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UAV Flight and Super Bowl Restrictions

Ki Guillen

With an event as large as the super bowl security is always a priority. Local Law Enforcement, Stadium Security, the FBI, Border Patrol, and the FAA all take part in maintaining the safety of the event. As times change and technology progresses, there is a new player in the security game: Drones.

Many Florida law enforcement agencies already use UAV’s to help maintain public safety. Drones can be used to monitor hard to reach places, provide a new perspective on incidents, and even evaluate already existing security protocols. Drones have the advantage of adding a new level of security, but also pose a new threat to already implemented security measures.

A Florida man was arrested a few days ahead of the super bowl for flying his UAV into a restricted area, or TFR, to capture images of the Super Bowl festivities happening in Miami. A TFR is a Temporary Flight Restriction in specific airspace designated by the FAA. A TFR is usually set up to accompany large events to add a layer of security.

FAA Sectional Chart image of permanent TFR over Disney World
Florida Sectional Chart, Disney World TFR

Though airplanes and drones can fly into TFR’s, they need to have specific permission from the FAA to do so. The Florida man who flew his UAV in to the TFR did not have the permission of the FAA and is thus being charged with, “knowingly and willfully violating national defense airspace.”

This charge includes fines as well as the possibility of jail time.

The FAA UAV laws, found in FAR part 107, help protect people, property, and the industry. By adhering to these laws, hobbyists like the Florida man, and professionals who commercially fly UAV’s, are protected.

All pilots are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following the laws. Studying these laws, found here, is imperative for any UAV pilot. And following these laws can protect the UAV operator from getting into trouble like the Super Bowl Florida man.

Though there are a great deal of hobbyists who only use their drones for fun, the laws still need to be adhered to. A pilot breaking these laws, no matter what the reasoning, is subject to the consequences.


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