Section 1. General


A controlled firing area (CFA) is established to contain activities, which if not conducted in a controlled environment, would be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft.


CFAs provide a means to accommodate, without impact to aviation, certain hazardous activities that can be immediately suspended if a nonparticipating aircraft approaches the area. Activities conducted in CFAs are not segregated from IFR or VFR traffic. Additionally, a CFA is not intended to be a long term supplement to hazardous activities conducted in an adjacent restricted area.

  1. CFAs should be considered only when necessary to accommodate activities that are capable of being immediately suspended, and it has been specifically determined that designation of a restricted area is not warranted. CFAs are not to be used as an interim solution while a restricted area proposal is pending.
  2. The distinguishing feature of a CFA, compared to other SUA, is that CFA activities must be suspended immediately when a nonparticipating aircraft approaches the area. The responsibility lies totally with the CFA user to terminate activities so that there is no impact on aviation. There is no requirement for nonparticipating aircraft to avoid the airspace, nor are any communications or ATC separation requirements imposed.

CFAs are not depicted on aeronautical charts because the user terminates the activities when required to prevent endangering nonparticipating aircraft.


Although there are no set limits to the dimensions of a CFA, the size of the area must be reasonable considering the types of activities conducted, visual surveillance, communications capabilities and activity termination requirements.

  1. Only those ground-based hazardous activities that can be immediately suspended on notice that a nonparticipating aircraft is approaching are appropriate for a CFA. Examples of such activities include:
  1. Ordnance disposal.
  2. Blasting.
  3. Static testing of large rocket motors.
  1. CFAs are not intended to contain aerial activities including aircraft ordnance delivery and ground-to-air fires targeting aircraft or other objects in the air. Observer or surveillance aircraft are permitted.
  2. Other activities may be considered provided they can meet the criteria and comply with the safety precautions prescribed in this chapter.
  3. CFAs may be established for either military or civil activities.

The Service Center OSG is the approval authority for CFAs. For other than one-time events, CFAs should be approved for a specific period in support of the activity being conducted as determined by the Service Center OSG. An expiration date must be assigned for each CFA.


The Service Center OSG may suspend or revoke a CFA if a question arises about the safety of the operation, compliance with safety precautions or conditions of approval, or if unforeseen impact on nonparticipating aeronautical operations occurs.