Filmmakers are always looking for a new way to tell a story, and drones with cameras provide an advanced perspective never seen before, with breathtaking views and new vantage points. They’ve flown in fleets at the Super Bowl, capturing close-up views of performers, and granting audiences a chance to watch as if they’re onstage or on the field. However, when airspace is unprotected, rogue drones can interrupt play, threaten the safety of spectators and infrastructure. For artists and performers, spying drones may also infringe on copyrighted materials, and violate intellectual property laws.
The risk of drones in stadium and arena airspace is becoming increasingly apparent, especially as drones become accessible to any user, carry payloads from grams to hundreds of pounds, and have limited laws barring operation. The FAA prohibits drone flights within three nautical miles of a stadium, starting one hour before and ending one hour after the scheduled time. They include Major League Baseball, National Football League, NCAA Division One Football, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races.
This rule is largely ignored, and arenas and stadiums need to consider what sort of protection they want to provide their spectators and performers from aerial threats as a part of their overall security program ecosystem. Stadium, arena and public venue operators experienced multiple drone incidents firsthand in the first half of 2017, and were involved with the following activities:
Security takes down drone flying over Falcons practice facility: Ahead of their Super Bowl game, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ security spotted a drone flying over their practices. While the pilot turned out to be a neighborhood family, many initially speculated espionage from their opposing team, the New England Patriots.
Terrorist drone attack fears led to closure of stadium roof: The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), decided to close the retractable roof of the Millennium Stadium in Wales over fears terrorists could fly a drone into the ground during the Champions League final.
No drone zone for those attending the Super Bowl: The U.S. FAA implemented temporary flight restrictions within a 34.5-mile radius of NRG Stadium in downtown Houston, Texas for the Super Bowl. Drone security wasn’t the only talk of the town for the Super Bowl – Intel showcased a drone light show at halftime.
Drone crashes into spectators at baseball game: A rogue drone flew directly inside a baseball stadium, crash landing into a group of spectators. Investigators were not able to determine if the pilot was flying with malicious intention, or if this was a case of pilot error.
Formula One bosses fear terrorists will attack Grand Prix: Set for July 2017, event organizers are equipping themselves with massive nets to catch drones if they come too close to the racetrack, athletes or spectators.
An airspace security platform that detects, classifies and mitigates all drone threats.