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Military Operations Area (MOA)

Source:, Featuring Bob Martens

Military Airspace

Military airspace activities


"Many Military Operations Areas exist in the US - where high-speed jets routinely practice high-speed aerobatic maneuvers.

How do we find out their locations? How do we find out whether they are active? How do we find out restrictions associated with the areas? Who do we talk to when approaching these areas? Unless you can answer each and every one of these questions, you are setting yourself up for the thrill of your life."


"Specifically, what kind of activity might I expect in a Military Operations Area and I am prohibited from operating there?"


"Aerial refueling, formation flying and tactical training are common in these areas. While the military shares the responsibility to see and avoid, we must acknowledge the distractions involved in their activities. Yes, they need to be looking outside their aircraft but much of their focus is inside and also on the aircraft that they are working with.

Pilots flying IFR will be kept clear of conflicting traffic by Air Traffic Control. And while VFR Pilots are not prohibited from flying in Military Operations Areas, they certainly should keep an active scan for traffic. The local Air Traffic Sector or Flight Service Station will be a valuable resource as to their current activity. If you are not talking to these sectors, you are going to lose this information and they can't help you a bit.

Once again, you have to think about placing yourself in this military aircraft and acknowledge the fact that they are probably not looking for you as actively as you can be looking for them."


"How can we find out about these MOAs, or other airspace that might be restricted by the military?"


"Mark, special use airspace areas are depicted on your aeronautical charts. The areas are identified by type and identifying number or name, their effective altitudes, their operating times, weather conditions during which the area is in operation and the voice call of the controlling agency. This information is located on the back or front panels of the chart."

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