Anti-Drone Mania Reaches Panic Levels For Superbowl

According to this report at FOX News Technology, the FAA may use “deadly force” against your remote-controlled quadcopter, ahem, “drone” if you’re flying within a 36-mile radius of the Super Bowl this weekend. We call shenanigans on using “deadly” for things that aren’t alive to begin with, but we have no doubt that they intend to take your toys away if you break the rules. We are curious to see how they’re going to do it, though.

sect_6_6446The actual Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has the details, and seems pretty comprehensive. You can’t fly your sea plane or go crop dusting either. Model rocketry is off the table within the circle on Sunday afternoon. It tickles our superiority-bone to note that only “drones” made the headlines.

But we also see our loophole! The ban only extends from the ground’s surface up to 18,000 ft (5,500 m) above sea level. (No, we’re not thinking of flying quadcopters in tunnels under the stadium.) They didn’t rule out high-altitude balloon flight over the Super Bowl? Don’t even think about it.

On the other hand, those of you near the game should count your blessings that you don’t live within 30 miles of the US Capitol and spend the day drone racing.

Thanks [Rich] for the tip.

61 thoughts on “Anti-Drone Mania Reaches Panic Levels For Superbowl

          1. Kinda wonder why they are not doing this already.
            Alot of instances where colliding with a surface, shattering the prop, then falling from the sky, breaking more stuff on the drone could be avoided.

          2. @lol, they’re not doing that already because it’s actually better to simply sacrifice the props, it results in less damage overall. The props are generally very cheap compared to the rest of the airframe, so you want to protect that as best you can.

        1. Like Lord Nothing also pointed out, the claws/legs/bottom of most predator birds is made to withstand biting/clawing/etc animals they catch, and to add to that, they are said to be looking at making what will basically be kevlar bird pants (according to the item on dutch news a while ago) hehe

        1. Im pretty sure that local law enforcement can decide not patrol looking for drones, or even not make any arrests if someone call in a complaint if the drone isn’t a hazard locally.

  1. Still haven’t heard anything of substance from my Congressional representation about the 30 mile no fly around DC. Not pleased with that bull crap at all. Bunch of paranoid sissies.

    1. +1K oh their paranoid all right but they know they are up to no good in DC. They know many silly loner patriots (and I don’t mean the footballers) are tired of the criminal activity in DC. If I could get way with it, I’m I would try it, with or without drone laws.

        1. I assume you’re not referring to my comment. I’m just pissed that after I found a legitimate use for a quadcopter it’s illegal to use one outdoors where I live. Of course if I purchase one, i’ll fly it anyway, on my land, in my sight, and do the maintenance I wanted to do with it in the first place.

          1. Yes RoboMonkey your complaint and use is legit, you could try to get with a bunch of like minded folks in your area and go to your congress person to make sure you use stays legal. One would think they would take such things into consideration when telling one of the alphabet agencies what needs to be done. It’s sad that our elected officials can’t use their own common sense anymore and actually do their jobs for everyone as opposed to just those who complain or pay a fee for a bill to be sponsored.

            lol, your complaint about why I’m riled up isn’t even close. Do you really enjoy watching the elected officials (or anyone anywhere) abuse the privilege of the office they were elected to do (and they even demanded that they be elected to do those jobs)? As long as we stay silent then they will continue to abuse the power of those offices, and sadly things have gotten bad enough they only shove people like me around and when you stand up for them your part of the problem. There was a time that lethal force wasn’t needed to clean that town up, but they know at this point that is all that will clean it up, hence why they have the protection for themselves and not for the simple folk in this country (USA).

          2. oh and RoboMonkey, notice I said legit (IMHO) and not whether it’s legal or illegal, I’m not a lawyer. Course if I was I would be helping the government make the simple people’s lives much worse while promising them all their dreams will come true.

        2. Lavoy Finnicum is Mike Brown is John Crawford is Tamir Rice is identical to every one of the 1000+ Americans homicided by our current police state under the 8 year-long urging of the current regime.
          Gotta blame those crazy republicans in the White House….oh wait, the Authoritarians who got us to this point are liberal Democrats in the White House, how odd.

    1. You get a cookie.
      No doubt there were concerns about this, then the NFL put pressure on the city, “If you do not keep this under control we will have our little hand-egg toss competition in another city.”

      Que 1984 levels of paranoia over what is essentially, a toy helicopter.

      1. It’s a number of concerns. If I *was* a terrorist, where else would I find tens of thousands of potential victims on a massively telecast/broadcast scale? Queue flying drone with Anthrax/Sarin/Bio-happy meal of the week. Drive to within range, launch my delivery platform and go spray the stadium. No, there’s a lot more to this beyond the snarky ‘licensing’ banter.

        1. It’s nothing about terrorism. A ‘drone’ can carry a few Kg, max. A suicide bomber can carry far more, perhaps 10x that if they’re healthy but dress as an overweight American. If, for some reason, you’re short of suicide bombers (they’re not), or the security on entrances is somehow better than at airports (not hard, but still doubtful), then a good old IRA mortar will do the job.
          It’s all about licensing, and the risk of an idiot trying to film it and crashing on the field. Or possibly the stands, though I’d guess they care less about the supporters than the celebrities and the game… And half the supporters probably feel the same!

