FAA Clarifies Position on Stadium Flyovers by Experimental A/C

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Following some confusion and variation of interpretation on issues related to non-aerobatic flyovers by experimental aircraft over stadium events, ICAS and EAA engaged with the FAA in the fall of 2014 to clarify this issue.

For a time, there had been some confusion as to whether a stadium constituted a “densely populated area” that could prohibit those areas from overflight by experimental aircraft. After a useful and productive dialogue among ICAS, EAA and FAA representatives over a period of several months, the FAA recently clarified their position on this issue.

In a nine-page national policy memo entitled “TSA/FAA Airspace Waivers for Sporting Events and Civilian Flyovers” dated July 22, 2016, the FAA provided a thorough overview of the situation and confirmed that, “The FAA considers stadiums, race tracks, and sporting events to be open-air assemblies of people, subject to regulation under Paragraph 91.119(b).” That is, occupied stadiums are temporary gatherings and not densely populated areas.

This memo goes into specific detail about many other issues related to flyovers at stadiums by civilian aircraft and should be required reading for any individual or group contemplating a flyover. It also specifies that overflight of a stadium by an experimental aircraft must be accomplished without the aircraft overflying densely populated areas as it ingresses and egresses from the stadium. For example, Yankee Stadium in New York City is surrounded on all sides by densely populated areas. This clarification of policy by the FAA does not permit the overflight of those densely populated areas by experimental aircraft to perform a flyover at the stadium.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.