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HCSO Deputies respond to nearly 70 drone violations around Super Bowl events

Violators face civil penalties that exceed $30,000
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Posted at 9:08 AM, Feb 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-06 09:08:12-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has responded to nearly 70 drone intrusions into No Fly Zones around Super Bowl Events.

"We know that drones can be used as weapons," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "We know that drones, when people aren't certified how to fly them, can injure an individual."

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is a “No Drone Zone” for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021. Drones also are prohibited around the Tampa Riverwalk for the NFL Super Bowl Experience during the days leading up to the event, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Federal Aviation Administration has established a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) on game day that will prohibit drones within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the stadium up to 18,000 feet in altitude. The TFR will be in place from 5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST.

Drones are also prohibited for one nautical mile around Raymond James Stadium on February 7 from 10 a.m. until the TFR for the game takes effect.

Pilots and drone operators who enter the TFRs without permission could face civil penalties that exceed $30,000 and potential criminal prosecution for flying drones in the TFR.

Chronister said on Friday, the FBI responded to one such incident where the amateur drone pilot was within a half-mile of a Super Bowl event.
"That individual finds himself now facing federal charges because he allowed his curiosity to get the best of them," Chronister said.

Detailed information for general aviation and drone pilots is available on the FAA's Super Bowl LV web page.

Drone pilots should check the FAA’s B4UFly app to determine when and where they may fly. To highlight the “No Drone Zone,” watch the FAA’s video encouraging fans to enjoy the game and leave their drones at home.

"The last thing our aviation units need to worry about as they're monitoring things and normalizing the environment to make sure everything's okay is a drone strike in their helicopter," Chronister said.