U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Air Traffic Organization Policy

ORDER
JO 7210.3X
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012
 
     
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration
       Includes:  Errata effective 2/9/12, Change 1 effective 7/26/12, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, and Change 3 effective 8/22/13
 

Section 2. Temporary Flight Restrictions in the Vicinity of Disaster/Hazard Areas (14 CFR Section 91.137)

19-2-1. PURPOSE

This section prescribes guidelines and procedures regarding the management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas in accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.137. TFRs issued under this section are for disaster/hazard situations that warrant regulatory measures to restrict flight operations for a specified amount of airspace, on a temporary basis, in order to provide protection of persons or property in the air or on the ground.

19-2-2. RATIONALE

TFRs in accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.137 are issued when necessary to:

a. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(1) - Protect persons and property on the surface or in the air from an existing or imminent hazard associated with an incident on the surface when the presence of low flying aircraft would magnify, alter, spread, or compound that hazard.

b. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(2) - Provide a safe environment for the operation of disaster relief aircraft.

c. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(3) - Prevent an unsafe congestion of sightseeing and other aircraft above an incident or event that may generate a high degree of public interest.

NOTE-
This provision applies only to disaster/hazard incidents of limited duration that would attract an unsafe congestion of sightseeing aircraft.

19-2-3. SITUATIONS FOR RESTRICTIONS

TFRs in accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.137 may be issued for, but are not limited to, the following situations:

a. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(1): toxic gas leaks or spills; flammable agents or fumes that, if fanned by rotor or propeller wash, could endanger persons or property on the surface or, if entered by an aircraft, could endanger persons or property in the air; volcanic eruptions that could endanger airborne aircraft and occupants; nuclear accident or incident; and hijackings.

b. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(2): aviation or ground resources engaged in wildfire suppression; and aircraft relief activities following a disaster (for example, earthquake, tidal wave, flood, etc.).

c. 14 CFR 91.137(a)(3): disaster/hazard incidents of limited duration that would attract an unsafe congestion of sightseeing aircraft, such as aircraft accident sites.

19-2-4. REQUESTING AUTHORITIES

A TFR under 14 CFR Section 91.137 may be requested by various entities, including military commands; regional directors of the Office of Emergency Planning; Civil Defense State Directors; civil authorities directing or coordinating air operations associated with disaster relief; civil authorities directing or coordinating organized relief air operations (including representatives of the Office of Emergency Planning, U.S. Forest Service, and state aeronautical agencies); and law enforcement agencies.

19-2-5. ISSUING TFRs

a. FAA Headquarters or the ATO service area managers (or their designee) having jurisdiction over the area concerned may issue a TFR.

b. TFRs issued for hijacking events may be issued by FAA Headquarters or the ATO service area managers (or designee) in consultation with Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

c. ARTCC managers (or designee) may issue TFRs in accordance with 14 CFR Sections 91.137(a)(1) and (a)(2).

d. TFRs issued in accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.137(a)(3) require FAA Headquarters approval.

e. TFRs issued for law enforcement activities require approval from the ATO Director of System Operations Security (or designee).

NOTE-
Law enforcement activities that may warrant TFRs include, but are not limited to, situations where there is a direct hazard to aircraft (for example, shots fired at aircraft) or where the presence of aircraft could exacerbate the danger to personnel on the ground (for example, SWAT or other personnel moving into position, etc.).

19-2-6. DEGREE OF RESTRICTIONS

a. Section 91.137(a)(1). Restrictions issued in accordance with this section prohibit all aircraft from operating in the designated area unless that aircraft is participating in the disaster/hazard relief activities and is being operated under the direction of the official in charge of on-scene emergency response activities.

b. Section 91.137(a)(2). Restrictions issued in accordance with this section prohibit all aircraft from operating in the designated area unless at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. The aircraft is participating in hazard relief activities and is being operated under the direction of the official in charge of on-scene emergency response activities.

2. The aircraft is carrying law enforcement officials.

3. The aircraft is operating under an ATC approved IFR flight plan.

4. The operation is conducted directly to or from an airport within the area, or is necessitated by the impracticability of VFR flight above or around the area due to weather or terrain. Notification must be given to the ATC facility or office that was specified in the NOTAM for coordination with the official in charge of on-scene emergency response activities. Also, the operation does not hamper or endanger relief activities and is not conducted for observing the disaster.

