Super Bowl Fliers Face Winter Challenges

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Photo: NJ1015.com

Photo: NJ1015.com

The Super Bowl is always a big event for general aviation operations, and this year, with the game set for Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, weather could potentially become a major factor. The FAA said it expects an additional 1,200 GA flights to the New York/New Jersey metro airports during Super Bowl XLVIII. TFR already has been designated, with three restricted zones extending up to 30 nm from the field, which sits not far from both Newark and Teterboro airports. ATC will separate Super Bowl traffic from normal traffic and assign departure slots for flights operating at GA airports within the TFR, the FAA said. Extra staff and expanded hours of operation will be added.

Pilots may need to worry about winter weather, but they don't need to worry about sharing the airspace with blimps. Greg Poppenhouse, chief pilot for Goodyear, told NJ.com blimps are not equipped to cope with winter weather like snow and sleet. Even MetLife, which operates two blimps in the U.S., said the aircraft will be deployed in southern states during February. GA fliers into Newark Liberty Airport will find a brand-new FBO built by Signature Flight Support, which opened just in time for the game. The new 11,000-square foot facility cost $11 million and the company rushed to get it done after the game was designated for MetLife Stadium, in 2010. The FBO can handle about 75 aircraft overnight. The FAA said it expects the exodus of aircraft from the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area airports to begin at Super Bowl halftime, and extend through Monday, Feb. 3.