This year's Super Bowl will be subject to unprecedented security measures - matching those given to President Bush when he travels. The Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, will be surrounded by a 10-nm no-fly zone and a de facto air defense identification zone (ADIZ) from 10 to 30 nm in which pilots must be on an active flight plan and "squawk and talk" with air traffic control. The FAA issued the notam Thursday.
"We don't know what's prompting the higher security level," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We do know the Coast Guard proposal for securing the waterways near the stadium allows for boats and ships with far greater cargo-carrying ability than most GA aircraft to move through the security areas with prior approval, yet GA aircraft are going to be shut out.
"In addition, the Coast Guard is soliciting public comment from the boating community on their proposal - a privilege never afforded the aviation community anytime TFRs have been imposed on us."
Security officials are classifying the game as a Level 1 Event, just one step below a National Security Event such as last summer's political conventions or this month's presidential inauguration. Those same officials say they need the larger restriction because Level 1 precautions include patrols by the Civil Air Patrol and fighters from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
Recent security restrictions, including those for the inauguration, have been over the top in the limitations they've imposed on GA. AOPA has argued that such extreme limitations damage commerce and restrict freedoms for GA pilots unfairly while doing little or nothing to shield special events from terrorists.
The restriction will be in effect from 4:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. local time on Sunday, February 6. The TFR will be centered on a point 6.4 miles from the Craig (CRG) Vortac on the 263 radial. No GA flights will be permitted within a 10-nm radius of that point. Operations between the 10- and 30-nm radius will be permitted for ingress and egress, and only if the pilot is on an active IFR or VFR flight plan, is in radio contact with air traffic control, and is squawking a discrete, ATC-assigned transponder code. Only scheduled air carrier or air cargo flights that conform to TSA standards will be permitted into Craig Municipal Airport (CRG).
The TFR does include cutouts for St. Augustine (SGJ), St. Mary's (4J6), and Hilliard Airpark (01J) airports.
Update: January 13, 2005