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VIDEO: No-fly Zone Established During Super Bowl At NRG Stadium

Small planes by the Civil Air Patrol help the Air National Guard practice enforcement of the temporary flight restriction.

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  • Civil Air Patrol pilots Russell Peck, left, and Chuck Lexa
    Civil Air Patrol pilots Russell Peck, left, and Chuck Lexa
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    Houston's skyline from the air (Photo Credit: Florian Martin/Houston Public Media)
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 (Photo Credit: Florian Martin | Houston Public Media)
    The county-owned Astrodome opened in 1965 but has been vacant for 19 years. It closed to all events in 2009. (Photo Credit: Florian Martin | Houston Public Media)
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We take off from Ellington Field in a small, one-engine airplane and fly about 15 miles over to NRG Park.

We circle it twice before making our way back.

On Sunday, no aircraft (including drones) will be allowed near the area, and Air National Guard jets and helicopters will be nearby to intercept.

Pilots with the Civil Air Patrol, the official civilian auxiliary for the Air Force, test the security plan by flying into the restricted zone.

"(Air National Guard pilots) get the number off the side," Russell Peck, one of the pilots for the Civil Air Patrol, explained. "They will try to call us if we happen to be on an emergency frequency, which we should be as a general aviation person, should be monitoring that frequency."

If the aircraft isn't listening, the Air National Guard will signal it to follow and have it land nearby.

Since the terror attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration institutes these no-fly zones fairly regularly – not just for the Super Bowl but any event where a lot of people gather, like an Astros game, for example.

Breaches of the temporary flight restriction, or TFR, occur fairly regularly.

"If you happen to be talking to air traffic control, they would tell you about it," Peck said. "But otherwise, it's real easy to go into a TFR that you're just not aware of."

But he said most should be aware that the Super Bowl is happening at NRG Stadium on Sunday.

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