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Super Bowl 50 flight advisory imminent

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the FAA's Super Bowl 50 parking and reservation system Letter to Airmen released Jan. 13.

"You watch the game, we'll watch the skies," reads an FAA poster advising pilots to check notams and other restrictions prior to flight if they are operating near Santa Clara, California, for the NFL’s fiftieth annual Super Bowl matchup Feb. 7. Photo courtesy of the FAA.

While the National Football League’s two conferences battle it out for a Feb. 7 appearance at the NFL’s fiftieth annual Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California, the FAA will be finalizing its flight procedures, notams, and special flight operations for the big game.

Pilots navigating through Silicon Valley can expect traffic management and safety initiatives including temporary flight restrictions, discrete transponder codes, and two-way communication in the vicinity of Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and site of the gridiron classic.

Special security provisions will be implemented in the San Jose and San Francisco areas three to five days prior to the Super Bowl. 

The NFL championship game began a half-century ago when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 at the L.A. Coliseum in 1966; airspace changes and flight rules have become more complex in the past five decades.

“AOPA participates in the Super Bowl planning meetings in order to ensure all aviation has access during these large-scale events,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director airspace and air traffic. “Any pilot flying into one of the impacted airports will need to know the procedures, and those that are transient should be aware of the TFR and of possible ATC delays.”

Duke reminded pilots to be aware of high-traffic volume to and from the San Francisco metropolitan area that will require reservations for inbound and outbound flights Feb. 4 to 7.

Once on the ground, parking reservations are also required for all IFR and VFR aircraft, except for scheduled air carrier operations, Feb. 4 to 9. Pilots should contact fixed-base operators at the intended airport of arrival and departure for specific parking information.

Reservations will be required for “drop and go” operations as well.

Last year’s Super Bowl flight advisory for the Glendale, Arizona, game included both 10- and 30-nautical-mile-radius TFRs.

The California airports that will be affected by the Super Bowl include Napa County (APC), Buchanan Field (CCR), Hollister Municipal Airport (CVH), Hayward Executive (HWD), Livermore Municipal (LVK), Monterey Regional (MRY), Metropolitan Oakland International (OAK), Palo Alto (PAO), Reid-Hillview of Santa Clara County (RHV), Stockton Metropolitan (SCK), San Francisco International (SFO), Salinas Municipal (SNS), San Carlos (SQL), Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County (STS), and Watsonville Municipal (WVI).

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: Advocacy, Airspace, Events

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