The FAA Says It's Banning Drones At The Super Bowl Because Of 9/11

The FAA Says It's Banning Drones at the Super Bowl Because of 9/11

The FAA sent us a bit more detail about why it's banning drones at Sunday's Super Bowl. As you may have predicted, the ban stems from legislation passed after 9/11.

An FAA spokesperson explained in an email:

The flight restrictions over major sporting events were imposed by Congress in legislation passed after the 9/11 attacks. The FAA's Superbowl [Temporary Flight Restriction] implements that mandate. There are also federal rules passed after 9/11 that prohibit unmanned aircraft and model aircraft in Washington, DC.

This makes sense, but those laws hold the same relevance in 2015 as they did in 2001. A decade and a half ago, drones didn't exist in the way that they do now. In other words, those laws didn't anticipate a near future where a few hundred dollars could buy an aircraft that anybody could easily fly. (It's also worth remembering that some of the post-9/11 laws around flight restrictions are absurd in other ways, like the Disney no-fly zone that's really about keeping advertising away from Mickey Mouse's lair.)

All that said, the absurdity of the FAA's Super Bowl drone ban has less to do with enforcing post-9/11 legislation and more to do with the lack of new, drone-specific regulations. In a sense, the existence of cheap, easy-to-fly drones means that major sporting events are even more dangerous today. So nobody is disagreeing with the FAA trying to keep everybody safe. That's a valiant and essential mission. But maybe let's hurry up on those drone regulations. This is getting absurd.



    I don't see how "this is getting absurd" at all. I can't imagine the players nor the majority of the audience particularly want a drone free-for-all above (and potentially interfering with) the game. You don't fly drones over crowds, it's common sense.

      Well said. You're taking your own news instilled fears and making a biased judgement. 30 miles? Really. Plus use your head, terrorists don't follow rules. So who are you hurting. The law abiders. Before 9/11 there were plenty of laws saying you can't kill thousands of people with planes. You're the actual sheep the news wants you to be. You are being lead award from health care and NSA privacy issues and worrying about a toy . One that has been around since the 60's!? Rc is not new, the news just wants you to think"drone" is. A regular Rc plane has a better range, a better payload capacity, and is more quiet. The can have bombs, gas, and cameras. You can turn off the radio and GPS and glide it in so even jamming wouldn't work. But all they want to ban is drones with cameras. Use your head, it's not about safety. It never is. It's about money. If it was about safety they wouldn't have the big ass camera supports by HIGH tension wired running over the field. They fail, yes they do. And they tare shit up when they do. More that a 3 pound drone ever would. Ban at the stadium yes. But 30 miles?

        30 miles? Really. You can turn off the radio and GPS and glide it in so even jamming wouldn't work.Think you just answered your own concerns.
        Also: You are being lead award from health care and NSA privacy issues and worrying about a toy .Huh?

        Last edited 02/02/15 9:18 am

      Imaging crashing a drone in the stadium and delaying play. The zero button on their lawyers calculator would wear out before they finish working out the financial cost.

    It isn't really mentioned in this particular article, but the exclusion zone covers a circular area with a 30 mile radius, and I'd say that's the part they're suggesting is absurd.

    Last edited 31/01/15 2:56 pm

    You probably do want to prevent drones from flying around the stadium area, I can imagine with such a popular event, if they were allowed it would be utter chaos.

    But yes, this whole 9/11 bullshit has gone on long enough. It was a kneejerk reaction when these rules were put in place in 2001/2002, keeping them in place this long is verging on oppressive.

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