Events photography

Don’t fly a drone near the Super Bowl

This Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals in NFL Super Bowl LVI. While this is great news for the sports crowd, if you’re a drone pilot who loves flying around Los Angeles, it’ll also leave you grounded for the next few days.

If you don’t follow the Super Bowl-specific rules, you could have an uncomfortable conversation with your bank manager and most likely your lawyer as well. While ignoring the rules isn’t a viable defense, the Federal Aviation Administration has nonetheless taken to social media to warn pilots of the restrictions that will be in place over the weekend.

The FAA’s message to the public couldn’t be much more direct: fly within 30 miles of SoFi Stadium and not only will you lose your drone, but you’ll also face civil fines. departure at $30,000. And that might turn out to be the least of your worries, as there is also a risk of criminal prosecution.

It’s fairly common for the FAA to impose restrictions like these around major sporting events for public safety reasons, and an FAA representative told DroneLife that the previous two Super Bowls had similar exclusion zones. of 30 miles. The area covered by Sunday’s restriction is certainly large, in part because of the proximity to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In total, an area approximately 60 miles wide and extending from ground level to an elevation of nearly 18,000 feet will be affected.

LA traffic

Before COVID, LAX was the third busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, and even now it still ranks among the top five busiest passenger airports in the United States. SoFi Stadium is almost directly below the approach path and just 3.5 miles from LAX’s Runway 24L, and commercial traffic to the airport will continue as normal. Even before the start of Super Bowl LVI, drones are already interfering with Los Angeles traffic on a semi-regular basis, including a recent incident in which a drone came within 700 feet of an airliner.

And on top of all that, the event will also drive air traffic. There is a planned flyover by the Air Force Heritage Flight and at least two airships will also be nearby. The Air Force may also have combat aircraft nearby to help enforce no-fly zones. Add to that plenty of helicopters – not only shuttling VIPs or providing aerial photography, but also Customs and Border Patrol Blackhawks – and it’s clear the skies of Los Angeles are ready for a weekend. charged, even without the drones.

Los Angeles-area drone pilots should plan not to fly this weekend if they want to be completely safe. If you really must reach for this drone, be sure to check your plans carefully first.

You can find detailed information on airspace restrictions for drone pilots using either the B4UFly apps for Android or iOS, or the web version of the map which you can find here. You can also find more information in the official Notice to Air Missions documents located here.