Section 1. General
A military operations area (MOA) is airspace established outside of Class A airspace to separate or segregate certain non-hazardous military flight activities from IFR aircraft and to identify for VFR aircraft where these activities are conducted.
MOAs are established to contain nonhazardous, military flight activities including, but not limited to, air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, low altitude tactics, etc.
Identify a MOA by a name followed by the acronym MOA and the two-letter state abbreviation (e.g., Dome MOA, AZ). MOA subdivisions may be identified by a suffix consisting of a number, letter, cardinal point, the terms “High" or “Low,” or a combination (e.g., Moody 3; Gamecock B; Tiger North; Smoky High; Coastal 1 East). Either the proponent or the Service Center OSG selects MOA names.
Select an easily understood name. Lengthy or composite names are cumbersome and tend to be confusing in radio communications and in charting.
MOAs may extend below 1,200 feet AGL if a mission requirement exists and there is minimal adverse aeronautical effect. Provisions must be made to enable aerial access to private and public use land beneath the area, and for terminal VFR and IFR flight operations. Provisions must also be made to accommodate instrument arrivals/departures at affected airports with minimum delay. The MOA 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. If the MOA floor extends below 1,200 feet AGL over a charted private airport, coordination should be effected with the airport operator to accommodate airport operations.
MOAs should be located to create minimum adverse impact on nonparticipating aircraft operations. MOAs must not be established offshore beyond the United States 12 NM territorial limit. To the extent possible, locate MOAs:
- Within 100 miles of the user's base of flight origin.
- Outside terminal area airspace, ATS Routes, charted terminal VFR routes, and uncharted known high volume VFR routes.
- Within radar and communications coverage of an ATC facility or MRU.
- In effect, MOAs are always joint use in that VFR aircraft are not denied access, and IFR aircraft may be routed through the airspace, by agreement between controlling and using agencies, when approved separation can be provided from the MOA activity.
- Procedures for access to the airspace by nonparticipating IFR traffic must be specified in a letter of agreement between the controlling and using agencies.
- Temporary MOAs are established to accommodate the military's need for additional airspace to periodically conduct short-term exercises that supplement routine training. When existing airspace is inadequate to accommodate these short-term military exercises, temporary MOAs may be established for a period not to exceed 45 days. On a case-by-case basis, the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2, may approve a longer period if the proponent provides justification for the increase.
- Once a temporary MOA is approved, the military is responsible for publicizing the exercise within 50 miles of the affected airspace. The publicity may be accomplished through the public media, pilot forums, distribution of information bulletins to known aviation interests, etc. Additionally, the FAA will publish a graphic notice into the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) External Links on the Air Traffic Plans and Publications website early enough to provide public 28 days notification prior to the exercise start date in accordance with paragraph 21-1-15, Charting and Publication Requirements.
- Pointer NOTAMs should be issued in accordance with FAA Order 7930.2.
- When it is determined that the need for a temporary MOA supporting multiple short-term military exercises will occur on a regular and continuing basis each calendar year, the airspace should be considered for establishment as a permanent MOA with provisions for activation by NOTAM. Anticipated usage, supporting the short-term military exercises, must be included in the legal description times of use.
MOAs may be established in Class G airspace. Using agencies and participating pilots operating in such MOAs should be aware that nonparticipating aircraft may legally operate IFR or VFR without an ATC clearance in this airspace. Pilots of nonparticipating aircraft may operate VFR in Class G airspace in conditions as low as 1 statute mile flight visibility and clear of clouds (see 14 CFR, § 91.155 for complete Class G airspace VFR minima). Any special procedures regarding operations within MOAs that encompass Class G airspace should be included in a letter of agreement between the controlling and using agencies.