5. The aircraft is carrying properly accredited news representatives, and prior to entering the area, a flight plan is filed.

NOTE-
Coordination with the official in charge of on-scene emergency response activities is required prior to ATC allowing any IFR or VFR aircraft to enter into the TFR area.

c. Section 91.137(a)(3). Restrictions issued in accordance with this section prohibit all aircraft from operating in the designated area unless at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. The operation is conducted directly to or from an airport within the area, or is necessitated by the impracticability of VFR flight above or around the area due to weather or terrain, and the operation is not conducted for the purpose of observing the incident or event. Notification must be given to the ATC facility that was specified in the NOTAM for coordination with the official in charge of the activity.

2. The aircraft is operating under an ATC approved IFR flight plan.

3. The aircraft is carrying incident or event personnel, or law enforcement officials.

4. The aircraft is carrying properly accredited news representatives and, prior to entering that area, a flight plan is filed with FSS or the ATC facility specified in the NOTAM. Flight plans must include aircraft identification, type, and color; radio frequencies to be used; proposed times of entry to and exit from the TFR area; the name of news media or organization and purpose of flight.

19-2-7. RESPONSIBILITIES

a. All FAA personnel approving or issuing TFRs must ensure that restrictions meet regulatory criteria and are issued in accordance with FAA directives.

b. The ATO Director of System Operations Security (or designee) must:

1. Review and, if warranted, approve TFRs issued for law enforcement activities in accordance with the provisions of 14 CFR Section 91.137.

2. Act as the operational representative for media concerns regarding active 14 CFR 91.137 TFRs.

c. ATO service area managers (or designee) must:

1. Review all flight restrictions in their jurisdiction issued in accordance with 14 CFR 91.137 at least every 30 days.

2. Coordinate with affected air traffic facilities, event personnel, and local authorities when applicable.

3. Coordinate with TSA when hijacking situations are involved.

d. ARTCC air traffic managers (or designee) having jurisdiction over the area concerned must:

1. Accept requests for and, if warranted, establish TFRs in accordance with the provisions of 14 CFR Sections 91.137(a)(1) and 91.137(a)(2).

2. Contact the System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at (202) 267-8276 to obtain approval for TFRs requested for law enforcement activities.

3. Inform all affected facilities of the TFR; including location, altitude, and effective times.

4. Coordinate with SUA using agencies when a TFR may impact SUA activities.

5. Notify the Regional Operations Center when a 91.137(a)(1) TFR has been issued. Ensure information is passed to Service Center Operations Support Group (OSG) and SOSC personnel.

6. Reroute IFR traffic around the TFR, unless prior approval is obtained from the on-scene coordinator.

7. Maintain a chronological log of all TFR related actions on FAA Form 7230-4, Daily Record of Facility Operation Log, to include:

(a) The name and the organization of the person requesting the TFR.

(b) A brief description of the situation.

(c) The estimated duration of the restrictions.

(d) The name of the agency responsible for on-scene emergency activities and the telephone or other communications contact.

(e) A description of the location of the affected area.

8. Act as, or designate, an ATC coordination facility. If assistance is required, the coordination facility must serve as a primary “communication facility" for communications between the emergency control authorities and affected aircraft.

9. Issue flight restrictions, NOTAM, and appropriate cancellation in a timely manner.

e. All air traffic facilities must:

1. To the maximum extent possible, render assistance to the agency requesting the TFR.

2. Disseminate TFR information to all affected pilots in the area by all possible means.

3. Refer all media requests for information concerning TFRs to the SOSC at (202) 267-8276.

19-2-8. REVISIONS AND CANCELLATIONS

a. When restrictions are necessary beyond the published termination date/time, the ARTCC must ensure that a revised NOTAM and an appropriate cancellation are issued.

b. When the ARTCC within whose area the restrictions are established receives information from the ATO service area or the agency that requested the restrictions that the restrictions are no longer required, the ARTCC must take action to cancel them. If the information is received by another facility, that facility must notify the ARTCC, which will take appropriate action.

c. When it is obvious that the restrictions are no longer required but a cancellation request has not been received, the ARTCC must take action to ascertain the status of the restrictions from the ATO service area or the agency that requested the restrictions, and if appropriate, cancel them.

 

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