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Helicopter Measuring Radiation In Los Angeles As Part Of Super Bowl Preparations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Authorities are completing background radiation measurements over Southern California as part of the security precautions being put in place ahead of the Super Bowl.

AMS Helicopter
(credit: National Nuclear Security Administration)

According to the National Nuclear Security Administration – which is a division of the Department of Energy -- a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter equipped with radiation-sensing technology began making low-level flights over the region starting on Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday. The helicopter's pilot is flying in a grid pattern at an altitude of about 150 feet, and moving around 80 mph, measuring normal background radiation levels ahead of the Feb. 13 game and its associated events.

"These surveys are a normal part of security and emergency preparedness activities," the National Security Administration said in a statement. "DOE/NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed."

The last time the Super Bowl was played in Los Angeles was in 2000, and a number of new technologies posing a threat to large events have emerged since then.

One of those new technologies are drones, which can be a security risk and a threat to larger aircraft. The FAA has designated SoFi Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 13, as a "no drone zone." Under the Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR, drones will be prohibited from flying within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the stadium up to 18,000 feet in altitude between 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.

Drones will also be prohibited for one nautical mile and up to 3,000 feet in altitude around the stadium from 10 a.m. until the TFR for the game takes effect.

Drone operators who violate a TFR could have their drones confiscated, and face prosecution and civil penalties exceeding $30,000.

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