The skies above the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, should be clear today in light of Super Bowl LIV.
The Federal Aviation Administration is instating a game day TFR (that’s short for temporary flight restriction), which goes into effect at 5:30 p.m. ET through 11:59 p.m. ET, covering a fairly wide radius around the stadium — a 30-nautical mile (34.5 miles) ring, centered over the stadium.
Break the rules, and you could end up with civil penalties that exceed $30,000 and potential criminal prosecution for flying drones in the TFR. And it doesn’t stop there. The FAA is serious.
“The United States Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat,” the FAA added in an advisory.
Today’s flight restriction applies to not just drones, but all aircraft without explicit FAA permission around Super Bowl LIV. Of course, emergency, medical, public safety and military operations can still fly in the affected area during the TFR, so the skies won’t necessarily be totally clear.
Earlier this week, the FAA set another TFRs to restrict drone flights for roughly one nautical mile around the Miami Beach Convention Center and Bayfront Park.
Whether or not you’re droning on Super Bowl day or any day, it’s always a good idea to check for TFRs ahead of any flight, even if you’ve flown in that location countless times before. TFRs are often initiated due to hazardous conditions or when dignitaries are in the area, which you might not necessarily know about. Some events are big, like the Papal Visit in 2015 and Trump’s inauguration, while others could happened for smaller events, so it’s always important to remain attune to TFRs.
The easiest way for drone pilots to check for TFRs is by accessing the FAA’s B4UFly app, which has up-to-date info on where drones can and cannot fly. That app is managed in part by San Francisco startup Kittyhawk.
That’s not to say drones and football don’t always mix. A few years ago, Intel powered the drones that flew above Lady Gaga’s halftime show. Some teams are even using drones to help plan out plays and aid in practices, while also participating in the games to carry out tasks like making the 35-foot ball drop to the head referee before opening kickoff, as well as capturing aerial footage of the games for broadcast.