The North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, will be conducting routine operations over the airspace in Phoenix during Super Bowl LVII, while the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it will impose a temporary flight restriction over the area.
“Pilots should anticipate a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in the Phoenix area on Sunday, February 12, 2023,” according to the FAA in a recent news release. “Typical TFRs limit the availability of certain operations, including glider operations, flight training, and unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations. Specific procedures described on this website and/or contained in an associated Notices To Air Missions (NOTAMs) may be revised or unavailable at the time of the event, and access to some airports may be restricted. Pilots are encouraged to check NOTAMs frequently to confirm they have the most current information.”
A number of different airports around the Phoenix and Glendale areas have been subject to special restrictions, including local and municipal airports, the FAA release shows.
In an earlier release, the FAA said it expects the TFR will be active from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time on Sunday, adding that it will entail a 10-nautical-mile “inner core” along with a 30-nautical-mile “outer ring.”
And FAA Western Regional Administrator Erik W. Amend told local media this weekend that temporary flight restrictions will take effect in both downtown Phoenix and Glendale, Arizona, this weekend. For example, drones are no longer allowed to be used from Thursday until Sunday night, when the Super Bowl is slated to conclude, he said.
“We want to encourage everyone to leave their drones at home,” Amend told the AZMirror.
An FBI official told the outlet that people should be advised not to fly drones anywhere in the restricted airspace. “You will be caught. We have methods to identify who you are,” FBI special agent Daniel Mayo said.
A spokesperson for NORAD told the Arizona Mirror that F-16 fighter jets will be patrolling the skies around Phoenix to intercept any aircraft that goes into the restricted airspace. The spokesperson said that there will be a number of different aircraft flying over the area, including advanced warning aircraft and tankers.
NORAD has been implementing security measures in the skies over Super Bowl-related airspace since 2002, according to the Military Times.
“The activities and coordination we are conducting for the Super Bowl is what NORAD does year round to defend the air space of Canada and the U.S. from airborne threats,” said former NORAD commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said in a news release.
The routine Super Bowl activity comes as the FAA confirmed that a portion of Montana’s airspace was restricted on Saturday after an unidentified object was shot down over North America.
“The FAA closed some airspace in Montana to support Department of Defense activities,” the FAA said on Saturday night in a statement to multiple news outlets. And NORAD stated it had detected a “radar anomaly and sent fighter aircraft to investigate” the area.
The flight restriction was lifted a short while later, officials said.
Earlier Saturday, an American F-22 fighter jet shot down an unidentified cylindrical object over Canada, the second time such an object was shot down. U.S. officials have not disclosed what the object was or who was operating it.
Days before that, the U.S. shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that had traveled over the United States. Much of the balloon was recovered, and officials confirmed it had the capacity to monitor U.S. communications.
The White House issued a statement on Saturday about the Canada incidents, saying that President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to continue close coordination to “defend our airspace.”
“The leaders discussed the importance of recovering the object in order to determine more details on its purpose or origin,” the statement said.