Air ambulances are among a handful of specifically authorized aircraft that will be permitted to fly through a 10-mile wide no-fly zone surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday.
Only certain commercial airliners that run on a regular schedule will be permitted to fly through the zone. Those airliners must also coordinate their flights with the FBI.
The aircraft to be permitted in the vicinity of the Superdome on Sunday are restricted to these specially authorized commercial airliners, military and law enforcement aircraft, and air ambulances.
The FAA clarified in an advisory last week that any aircraft entering the airspace over the Superdome and determined to pose an imminent security threat may be subject to the use of deadly force.
That most likely means missiles, seeing as F-15 Eagle fighter jets are expected to be present as part of the aerial defense forces for the game.
According to the FAA, small aircraft such as hang gliders and hot-air balloons are not exempt from the no-fly rules.
We have to wonder if we’ll be seeing any aerial shots of the Superdome from the Goodyear Blimp this time around, considering that we haven’t seen any mention of an airship clause as of yet (non-rigid or otherwise).
Such government restrictions may seem oddly severe to some (and that sentiment is surely spreading across the internet, as it does every year), but setting up no-fly zones is actually standard procedure for Super Bowls since the September 11, 2001 attack.
The no-fly zone is intended to protect what the government sees as a potentially large target for terrorism.
If you’re part of an air medical team that may fly in the vicinity of New Orleans, it would behoove you to find out more information on how the no-fly zone restrictions could affect the operation of your air ambulance. When in doubt, the FAA and/or airport authorities will be able to provide guidance.