It’s given the second-highest security designation by the Department of Homeland Security. It’s designated a no-fly zone by the Federal Aviation Administration. It costs millions of dollars just for enhanced security. It’s Super Bowl LIII, and we were there in the sky with our drones.
We did our due diligence to get there, one of only a few select vendors approved to be airborne for the event. Planning started back in August of 2018. The authorization process required approval from the FAA, which would work jointly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and state and local law enforcement agencies for approval. The application required solid, specific plans for operations and safety mitigation, as well as a thoroughly vetted team of professional pilots. With our safety track record of zero reportable incidents, we felt good about the FAA’s confidence in us.
Working this event required special permission from the FAA to fly at night.
We submitted our application three months in advance and worked with the FAA through their approval process for high-profile events such as this one, where Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are put in place. Although we knew it would be an intense screening process, we did not plan for a government shutdown to occur right before the Super Bowl and as we were in the middle of the approval process. Despite the shutdown, the FAA worked diligently, and we received the green light just a couple of weeks before the event.
Our three-man crew arrived in Atlanta a week before the super bowl to shoot coverage leading up to the event. The team used a tethered drone which connects to a generator, providing continuous power to the drone so that it can stay up for hours without coming down for battery change. This makes it a great solution for live streaming the stadium and city. (Non-tethered drones can only fly for about 30 minutes before having to come down for a battery change).
The tethered drone can stay up for hours.
The airspace was busy, with surveillance helicopters and aircraft from government agencies, scanning the city to detect any threats. As a result of the busy airspace, our pilots were in contact with the FBI to ensure we did not interfere with security operations. The FAA also did an examiner’s check with our pilots, testing their knowledge of flight regulations and safety protocol on the spot.
“It’s a privilege to be here during such a high-profile event,” Ronney Miller, Senior Director of Aviation Standards, Policy, and Training at Measure says. “We are pleased to be trusted by the FAA and the FBI to operate safely and securely, and we continue our commitment to military-grade UAV operations and world-class professionalism.”
For more information on Measure’s capabilities and commitment to safety, contact us here.