JO 7400.2K
Effective Date:
April 3, 2014

Subject:  Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters


Chapter 23. Restricted Areas

Section 1. General


A restricted area is airspace established under 14 CFR part 73 provisions, within which the flight of aircraft, while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restriction.

23-1-2. PURPOSE

Restricted areas are established when determined necessary to confine or segregate activities considered hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft.


Identify restricted areas with the letter “R" prefix followed by a dash, a four-digit number, a location, and the two-letter state abbreviation (e.g., R-2309, Yuma, AZ). A letter suffix is used to indicate area subdivisions. Airspace Regulations and ATC Procedures Group assigns identification numbers.


a. The restricted area floor may be established to the surface only when the using agency owns, leases, or by agreement, controls the underlying surface.

Existing restricted areas established from the surface before December 1, 1967, are exempt from the “own, lease, or control" requirement. This remains valid until amendment action is taken which would expand the boundaries, altitudes, or times of use, or changes the designated purpose of the area. Nevertheless, using agencies of such restricted areas are encouraged to acquire sufficient control of the property to prevent possible disruption of that agency's activities.

b. Provisions must be made for aerial access to private and public use land beneath the restricted area, and to accommodate instrument arrivals/departures at affected airports with minimum delay.

c. The restricted area must exclude the airspace 1,500 feet AGL and below within a 3 NM radius of airports available for public use. This exclusion may be increased if necessary based on unique circumstances.

23-1-5. JOINT USE

a. Restricted areas are established for joint use by assigning an ATC facility as the controlling agency, and by executing a joint use letter of procedure between the controlling and using agencies. The letter of procedure provides for the operation of nonparticipating IFR and/or VFR aircraft within the area. Flight within the restricted area is controlled by the using agency except when the area has been released to the controlling agency. During such periods, the controlling agency may permit nonparticipating aircraft operations in the restricted area.

b. Prepare letters of procedure in accordance with FAAO JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration. The format of the letter may be modified as needed based on local requirements. The joint-use letter must include procedures for the timely activation, release, or recall of the airspace. The letter may also specify conditions and procedures whereby the controlling agency may route traffic through the area while in use, if approved separation can be maintained between nonparticipating aircraft and the user's activities.

c. The service area office must be the approval authority for joint-use letters of procedure. This authority may be delegated to a FAA ATC facility designated as the controlling agency.

d. Requirements for coordination and communications between the controlling and using agencies concerning the activation and release of joint-use restricted areas must be outlined in the letter of procedure. A record must be made of all such communications. These records must be retained in accordance with FAAO JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration.


a.  Temporary restricted areas may be designated when necessary to accommodate hazardous activities associated with military exercises, test programs, etc.

b. Proponents must be encouraged to seek permission from using agencies to conduct their activities within existing permanent restricted areas before submitting a request for designation of a temporary restricted area.

c. The duration of a temporary restricted area must be specified in the NPRM/Final Rule.


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