ENR 5.2 Military Exercise and Training Areas

  1. Military Operations Area (MOA)
    1. MOAs 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.
    2. Examples of activities conducted in MOAs 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 MOAs.
    3. 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 MOAs 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 traffic advisories.
    4. Permanent MOAs are charted on Sectional Aeronautical, VFR Terminal Area, and the appropriate En Route Low Altitude charts.


      Temporary MOAs are not charted. For temporary restricted areas, pilots should review the Domestic Notices found in the External Links section of the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) NOTAM Search or Air Traffic Plans and Publications website, 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.

  2. Alert Areas
    1. 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 must be conducted in accordance with FAA regulations, without waiver, and pilots of participating aircraft as well as pilots transiting the area must be equally responsible for collision avoidance.
  3. Controlled Firing Area (CFA)
    1. CFAs 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 CFAs since they do not cause a nonparticipating aircraft to change its flight path.
  4. Military Training Route (MTR)
    1. National security depends largely on the deterrent effect of our airborne military forces. To be proficient, the military services must train in a wide range of airborne tactics. One phase of this training involves “low level” combat tactics. The required maneuvers and high speeds are such that they may occasionally make the see-and-avoid aspect of VFR flight more difficult without increased vigilance in areas containing such operations. In an effort to ensure the greatest practical level of safety for all flight operations, the MTR program was conceived.
    2. The MTR program is a joint venture by the FAA and the DOD. MTRs are mutually developed for use by the military for the purpose of conducting low-altitude, high-speed training. The routes above 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL) are developed to be flown, to the maximum extent possible, under IFR. The routes at 1,500 feet AGL and below are generally developed to be flown under VFR.
    3. Generally, MTRs are established below 10,000 feet MSL for operations at speeds in excess of 250 knots. However, route segments may be defined at higher altitudes for purposes of route continuity. For example, route segments may be defined for descent, climbout, and mountainous terrain. There are IFR and VFR routes as follows:
      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 must be 5 miles or more; and flights must not be conducted below a ceiling of less than 3,000 feet AGL.
    4. MTRs will be identified and charted as follows:
      1. Route Identification
        1. MTRs with no segment above 1,500 feet AGL must be identified by four number characters; e.g., IR1206, VR1207.
        2. MTRs that include one or more segments above 1,500 feet AGL must be identified by three number characters; e.g., IR206, VR207.
        3. Alternate IR/VR routes or route segments are identified by using the basic/principal route designation followed by a letter suffix, e.g., IR008A, VR1007B, etc.
      2. Route Charting
        1. IFR Enroute Low Altitude Chart. This chart will depict all IR routes and all VR routes that accommodate operations above 1,500 feet AGL.
        2. VFR Sectional Aeronautical Charts. These charts will depict military training activities such as IR and VR information.
        3. Area Planning (AP/1B) Chart (DOD Flight Information Publication-FLIP). This chart is published by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) primarily for military users and contains detailed information on both IR and VR routes.
    5. DoD FLIP- Department of Defense Flight Information Publications describe IR/VR routes through charts and narratives, and the FAA provides information regarding these routes to all users via IFR and VFR charts.


      DoD users that require copies of FLIP, should contact:
      Defense Logistics Agency for Aviation
      Mapping Customer Operations (DLA AVN/QAM)
      8000 Jefferson Davis Highway
      Richmond, VA 23297-5339
      Toll free phone: 1-800-826-0342
      Commercial: 804-279-6500

      MTR information from the FLIP is available for pilot briefings through Flight Service. (See subparagraph 4.6.1 below.)
    6. Availability of MTR information.
      1. Pilots may obtain preflight MTR information through Flight Service. (See paragraph ENR 1.10-1., Preflight Preparation.)
      2. MTR routes are depicted on IFR En Route Low Altitude Charts and VFR Sectional Aeronautical Charts, which are downloaded free and available on the FAA website at https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/.
    7. Nonparticipating aircraft are not prohibited from flying within an MTR; however, extreme vigilance should be exercised when conducting flight through or near these routes. Pilots, while inflight, should contact the FSS within 100 NM of a particular MTR to obtain current information or route usage in their vicinity. Information available includes times of scheduled activity, altitudes in use on each route segment, and actual route width. Route width varies for each MTR and can extend several miles on either side of the charted MTR centerline. Route width information for IFR Military Training Route (IR) and VFR Military Training Route (VR) MTRs is also available in the FLIP AP/1B along with additional MTR (slow routes/air refueling routes) information. When requesting MTR information, pilots should give the FSS their position, route of flight, and destination in order to reduce frequency congestion and permit the FSS specialist to identify the MTR which could be a factor.