Congress last week banned banner towers and other aerial advertisers from flying above major sports events for one year. The ban was slipped into the omnibus appropriations bill that funds the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. The legislation did address AOPA concerns about access to nearby airports, allowing aircraft flying normal traffic patterns to continue using airports near large stadiums.
The provision rescinds for a year all waivers to the notam prohibiting flights within 3 nm and 3,000 feet of major sporting events at stadiums seating more than 30,000. It prohibits reissuing waivers to aerial advertisers only for at least one year. However, aircraft providing broadcast coverage of the game and aircraft transporting officials and others to the event can still obtain waivers.
"This was a tough one to lose," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We had devoted considerable resources to the issue, actively working with the banner towing community, security experts, the Transportation Security Administration, and our friends in Congress.
"It was particularly frustrating to see what was a commercial issue passed off as a security issue. The major league and collegiate sports interests paid big dollars to lobby for what they wanted."
Read AOPA's statement to the banner towing community.