Graphics for Special Use Airspace Sound Clip
Below is an excerpt from the
AIM and more.
Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 3, Section 4
Special Use Airspace
Special use airspace consists of that airspace wherein activities must be
confined because of their nature, or wherein limitations are imposed upon
aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both.
Except for controlled firing areas, special use airspace areas are
depicted on aeronautical charts.
Prohibited and restricted areas are regulatory special use airspace and
are established in 14 CFR Part 73 through the rulemaking process.
Warning areas, military operations areas (MOA's), alert areas, and
controlled firing areas (CFA's) are nonregulatory special use airspace.
Special use airspace descriptions (except CFA's) are contained in FAA
Order 7400.8, Special Use Airspace.
Special use airspace (except CFA's) are charted on IFR or visual charts
and include the hours of operation, altitudes, and the controlling agency.
3-4-2. Prohibited Areas
Prohibited areas contain airspace of defined dimensions identified by an
area on the surface of the earth within which the flight of aircraft is
prohibited. Such areas are established for security or other reasons
associated with the national welfare. These areas are published in the
Federal Register and are depicted on aeronautical charts.
3-4-3. Restricted Areas
Restricted areas contain airspace identified by an area on the surface of
the earth within which the flight of aircraft, while not wholly
prohibited, is subject to restrictions. Activities within these areas must
be confined because of their nature or limitations imposed upon aircraft
operations that are not a part of those activities or both. Restricted
areas denote the existence of unusual, often invisible, hazards to
aircraft such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles.
Penetration of restricted areas without authorization from the using or
controlling agency may be extremely hazardous to the aircraft and its
occupants. Restricted areas are published in the Federal Register and
constitute 14 CFR Part 73.
ATC facilities apply the following procedures when aircraft are operating
on an IFR clearance (including those cleared by ATC to maintain
VFR-on-top) via a route which lies within joint-use restricted airspace.
the restricted area is not active and has been released to the
controlling agency (FAA), the ATC facility will allow the aircraft to
operate in the restricted airspace without issuing specific clearance
for it to do so.
the restricted area is active and has not been released to the
controlling agency (FAA), the ATC facility will issue a clearance which
will ensure the aircraft avoids the restricted airspace unless it is on
an approved altitude reservation mission or has obtained its own
permission to operate in the airspace and so informs the controlling
The above apply only to joint-use restricted airspace and not to
prohibited and nonjoint-use airspace. For the latter categories, the ATC
facility will issue a clearance so the aircraft will avoid the
restricted airspace unless it is on an approved altitude reservation
mission or has obtained its own permission to operate in the airspace
and so informs the controlling facility.
Restricted airspace is depicted on the en route chart appropriate for use
at the altitude or flight level being flown. For joint-use restricted
areas, the name of the controlling agency is shown on these charts. For
all prohibited areas and nonjoint-use restricted areas, unless otherwise
requested by the using agency, the phrase "NO A/G" is shown.
3-4-4. Warning Areas
warning area is airspace of defined dimensions, extending from three
nautical miles outward from the coast of the U.S., that contains activity
that may be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. The purpose of such
warning areas is to warn nonparticipating pilots of the potential danger.
A warning area may be located over domestic or international waters or
3-4-5. Military Operations Areas
MOA's consist of airspace of defined vertical and lateral limits
established for the purpose of separating certain military training
activities from IFR traffic. Whenever a MOA is being used,
nonparticipating IFR traffic may be cleared through a MOA if IFR
separation can be provided by ATC. Otherwise, ATC will reroute or restrict
nonparticipating IFR traffic.
Examples of activities conducted in MOA's include, but are not limited to:
air combat tactics, air intercepts, aerobatics, formation training, and
low-altitude tactics. Military pilots flying in an active MOA are exempted
from the provisions of 14 CFR Section 91.303(c) and (d) which prohibits
aerobatic flight within Class D and Class E surface areas, and within
Federal airways. Additionally, the Department of Defense has been issued
an authorization to operate aircraft at indicated airspeeds in excess of
250 knots below 10,000 feet MSL within active MOA's.
Pilots operating under VFR should exercise extreme caution while flying
within a MOA when military activity is being conducted. The activity
status (active/inactive) of MOA's may change frequently. Therefore, pilots
should contact any FSS within 100 miles of the area to obtain accurate
real-time information concerning the MOA hours of operation. Prior to
entering an active MOA, pilots should contact the controlling agency for
MOA's are depicted on sectional, VFR Terminal Area, and Enroute Low
3-4-6. Alert Areas
Alert areas are depicted on aeronautical charts to inform nonparticipating
pilots of areas that may contain a high volume of pilot training or an
unusual type of aerial activity. Pilots should be particularly alert when
flying in these areas. All activity within an alert area shall be
conducted in accordance with CFR's, without waiver, and pilots of
participating aircraft as well as pilots transiting the area shall be
equally responsible for collision avoidance.
3-4-7. Controlled Firing Areas
CFA's contain activities which, if not conducted in a controlled
environment, could be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. The
distinguishing feature of the CFA, as compared to other special use
airspace, is that its activities are suspended immediately when spotter
aircraft, radar, or ground lookout positions indicate an aircraft might be
approaching the area. There is no need to chart CFA's since they do not
cause a nonparticipating aircraft to change its flight path.
1. IFR Military Training Routes - (IR):
Operations on these routes are conducted in accordance with IFR regardless
of weather conditions.
2. VFR Military Training Routes - (VR):
Operations on these routes are conducted in accordance with VFR except
flight visibility shall be 5 miles or more; and flights shall not be
conducted below a ceiling of less than 3,000 feet AGL.
Military training routes will be identified and charted as follows:
1. Route identification.
MTR's with no segment above 1,500 feet AGL shall be identified by four
number characters; e.g., IR1206, VR1207.
MTR's that include one or more segments above 1,500 feet AGL shall be
identified by three number characters; e.g., IR206, VR207.