February 2010 Issue

The New SFRAs

Two recent additions to the list of special flight rules areas are worth studying, even if you never go near them. Thankfully, the FAA has training available.

Airspace designations, along with what is and isn’t permissible inside specific areas, are perennial sources of frustration and confusion among pilots of even considerable experience. Once one’s understanding develops beyond the different classes and past special use airspace, there’s always the issue of how to deal with airspace in which more and different rules or procedures apply. In recent years, special flight rules areas, SFRAs, have been created to ease the flow of traffic and prevent unsafe conditions at the Grand Canyon and at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The dimensions, rules and procedures for these areas are clearly documented in various places, including FAR Part 93, the FAA’s Airport/Facility Directory and the respective visual charts. (It’s always helpful, of course, to ask local pilots about any tricks they may know or additional information necessary to safely operate in these and similar areas.) Meanwhile, two additional SFRAs were created recently—one over Washington, D.C., and the other at New York, N.Y. Both were created in the aftermath of significant events and demand pilots planning to operate in or near them become familiar with their requirements.

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