Looking at the Washington sectional, several areas offshore are designated "Warning" areas: W-386, W-107, W-105 etc. The only notes given are "National Defense Operating Areas. Operations hazardous to the flight of aircraft conducted within these areas".

That would be enough to keep me well ashore, but out of morbid curiosity, what kind of activities are we talking about? Are these areas designated for naval gunnery/missile ranges?


Answering my own question, these areas are designated for a variety of naval training and testing exercises including missile launches and heavy guns firing, which is the primary reason it's hazardous. The airspace can be traversed under guidance from either Washington Center or FACSFAC VACAPES, but entry by VFR aircraft without established comms is not recommended.

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    $\begingroup$ Out of interest, where did you find the answer, and is similar information available for all warning/restricted areas? $\endgroup$
    – IanF1
    Jun 30 '15 at 11:39
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    $\begingroup$ Here's one such reference: wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Giant_Killer "Giant Killer" is the callsign for FACFAC VACAPES, the military facility controlling most warning areas off the coast of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, etc. including most of the ones I mentioned. I originally got the information from a PDF of a brief of the facility and the changes to the FAA rules for the airspace (these areas used to be totally off-limits when active but that caused congestion through the air traffic lanes between the zones). $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Jun 30 '15 at 14:54

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