How do civilian fighter jet operations arrange airspace usage for conducting flight tours? Do they use military operation areas? If they fly into class A can they perform maneuvers, or do they need to stay below class A? One such operation is migflug. When flying in airliners cross country I look out the window and think what it would be like to experience flying around and between cumulonimbus clouds in a jet fighter, but doubt ATC would allow it. It got me to wondering how the civilian jet tours handle airspace and speed restrictions.

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    $\begingroup$ Civilian aircraft are perfectly free to use MOAs at all times. There's no special arrangement needed; MOAs are regular airspace unless the military declares them active, at which point the military can do their own thing (which you can still freely fly through, they'd just rather you didn't because they might have to pause training and fighter time is expensive). $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Apr 16, 2015 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ All civilian aircraft, regardless of their origin, are subject to the same restrictions and regulations. The only variations are to take into account the performance of the aircraft (e.g. you don't slow a 747 to 120kts on approach because there is a slower aircraft ahead). The fact is it a fighter means nothing. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Apr 16, 2015 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ If they are in class A, can civilian fighter jets can do anything they want, loops, etc, as long as they are on instrument flight rules and in contact with ATC? $\endgroup$
    – Eric
    Apr 17, 2015 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


The same regulations apply to civilian ex-military aircraft as they apply to any other aircraft. Whether flying IFR or VFR, you will need to comply with the same rules, e.g. speed restrictions, airspace restrictions when under VFR, meteorological conditions, etc.

An exception can be speed restrictions, where a speed restriction would be in contradiction with the parameters of the aircraft to perform safe flight, e.g. the minimum clean speed being above 250kts or similar.

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    $\begingroup$ As an additional FYI, fixed-wing tactical aircraft that find their way into civilian hands are usually registered as Experimental due to their being unable to meet certain certification criteria under Parts 23 and/or 25. The end result is that they may be subject to certain additional restrictions on a case-by-case basis. $\endgroup$
    – habu
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @habu: What sorts of certification criteria can't they meet? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    May 5, 2018 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Sean you'd need to go through the entirety of Parts 23 and 25 to cover everything, but the one that immediately comes to mind is the 61-knot stall speed requirement for single engine aircraft. Meeting this criteria would be impossible even for high-performance WWII straight-wing piston-engined aircraft, nevermind something like a Cold War-era MiG-21 (I once saw one listed in Trade-A-Plane for low hundred k's USD) $\endgroup$
    – habu
    May 7, 2018 at 21:58

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