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You can’t watch the big game from above.
It’s not uncommon to see the Goodyear Blimp floating above the stadium during the Super Bowl, but you won’t see it accompanied by any drones this year. The unmanned aircraft have officially been banned from coming within 32 miles of the stadium.
The announcement of the limitation came in the form of a video from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday. ” Bring your lucky jersey, your face paint and your team spirit but leave your drone at home,” the video suggested.
The temporary restriction mirrors the permanent bans placed on drones flying above other important locations, including airports and the White House. Similar temporary no fly zones have been implemented during large gatherings in open venues, though the Super Bowl is the largest spectacle to use the blockage.
The 32 mile radius may seem arbitrary—does it represent the 32 teams in the NFL?—but it covers the distance between the stadium and the San Francisco International Airport, where press, fans, and celebrities are likely to arrive at.
According to FAA regulations, “the United States government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.” So for the folks who decide to ignore the no fly zone, they may find themselves searching for bits and pieces of their drone scattered across the San Fransisco skyline.
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.