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PHAK is not clear about VFR flying into Warning Areas. Warning areas are similar in nature to restricted areas, which says IFR can be cleared through the airspace but VFR is not mentionned. Sectional uses the same visual cue as Prohibited and Restricted but that's a little thin to draw conclusions.

AIM says Prohibited and Restricted are ruled by 14 CFR Part 73 but nothing seems to rule Warning Areas: Warning areas, military operations areas (MOAs), alert areas, and controlled firing areas (CFAs) are nonregulatory special use airspace.

Do you need clearance to fly VFR into a Warning Area?

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No, unless explicitly directed by ATC not to enter a warning area, you can enter one while flying under VFR. Most warning areas are located outside of the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) which would require filing a flight plan and obtaining a clearance to cross. Once out there, you’re in international waters, and not under the jurisdiction of the FAA.

That being said, if you intend to enter a warning area on a flight, it would be wise to obtain a preflight briefing and inquire if the warning area will be active during the time of your intended flight. In addition, if ATC is warding people away from a warning area at the behest of the military, it will be very wise to heed their advice and stay out of there. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread…

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  • $\begingroup$ As someone who used to schedule missions in warning areas a long time ago, I second Carlo's recommendation: If the area is hot, stay out. If they don't see you, things could go very bad. If they do see you, they'll likely abort the mission. That ends up wasting the day for a whole bunch of people. Don't be that guy. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Sep 13, 2023 at 21:43

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