Checklist: Super Bowl Preparations

Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, Airshare aircraft
Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes has a multiyear partnership agreement with private aviation services company Airshare, of Lenexa, Kansas. His opponent, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a Wheels Up “ambassador.”
Credit: Airshare

Super Bowl LV will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7, pitting the home town Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning 2020 Super Bowl champions. The FAA advises that a reservation program to facilitate ground services at Central Florida airports is in effect. Pilots should contact the FBO at their destination airport to obtain reservations.

Special Air Traffic Procedures

Special air traffic procedures to minimize delays will be in effect at the following airports: Tampa International (TPA); St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE); Lakeland Linder International (LAL); Sarasota-Bradenton International (SRQ); Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional (BKV); Tampa Executive (VDF); Clearwater Air Park (CLW); Pilot Country (X05); Albert Whitted (SPG); Zephyrhills Municipal (ZPH); Peter O. Knight (TPF); Tampa North Aero Park (X39); Plant City (PCM); Bartow Executive (BOW); Winter Haven Regional (GIF); South Lakeland (X49); and Venice Municipal (VNC).

Temporary Flight Restrictions

TFR information is published by Flight Data Center NOTAM three to five days prior to the event. TFR NOTAMs and graphics are available at

Traffic Management Initiatives

Credit: Adobe Stock

“During periods of heavy demand, pilots should anticipate Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI), including but not limited to reroute, miles-in-trail, altitude restriction, ground stop and ground delay programs,” according to the FAA.

Filing Flight Plans

Pilots are advised to file flight plans at least six hours but not more than 22 hours prior to their proposed time of departure. “Should TMI be necessary, filing early may minimize your assigned delay,” the FAA advises. Duplicate flight plans to the same airport or multiple airport destinations are subject to removal from the system. Air files and IFR pick-ups will not be accepted, except in emergencies.

Preferred IFR Arrival/Departure Routes

The FAA has published preferred IFR arrival routes at and preferred IFR departure routes at

VFR Arrivals

VFR arrivals may expect lengthy delays and potential holding during peak traffic periods. VFR advisory service with the Tampa terminal radar approach control, Miami Center (ZMA) and Jacksonville Center (ZJX) areas of responsibility “will be on a workload-permitting basis.”

Federal Aviation Administration

Other considerations

The FAA discourages training flights and student solo cross-country flights in the Central Florida/Tampa metropolitan area, within 60 nm of Tampa International Airport. Practice approaches, touch-and-go landings and other training operations may be limited or suspended.

Raymond James Stadium will be a “No Drone Zone” on Feb. 7. The FAA will establish a TFR on game day that will prohibit flying drones within a 30 nm radius of the stadium up to 18,000 ft. above ground level. The TFR will be in place from 5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST.

Drones also will be prohibited for 1 nm around the stadium from 10 a.m. on the day of the game until the TFR takes effect. Before to the Super Bowl, drones will be prohibited around the Tampa Riverwalk during the “NFL Super Bowl Experience.”

Pilots and drone operators who enter the TFRs without permission could face civil penalties in excess of $30,000 and potential criminal prosecution for flying drones in the TFR.

Bill Carey

Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.