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Helicopters, other aircraft to patrol air above the Super Bowl

While police and other agencies protect the ground in and around New York City in advance of Sunday's Super Bowl, law enforcement officials also will be protecting the region from the air.

Law enforcement has set up a massive security system on land in preparation for the game, with the NYPD, FBI and Homeland Security, among others, ready to stop any threat. It's nearly impossible to even drive in and around MetLife Stadium in New Jersey unless you have a pass.

But overhead, it's a different story. That's where Homeland Security comes in with three UH-60 Black Hawks and other aircraft to patrol the skies.

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The Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine will be enforcing temporary flight restrictions over MetLife Stadium, starting just before kickoff on Sunday. Three Black Hawk helicopters, three Citation jets and two A-Star helicopters will be patrolling the skies to intercept any planes that violate the Super Bowl's airspace.

In other words, if any unauthorized aircraft tries to fly near MetLife, the Black Hawks will track and call in fighter jets to defend the space.

Aircraft will also send real-time video from above to law enforcement command centers on the ground. The video will help those on the ground with critical information, according to a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.

UH-60 Black HawkSource: CNBC

CNBC cameras got to ride along in a UH-60 Black Hawk and get a bird's eye view of the stadium in advance of the big game. The choppers can reach speeds in excess of 170 mph, and cruise to 20,000 feet. Each chopper requires a three-member crew.

The Cessna C-550 Citation jets can go faster and higher than the Black Hawks, reaching a maximum speed of 304 mph and an altitude of 43,000 feet. The AS-350 A-Star helicopters are lightweight and short range. They help to provide the video footage.

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The Office of Air and Marine also has patrolled other large events such as the presidential inauguration. In fact, the office is the largest aviation and marine law enforcement organization in the world, with more than 1,200 agents and 260 aircraft.

—By CNBC's Jennifer Schlesinger. Follow her on Twitter @jennyanne211.


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