FAA Declares 32 Mile Radius Around Super Bowl 50 A No Drone Zone

There are many reasons to watch the Super Bowl, and that's true of today's Super Bowl 50 in particular—it could be Peyton Manning's last game ever, Cam Newton has a chance to cap off one of the most successful seasons in NFL history, the commercials, and halftime entertainment sponsored by Pepsi, to name some of the highlights. But one thing you won't see are drones.


Nobody tunes into the Super Bowl to see drones anyway, but lest anyone in California has any wild ideas of flying unmanned aircraft in the vicinity of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the Federal Aviation Administration has declared the airspace within a full 32-mile radius of the stadium a "No Drone Zone." The restriction goes into effect at 2 p.m. (PST) today and runs until 11:59 p.m. tonight.

"With so many drones being sold for recreational use, we want to do everything we can to get the word out that the game is a No Drone Zone," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "“We’re working closely with our safety and security partners to spread this message as widely as possible," the FAA said in a statement.

The emergence of drones for recreational use has government officials sort of scrambling to figure out how much legislation is appropriate for the relatively new and growing hobby. One example is that operators of small drones are now required to go through a registration process—those who purchased an aerial flyer prior to December 21, 2015, have until February 19, 2016, to register, and those who bought one after that date have to register before their drones take their first flight. Failure to do so can result in civil penalties of up to $27,500, or criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and up to three years behind bars. Yikes!

"Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation."

As for the Super Bowl, it's not uncommon for the FAA to restrict the airspace around major events with big crowds, though the 32-mile radius is a bit wider than usual. That's likely because of the overall crowd size and number of professional athletes and celebrities that will be in attendance, all of which combine to make the Super Bowl a high profile target for shenanigans.
Tags:  Super Bowl, FAA, drones