Checklist: Flying To Super Bowl LVII -- What You Should Know

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Arizona’s fixed-base operators are planning for heavy traffic volumes during Super Bowl LVII, which takes place Feb. 12 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix. 

Game time is 4:30 p.m. MST.

Adding to the congestion will be traffic related to the nearby Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, taking place Feb. 6-12.

Below are the most pertinent checklist items, based on the FAA’s published guidance for those planning to fly in for the big game. 

The following applies to all operations arriving or departing the Phoenix area between February 8-13, 2023.

Reservations

A reservation program will be in effect for inbound and outbound traffic at Phoenix-area airports from Feb. 8-13. Reservations apply to overnight parking and passenger pickup and drop-off, although drop-and-go reservations are encouraged because of parking concerns 
Even if it’s a quick turnaround, be sure to call ahead. 
Reservations are administered by the local FBOs in conjunction with the FAA. The time is now to reserve ramp space at any of the following Phoenix metropolitan airports:  

-Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)
-Scottsdale Airport (SDL)
-Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (GEU)
-Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR)
-Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA)
-Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD)
-Falcon Field Airport (FFZ)

Similar reservation times and requirements are also planned for Las Vegas-area airports.

TFR

According to the FAA, pilots should expect a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in the Phoenix area on Sunday, Feb. 12, the day of the big game. 

TFR information is expected to be published by FDC NOTAMs three-to-five days before the event.

Please note specific procedures contained in official or associated NOTAM sources may be revised or unavailable at the time of the event.

 Check NOTAMs frequently to ensure the most up-to-date information has been understood.

A Super Bowl TFR will prohibit general aviation operations within a 10-mile radius from the stadium two-to-three hours before kickoff through at least one hour after the game ends, with additional restrictions from 10-30 nm.

Filing A Flight Plan

File a flight plan at least six hours in advance, but no more than 22 hours prior to the proposed departure time.

Traffic Management Initiatives

Due to congestion, pilots should be prepared for Traffic Management Initiatives, such as reroute, mile-in-trail, altitude restriction, ground stop and Ground Delay Programs (GDP). During a GDP, aircraft are required to depart within five minutes of their assigned Expect Departure Clearance Time (EDCT). Pilots must inform ATC if unable to abide and request a new EDCT assignment. 

Those planning to arrive under VFR should expect lengthy delays and potential holding during peak traffic periods. Take this into account when fuel planning. Additionally, remember that VFR flight following will be on an ATC workload-permitting basis.

Also, note that any air files and IFR pick-ups will not be accepted to or from airports listed above or in associated NOTAMs.

Check Airport Status Information

Refer to nasstatus.faa.gov/ for real-time flight delay, airport status and program information on the day of operation.

Additional information may be obtained from the National Business Aviation Administration: https://nbaa.org/aircraft-operations/airspace/regional/super-bowl-lvii/

Matthew Orloff

Based in Los Angeles, Matthew Orloff covers business aviation for Aviation Week Network.