FAA And NORAD To Control Airspace Around Super Bowl XLIV <


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FAA And NORAD To Control Airspace Around Super Bowl XLIV

Daniel Guevarra

January 28, 2010 - The FAA has established a “Temporary Flight Restriction” (TFR) around Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida for the Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command fighters will be busy well before Super Bowl Sunday preparing to protect the skies around the stadium in Miami for game day. “Exercise Amalgam Virgo 10-Miami” will be held Thursday in the Greater Miami area to allow interagency partners the chance to practice temporary flight restriction violation procedures.  

“Amalgam Virgo 10.1-Miami” comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector. Residents in the area can expect flights to begin around midnight Thursday and continue for about two hours early Friday morning. “This exercise in Miami is an effective way to ensure all interagency partners are prepared for game day,” said Maj. Gen. Garry Dean, CONR commander.


“The exercise will test command and control and execution procedures for air defense for the Super Bowl and other like venues throughout the United States.” These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the commands response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “Defending America’s skies is our number one priority,” General Dean said. “Whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday or any other Sunday, the men and women of CONR are always on alert.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 2,300 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 54,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) will be effective two hours before the Super Bowl begins until one hour after the game ends, (approximately 4 p.m. to midnight EST.) The TFR consists of two rings of protected airspace, 10 nautical miles and 30 nautical miles in diameter, from the ground up to 18,000 feet surrounding the stadium.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with Federal and local law enforcement agencies, air carriers, general aviation organizations, and the National Football League to ensure safe and secure aviation operations for Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida on Feb. 7, 2010. The only flights permitted within the 10-mile ring will be public safety, military, and commercial passenger, cargo, and private charters operating under a Transportation Security Administration-approved security program. No exceptions or waivers have been granted to allow flights by media, banner towers, blimps, general aviation, or any other flight activities, which are prohibited in the 10-mile ring.


Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Opa-Locka Executive Airport and North Perry Airport underlie the 10-mile ring. Flights will not be permitted at North Perry Airport while the TFR is active, but authorized flights will be permitted at Ft. Lauderdale International and Opa-Locka Airports. Within the 10 to 30-mile ring, general aviation pilots must tune their aircraft transponders to a discreet beacon code assigned by FAA air traffic control, and pilots must communicate with air traffic controllers. The NFL Pro Bowl game will be played in South Florida on January 31, the week before the Super Bowl. Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-related flights began arriving at the South Florida area airports on January 22, and they will continue up to Super Bowl game day.

The FAA expects an additional 650 to 700 flights to South Florida airports between January 22 and February 8. The air traffic control system has sufficient capacity to handle these extra flights. We anticipate no impact on scheduled air carrier traffic from the increase in flights or from the TFR. The FAA anticipates that the exodus of aircraft from the South Florida airports will begin at Super Bowl Halftime, and will extend through the second half and until early morning hours after the game. Departures will resume at approximately 6 a.m., Monday, Feb. 8 and will continue through the early afternoon. 

General aviation aircraft at the three airports underlying the 10-mile ring of the TFR will not be able to depart until the TFR is lifted. Super Bowl attendees who want to depart while the TFR is in effect must travel to Ft. Lauderdale Executive, Miami International or other airports outside the 10-mile ring. Air traffic management strategies, including ground delay programs and other initiatives will be implemented if the weather is inclement. 

The NFL will establish a helipad at Dolphin Stadium to enable transportation of league officials and others directly from area airports to the stadium. The helipad will shut down when the TFR becomes effective unless the NFL or public safety agencies close it earlier. FAA Flight Standards aviation safety inspectors will conduct intensive airfield surveillance at many South Florida airports on February 5, 6, and 7. Inspectors will be at Hollywood, Opa-Locka, Ft. Lauderdale International, Ft. Lauderdale Executive, Homestead General, Tamiami, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton airports daily. The FAA will increase staffing at these airports on Super Bowl Sunday. 

FAA Safety Inspectors will conduct surveillance of commercial and general aviation operators, they will provide technical expertise and support to law enforcement agencies, and they will assist in investigating suspicious aviation activity and suspected TFR violators. During the game, FAA aviation safety inspectors will be stationed in Dolphin Stadium with the Miami-Dade Police Dept. and other law enforcement organizations to conduct surveillance of potential TFR violators, and to be available immediately to law enforcement if necessary. The FAA has issued a waiver which will allow a United States Air Force B-2 Stealth Bomber to overfly Dolphin Stadium before the Super Bowl begins. 

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