A Very Drone Super Bowl

A few days ago Drone Dossier reported on the ban on flying drones within a 34.5 mile radius of where the Super Bowl is being played in Houston, but that is not the only drone news associated with the big game.

Earlier this week security staff caught a drone flying over a Falcon’s practice at Rice University. The initial reaction of everyone at Drone Dossier was a collective, “Looks like Bill Belichick is using drones now!” But Peter King, the lone journalist present at the practice seemed to be pretty sure the drone was owned by a local resident that lived near the practice facility. But hey, you never know, maybe that local resident was Patriots fan!

Even through drones are banned from flying anywhere near NRG Stadium the will still get their time in the limelight, as Lady Gaga’s Halftime show will feature “hundreds of lit-up drones”. Drones formations with light have already been used at Disney and other venues, so it makes sense that the Super Bowl Halftime show is including the latest and coolest tech toys to make the performance a little more interesting.

One Permission and One Ban

In the last few days the FAA has made two interesting decisions regarding drone operations. On January 10th it gave permission to drone manufacturer 3DR to fly drones in the ‘Class B’ airspace (where drones are usually completely restricted from flying in) around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This is the first time the FAA has given an exemption to a drone to be flown in the restricted airspace around a major airport. At the Atlanta airport 3DR is using drones to survey a parking structure that is scheduled to be demolished.

Then this week the FAA issued a temporary flight in a 34.5 mile radius around NRG Stadium in downtown Houston where the Super Bowl will be played this Sunday. The ban makes sense near the stadium, but 34.5 miles seems a bit excessive and there are questions exactly how drone owners can be aware of the ban on such short notice, or show strictly the ban will be enforced.

Both of these actions by the FAA show an important thing, that the FAA is being nimble in how they react to the use of drones. The team here at Drone Dossier feels this is a good development for the future of drones. The FAA has been cautious but it is actively trying its best to adapt its regulations to the realities of how drones are going to be used in everyday situations.