        2. Agree with Dan. There are far better/easier ways to do epic amounts of damage (physical, psychological, etc…) than with a drone and it’s limited payload capacity.

          Security farces like what we’re seeing surrounding the Super Bowl aren’t what’s keeping us safe. Stupidity of the terrorists, and their relative scarcity, is what’s keeping us safe. You know the old saw about how smart people would make far better crooks than crooks themselves but don’t become crooks because they’re too smart to do so? Same thing applies to so-called terrorists.

          All of this security theater is just there to keep people from losing their ish and staying home rather than going out and being good little consumers. Really. Well, that and lining the pockets of some connected people and businesses at the same time… proper security theater ain’t cheap!

        3. I seem to remember the superbowl or a playoff game having an incident with pepper spray near one of the team’s benches some years ago. Watching it on TV, seeing the folks on the field still playing while everyone on the sidelines vacated an area near the stands that was filling with a light fog, and folks in the stands were jumping up and dashing away from their seats.

          All because some loon tried to jump the stands or assaulted security or something. But watching it live on tv, and this was between 2003 and 2010 if I recall, it was kinda surreal. The press had talked about all of the terrorism protection, and it looked like they hadn’t stopped anything. I stayed a bit freaked out until the commentators “got word about pepper spray being used.”

          So, in that vain, even a harmless drone could cause a huge disruption.

  2. Single engine pilot, plus PPG, gyro and ultralights: WTF has happened to common sense, yes I have the fricking FAA UAS paper permit. Now I can fly a Dollar Tree foam Board RC, or a 3D printed quad, if it exceeds 250g, In my backyard surrounded by active farming property.

  3. I’m skeptical as to how much of this is about actual safety (which is a legitimate concern) and how much is actually about the NFL spazzing out at the notion that someone could possibly record/broadcast footage of the game outside of their control.

    My money would be on the the latter being the primary concern and the former simply happening to coincide.

    1. This is pretty common to have a flight restriction around a big event like this. It’s not much different than close streets before a big event to give bus parking, or traffic control. Similar NOTAMS are in place any time the president is on the move. And it’s not just about fear of a plane crashing into the location, it’s about giving the blimps a clear space to fly.

          1. I’ve witnessed teachers physically beating students, including myself. Don’t give me this crap about all teachers being all sweet to the children in their charge. That’s nothing but pure bullcrap.
            And isn’t it wonderful how quickly you blame the victim…

        1. In some cases they are. Sadly, those cases are the ones which carry the most weight and which due to our neurobiology end up being remembered to the near exclusion of all the other contradicting ones. Cognitive bias is a bitch.

  4. Look people, let’s not get our shorts too much in a knot over this. Airspace needs to be controlled over events like this for any number of good reasons, including the fact that this is an entertainment spectacle protected by intellectual property laws, but more importantly because unrestricted use of this airspace at that time could turn into mess very quickly. These sorts of restrictions have been invoked for decades without causing any sort of fuss.

    1. You make some good points, airspace over a high profile event does need to be controlled for many good reasons, and obviously there should be a certain safety zone around that event. However 36 miles does seem excessive, little Bobby Exampleson just wants to fly his new helicopter around his back garden but he’s not allowed to because there’s a sports field twenty miles away?

  5. I just find it funny to imagine the media fiasco of the government spending $603,000 for a sidewinder missile to take down a $100 drone flying 200 feet over a neighborhood park filled with 8 year olds that is 29 miles away from the stadium. If it bleeds, it leads… and little johnny eating a hot dog with shrapnel wounds because of this nonsense would make front page news for years.

    1. If I’m remembering correctly, the sidewinder usually uses infrared guidance. Great for targeting a jet engine. Not so useful against a RC aircraft at low altitude. Presumably the pilots of aircraft armed with such weapons know what kinds of targets they can hit, and the likely fallout.

  6. The thing that I would like to do is,
    Get a drone go 1 or to week early put a hi def camera on a magnet with pan/tilt put the camera on some of the steel beams around the stadium use a phone to transmit the video control everything with a wifi esp8266. have the esp8266 connected to the phone for control. Have 2 or three diferent transmiting chanels and of coures data as the last resort.
    It can be small and made to look like part of the steel structure.
    You can turn it on and off with the phone.
    This is all with in the limits of a good hacker.

    Or if you realy want to be bad connect a laser pointer to them. I think that that would be so cool.

    Who needs the drone the day of any of the games. If you put 5 or 6 around there would be no way for them to find them.

  7. This probably has nothing to do with the Blue Angles, and their flyover of the Superbowl. I’m sure they’re quite capable of dodging drones they can’t see. Not that they need a 32 mile radius or anything.

  8. Air traffic controller here. The NOTAM only goes up to FL180 because above that is Class A airspace. It’s illegal to be in Class A airspace without positive control from a controller.

  9. what I dont understand is how they rationalize taking away peoples rights who might not even give a flying f#$@ about a stupid football game….maybe if they were going to share the proceeds with all of thoes people who had there rights stomped on…but we all know that wont happen…I find it to be complete BS..

  10. Never forget that the wealthy control You…. so —— OBEY——… if it were up to me I’d have every uav hobbyist in the area flying that day…what would they do then?

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