You know drones are getting popular when the Federal Aviation Administration has to ban them from the Super Bowl.
That’s right, folks, if you’ve got a ticket for the big game on Sunday and were planning on taking your DJI Phantom for a spin in the third quarter (course you were), then you’d better think again. The FAA, and the cops no doubt, won’t take too kindly to such behavior, though pinpointing you in a crowd of 70,000 may admittedly prove a bit of a challenge.
The agency in charge of the nation’s skies this week rolled out a 15-second ‘no drone zone’ video ad (above) reminding people that taking a quadcopter to Super Bowl XLIX really isn’t a good idea. In fact, drone flights will be banned within 30 miles of Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium – that’s right, 30 miles – from 3.25pm till midnight on Sunday.
The FAA said in a directive issued this week:
“All unmanned aircraft operations – also known as drones – are prohibited within the restricted areas. These include model aircraft operations, model rocketry and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Anyone who operates an unmanned aircraft in the restricted area could face civil penalties or criminal charges.“
Actually, the agency slapped restrictions on drone flights in and near stadiums last October, though the rules for Sunday cover a much wider area and last a lot longer.
The FAA has also been laying down other rules regarding the recreational use of drones, though clearly not everyone takes notice. Despite a ban on drone flights over the whole of Washington, D.C., an inebriated government worker this week crashed his remotely operated flying machine onto the lawn of the White House no less, causing a security scare in the process.
Drone flight bans around all of the nation’s airports are occasionally violated, too, a situation the FAA is keen to get under control before some blockhead accidentally sends his airborne toy into the engine of a passenger plane.
The last time we heard about a quadcopter causing havoc at a professional sports event was in Europe last year when a quadcopter flew over an international soccer game between Serbia and Albania. The incident caused a mass brawl on the field that led to the fixture being abandoned, though admittedly the drone was carrying a political banner that served to stir up tensions between soccer players from two countries with a history of strained relations.