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ALC-42: Airspace, Special Use Airspace and TFRs
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Types of Temporary Flight Restrictions

No matter where you live, chances are good that you will at some point be affected by TFRs issued under 14 CFR 91.141, “Flight restrictions in the proximity of the Presidential and other parties.”  This rule states that:

White House.jpgNo person may operate an aircraft over or in the vicinity of any area to be visited or traveled by the President, the Vice President, or other public figures contrary to the restrictions established by the Administrator and published in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).

Violation of a TFR issued under this regulation could lead to very adverse consequences, since security of the President and Vice President is taken very seriously.  This rule is also used to establish TFRs for the protection of presidential candidates.  Because “presidential TFRs” are often established on very short notice, it is extremely important to check FDC NOTAMS before every flight – even routine flights in the vicinity of your home airport.

Be sure you understand where the TFR is centered and its effect on the dimensions of the no-fly area. Violations often occur when the pilot does not understand where the TFR is centered and its dimensions.

Several different regulations permit the FAA to establish temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for a variety of special events.

Air Shows and Sporting Events
For aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events, 14 CFR 91.145airshow.jpg gives the FAA authority to establish TFRs to protect persons or property on the ground or in the air, to maintain air safety and efficiency, or to prevent the unsafe congestion of aircraft in the vicinity of an aerial demonstration or sporting event.  In practice, TFRs issued under 14 CFR 91.145 are issued primarily for air shows.  The FAA determines when a 14 CFR 91.145 TFR should be issued for a sporting event on a case-by-case basis.

FDC 0/0367 (Search Sporting Events) issued under 14 CFR 99.7 on "Special Security Instructions," restricts flight over stadiums during major league baseball, National Football League, NCAA, and motor speedway events.  The so-called “stadium TFR” prohibits stadium.jpgall aircraft and parachute operations at or below 3,000 AGL within a 3 nm radius of any stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people when there is a major league baseball game, NFL game, NCAA division one football game, or major motor speedway event occurring.  This TFR applies to the entire US domestic national airspace system, and takes effect from one hour before the scheduled event time until one hour after the event concludes.

Disaster/Hazard Areas
forestfire.jpgThe FAA has the authority under 14 CFR 91.137 to restrict aircraft operation in designated areas unless they are participating in disaster/hazard relief efforts.  The three types of TFRs issued under this regulation are to:


  1. Protect persons or property on the surface or in the air from a hazard associated with an incident on the surface (14 CFR 91.137(a)(1)). Fire fighting activities involving the use of aircraft are normally protected by a TFR.
  2. Provide a safe environment for the operation of disaster relief aircraft (14 CFR 91.137(a)(2)).
  3. Prevent unsafe congestion of sightseeing or other aircraft above an incident or event which may generate a high degree of public interest (14 CFR 91.137(a)(3)). Aircraft accident sites or similar activities may be issued a TFR.

Space Flight
TFR_space_flight.jpgThe FAA has the authority under 14 CFR 91.143 to issue FDC NOTAMs restricting flight in areas designated for space flight operations.

For detailed information on each type of regulatory TFR, please review FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-63C, which includes recent changes to 14 CFR Part 91.

As is the case for any kind of TFR, it is imperative that you carefully review and fully understand the  NOTAM that establishes a TFR before attempting to fly in, or in the vicinity of, such restrictions.