Drone Ban at the Super Bowl Is Absurd

Obviously, there are a lot of major safety concerns surrounding the Super Bowl. The FAA is not wrong for banning flying robots at such a high profile event, one that will be attended by tens of thousands and watched live by millions more. But imposing such a strict ban sends a message that the FAA is content to blow drone-related rules entirely out of proportion. This is disconcerting as the agency finalizes regulations on commercial drones, regulations that are reportedly pretty harsh and would require drone operators to get pilot licenses.

Nobody wants anything to go wrong at the Super Bowl. But if you really think about it, the FAA is setting a precedent that it will shut down the skies to even the smallest aircraft whenever it wants. Some Average Joe in Scottsdale—which is miles and miles away from the stadium—who decides to take his Parrot Bebop for a spin during Super Bowl stands to get in deep trouble for violating the FAA's absurdly large flight restriction.

The Super Bowl is a great American tradition. But this excessive ban doesn't sound very American at all. [FAA]

Views: 2224

Comment by Don LeRoi on February 2, 2015 at 6:38am

"I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."

There are plenty of reasons to be upset with the FAA's handling of sUAS regulations (or lack of).  This is not one of them.

Comment by Austin Laws on February 2, 2015 at 8:43am

The way certain drone pilots behave im not surprised they banned them. And to be honest its the right choice to make personally.

Comment by John Moore on February 2, 2015 at 9:38am

I don't like this mostly because rules like this tend to spread and become permanent because they sound reasonable at first and only affect a small minority of people. Before you know it every major city will have a no fly zone like this and the only place left to fly will be in the middle of nowhere (not in national parks though because that's illegal too).

This reminds me of those pedophile exclusion zones many towns have. It sounds perfectly reasonable to not allow convicted sex offenders to live near schools but as those exclusion zones spread the places those people could live continued to shrink until there was no other choice but for them to go underground which is the worst case scenario.

Comment by TBD on February 2, 2015 at 10:05am
@Lockhart Never underestimate the stupidity of bureaucrats and politicians. They don't seem to realize that laws only work on those who follow them. It's the same problem with gun control legislation.
Comment by Ed Colson on February 2, 2015 at 11:25am

Guys, I think this is the first time you have been introduced to the FAA and to TFR's ( Temporary Flight Restrictions). These have ALWAYS existed at high profile events for at least the last 15 years. This maybe something new to you guys, but it's old news to all of us. 

Comment by Pedals2Paddles on February 2, 2015 at 11:46am

The law was written before these devices existed. Unfortunately the minority of morons in the hobby commit high profile incidents.  And that's what gets the grease.

Comment by Sgt Ric on February 2, 2015 at 11:57am

Many of the members here follow the twitter feed for TRF info here:

Comment by John McGrath on February 2, 2015 at 12:30pm
I see no problem with the no fly zone. Keeps all the little kids that post you tube videos of their hobby uav's flying at 8 thousand feet checked. If people would of had more sense here in the U.S. and were responsible about their hobby usage of these type of aircraft there might not be the problem we have with the FAA right now.


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