by Stephen Shankland
The government doesn't just want to avoid an errant drone falling on the crowd at the football championship. It's grounding the aircraft for miles around.
To nobody's surprise, Super Bowl 2017 is off limits to drones. But it's not just the stadium where your quadcopter will be grounded. (Tough luck if you had hopes of an aerial video of crowds swarming through the parking lot.)
The Federal Aviation Administration, which sets rules for aircraft, has barred drones for a 34.5-mile radius around NRG Stadium in Houston, the agency said Wednesday. Breaking the rules could land you in jail for up to a year and $100,000 poorer if fined.
Most folks who got a drone for kicks over the holidays won't be too perturbed, but drones are are big in business now, too. They offer an eye in the sky for lots of photo and video needs, including real estate agents selling property, builders monitoring construction products and oil companies checking their refineries. If you might be affected, the FAA's B4UFLY app offers details about where drones are and aren't allowed.
A circular area of more than 3,700 square miles is pretty hard to police, but local law enforcement officials are aware of the ban, and NORAD -- the North American Aerospace Defense command -- is enforcing the ban, FAA spokeswoman Laura J. Brown said. Yes, those are the same folks who intercept unauthorized fighter jets and keep an eye out for nuclear missile attacks.
The temporary flight restrictions, which also prohibit some more conventional aircraft, are in effect 4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. local time on Sunday, Feb. 5.
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