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AIM

10/12/17

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Special Use Airspace

Section 4. Special Use Airspace

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−4−1. General

a.

Special use airspace (SUA) 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. SUA areas are depicted on
aeronautical charts, except for controlled firing areas
(CFA), temporary military operations areas (MOA),
and temporary restricted areas.

b.

Prohibited and restricted areas are regulatory

special use airspace and are established in 14 CFR
Part 73 through the rulemaking process.

c.

Warning areas, MOAs, alert areas, CFAs, and

national security areas (NSA) are nonregulatory
special use airspace.

d.

Special use airspace descriptions (except CFAs)

are contained in FAA Order JO 7400.8, Special Use
Airspace.

e.

Permanent SUA (except CFAs) is charted on

Sectional Aeronautical, VFR Terminal Area, and
applicable En Route charts, and include the hours of
operation, altitudes, and the controlling agency.

NOTE

For temporary restricted areas and temporary MOAs,
pilots should review the Notices to Airman Publication
(NTAP), the FAA SUA website, and/or contact the
appropriate overlying ATC facility to determine the effect
of non

−depicted SUA areas along their routes of flight.

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−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.

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−4−3. Restricted Areas

a.

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.

b.

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.

1.

If 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.

2.

If 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 facility.

NOTE

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.

c.

Permanent restricted areas are charted on

Sectional Aeronautical, VFR Terminal Area, and the
appropriate En Route charts.

NOTE

Temporary restricted areas are not charted.

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−4−4. Warning Areas

A 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

3/29/18

AIM