The FAA's presidential-like temporary flight restriction (TFR) for Super Bowl XL February 5 in Detroit has been extended into Canada - even though neither President Bush nor Canada's Prime Minister-designate Stephen Harper is scheduled to attend.
"AOPA has learned that, while Canada's security officials won't request a security-related notam for the Super Bowl, U.S. officials have requested through diplomatic channels that Transport Canada extend the TFR into their airspace, completing the 30-nautical-mile circle around Ford Field," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And we understand that Canada granted the request for reasons not directly related to any real threat to the Super Bowl from general aviation."
Ironically, no such super TFR was necessary for last year's Major League Baseball All-Star game. It was played last July in the open-air stadium right next to the domed football stadium in Detroit. That game merited a 3-nm TFR extending to just 3,000-feet agl - not the 30-nm, 18,000-feet Super Bowl monster. And that smaller TFR stopped at the Canadian border.
The joint TFR prohibits all GA flights within 10 nm of Detroit's Ford Field from 4 p.m. until midnight on February 5. That will shut down Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport (DET) and Windsor Airport (CYQG) - across the border in the Canadian province of Ontario - to GA traffic.
GA flights within 10 to 30 nm of the stadium will be treated just like flights within the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Pilots must file a flight plan, be assigned a discrete transponder code, and remain in radio contact with air traffic control. And no loitering.
"The restrictions seem excessive when you look at specific circumstances and previous Super Bowls," said Boyer.
Ford Field is within Class B airspace, much like the 2004 Super Bowl played in Houston. But that drew only a 7-nm TFR.
"Once again, we implore security officials on both sides of the border to analyze the threat and the risk and impose only the necessary and reasonable restrictions to counter the threat," said Boyer. "This is just another example of why we're fighting so hard against the Washington, D.C., ADIZ - to stop needless airspace restrictions from popping up around any major city."
Updated: February 2, 2006, 9:46 a.m. EST