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More Limits for Ad Banner Planes

Background checks, ID verification and flight plans will be required for pilots with waivers for World Series flyovers.

October 19, 2002|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

Responding to concerns by police and Major League Baseball, federal transportation officials on Friday said they will take extra precautions with banner-towing planes that fly over Edison International Field during the World Series.

The Transportation Security Administration said it will no longer issue waivers for pilots hoping to fly small aircraft over the Anaheim stadium as well as Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco during the World Series.

But pilots who had earlier obtained waivers will be allowed to make flights, said David Steigman, a spokesman for the security administration in Washington.

The action falls short of the ban that local officials requested for the World Series, which begins today in Anaheim.

"I can tell you right now we're not happy," said Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez, a department spokesman. "We asked for the temporary flight restrictions. Security has been a concern since Sept. 11. I think this is obvious."

Federal authorities imposed no-fly zones over major sporting events in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but recently started issuing waivers.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday also imposed new restrictions on aircraft hoping to tow advertisements above the World Series ballparks. Not only will pilots need waivers, they must depart from a local airport and file a flight plan by 7 a.m. on the day of the game, said FAA spokesman Jerry Snyder.

Pilots will need permission from FAA flight control to pass above fans, Snyder said. All pilots who apply for waivers must have an FBI criminal background check, Steigman said. Officials plan to check the identities of all pilots planning to fly over the games in Anaheim and San Francisco, to ensure they are the same pilots who received waivers.

In another move, the Transportation Security Administration is expanding the no-fly zone from three miles to five miles from the two ballparks, Steigman said.

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Times staff writer Kimi Yoshino contributed to this report.

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