Kirkland, Wash.-based Echodyne, a radar-focused startup backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, is seeking the Federal Communications Commission’s expedited approval to have its drone-detecting radar system used in an experiment planned during the NFL’s Super Bowl in Atlanta.
No means no when it comes to the Federal Aviation Administration’s no-drone zone for Super Bowl Sunday.
Not even CBS, which is broadcasting the big football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos starting at 3:30 p.m. PT Sunday, will be allowed to send unmanned aerial vehicles into the red zone, the FAA says.
The red zone is unusually large this weekend: It extends across a 74-mile-wide circle centered on Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The FAA’s temporary flight restrictions block out the airspace to a height of 18,000 feet from 2 to 11:59 p.m. PT.
The FAA typically restricts the airspace around sporting events with a seating capacity of 30,000 spectators or more, but for the Super Bowl, the no-drone zone is bigger than usual: 37 statute miles (32 nautical miles) in radius, as opposed to the standard 3.5 statute miles. That’s because the Super Bowl is considered a “special security event.”