More Super Bowl Disruptions: A No Fly Zone and Fighter Jets

In addition to causing gridlock on San Francisco streets, Super Bowl 50 will also wreak havoc in the sky. As KPIX reports, the Federal Aviation Administration will enforce a ban on “general aviation operations” within a 10-nautical mile radius of Levi’s Stadium on game day.

And thanks to greater-than-usual air activity during Super Bowl week, 15 Bay Area airports — including SFO and OAK — will require ramp reservations for non-commercial flights between the morning of Feb. 4 and the evening of Feb. 8.

[jump] NBC Bay Area reports that up to 1,200 private planes are expected to fly in and out of Bay Area airports during the Super Bowl. These pilots will have to file flight plans and fly dedicated routes — restrictions that have some local pilots pissed off. NBC quotes Ed Gaede, a pilot who complains that he won’t be able to do “touch-and-gos” at area airports while the restrictions and No Fly Zone are in effect.

The FAA’s website also advises that air traffic control may see increased delays, airborne holding, and ground stops during game week. Just for fun, here's what the No Fly Zone around SFO looks like:

To ensure that the NFL’s gift to the Bay Area goes off without a hitch, federal, state, and local agencies are rehearsing aerial drills. K-9 units around the region are being trained to get comfortable with the terrifying commotion of helicopters and F-15 fighter jets overhead. According to KPIX, the Coast Guard, California Highway Patrol, and Air National Guard are all powwowing in the sky.

Training flights will pair the California Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force with the Civilian Air Patrol, which, per KIPIX, will fly Cessnas into restricted airspace to simulate a trespassing aircraft while the Air National Guard and Air Force intercept. Like a lost Steven Seagal movie, it’s an exercise dubbed Falcon Virgo.

The training marks CAP’s 15th year being involved in Super Bowl air-defense exercises.

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