Definitely Do Not Try To Fly A Drone Above The Super Bowl

One of a half-dozen drones which have been confiscated for being flown in the no-fly zone over Mercedes-Benz Stadium is displayed Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Atlanta. (Photo: Jeff Martin, AP)

The FBI is cautioning drone pilots against flying them anywhere near the site of the Super Bowl in Atlanta—not only on game day but leading up to it as well.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced earlier this week that it would put a temporary flight restriction on drones around the around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday as well as the three days beforehand, and both the FAA and the FBI have been hammering this home on social media over the course of the last week.

Still, the FBI’s Atlanta field office said that it had confiscated six drones on Thursday, with officials on Friday claiming that the area around the stadium has been “inundated” with drone activity, according to the Associated Press.

“It has taken up a lot of time for our agents and for law enforcement officers to be targeting these drones when they could be working on other security measures,” FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said.

Drones are a problem for law enforcement for several reasons, the most obvious being potential terrorist threats. Rowson noted that drones can also be dangerous if they lose control and crash into a crowd, or if they come into contact with aircraft patrolling the area around Atlanta.

As the Associated Press noted, for a good example of how seriously officials take this kind of activity, look no further than the London’s Gatwick Airport. In December, multiple drone sightings resulted in the disruption of more than 1,000 flights over the course of three days as investigators struggled to determine the motivations behind the incident.

Such a stunt at an airport in the U.K. could carry a sentence of five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

As for the Super Bowl? Aside from possible jail time, Politico reported that drone ban offenders could be looking at up to $27,575 in fines.

The FAA said it’s currently restricting drones within one nautical mile of the stadium, but that the flight ban will stretch to 30 nautical miles beginning at 5:30 PM and ending around midnight on Sunday. So, you know, it’s probably best to just avoid flying a drone in Atlanta for the remainder of the weekend.

[FAA, Associated Press]

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