What Is Special Use Airspace?

If you are interested in a career in aviation like a pilot or a flight dispatcher, you are going to need to know about airspace and the many different types. There is controlled and uncontrolled airspace as well as different classes within controlled airspace itself. But where does special use airspace fit in to this and what does this classification mean? These different categories can be confusing, but as an aeronautics school, we are here to clear it up and make it easier to understand.  

Cloudy Blue SkyThese airspaces are areas with strict limitations on aircraft operations for various reasons. They can also be known as a special area of operation (SAO). These designated areas can be found by looking for specific marking with the National Aeronautical Charting Group (NACG).

Types of Special Use Airspace

Special use airspace also consists of different classifications that meet certain criteria.

Prohibited Areas

Prohibited areas are specific zones where aircraft flight is not permitted. These areas are usually created for national safety reasons. Camp David and the White House are examples of prohibited airspace. These spaces are denoted with a P followed by a number.

Restricted Areas

Restricted areas allow aircraft flight but there are various limitations. These areas are usually confined for safety reasons and are often associated with unusual activity. Some examples of restricted airspace include the presence of missiles or artillery fire. You will find these areas marked by an R followed by a number. 

Warning Areas

This airspace also typically involves hazardous conditions like restricted areas, but the difference is the airspace doesn’t solely belong to the United States.  Warning areas may be located over international waters. A W followed by a number is used to denote this area on a chart.

Military Operations Areas (MOAs)

Military Operations Areas are used to outline areas of military training activities and can vary depending on what is going on and when. Air traffic control may choose to reroute or restrict aircraft from this airspace.

Controlled Firing Areas

This airspace involves possible activities that could be hazardous to an aircraft. It is not marked on charts because the dangerous activities must cease when an aircraft is approaching this area. aircraft can still fly through this area.

Alert Areas

Alert areas are areas of caution. They are marked to denote places where there may be pilot training or other unusual aerial activity. It is the responsibility of the pilots to take precaution.

Why Should Flight Dispatchers Be Aware of FAA Special Use Airspace? 

Aircraft dispatchers are concerned with making sure that flight trajectories are safe and that flights are having a safe route to their destination. This means that flight dispatchers are responsible for creating and filing flight plans that ensure the safety of all of the passengers aboard. This means making sure that they are authorized to fly over certain airspace and that they have the most accurate flight planning available. Further, knowledge of special airspace allows dispatchers to avoid or plan for potential airspace restrictions or hazards. This allows the aircraft dispatcher to make an effective route to the destination. Also, FAA flight planning 

What Are Temporary Flight Restrictions?

One of the most underrated and overlooked aspects of special-use airspace is when a certain airspace is given a temporary flight restriction. A temporary flight restriction is put into place by the FAA for the purpose of protecting people and property in the air or on the ground. As the name suggests, these kinds of flight restrictions do not typically last a long time since they are usually held in times of high-profile events like political rallies, international summits, and even presidential visits. In times like these, having a special restriction over the airspace may be necessary because of the security risk that high-profile visits like these may have. If you are interested in getting your FAA dispatcher license, it may be necessary for you to learn how these air-spaces work so that you could perform your duties more effectively. 

Understanding Military Operations Area Airspace

Military Operations Areas (MOAs) are airspace areas established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States to separate and segregate certain military activities from general aviation traffic. MOAs are typically used for military training exercises, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground bombing, and other military operations that involve high-speed and high-altitude flights. Obviously, an FAA flight plan that is geared towards civilian aircraft will work to avoid these areas. As an aircraft dispatcher, it is important for you to understand that FAA flight planning involves understanding what special events are happening in the area and whether you should avoid them. 

What Is Warning Area Airspace? 

Another important consideration for people looking to be aircraft dispatchers is understanding what warning area airspace is. A warning area is an airspace designation in which activities such as military training, testing, or other operations are conducted that could be hazardous to nonparticipating aircrafts. These areas are typically located over land or water and are defined with specific lateral and vertical boundaries. It is important for pilots and aircraft dispatchers to be aware of the location and boundaries of warning areas, as well as any scheduled activities that may be taking place within them, in order to avoid potential hazards and ensure safe flight operations. At our flight dispatcher school, we could assist you with this today as you learn how to best conduct your duties as an FAA dispatcher. 


More About Sheffield School of Aeronautics

If you are intrigued by airspace and the aviation industry, you could turn this interest into a career. Our flight dispatcher training will give more in-depth information about FAA special use airspace and help you get your FAA aircraft dispatcher certificate. At Sheffield School of Aeronautics, we can help you learn more about aircraft dispatcher license requirements and how to get your FAA license. Contact us today for more.


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