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I had a question about restricted airspace that I wanted to clear up before resuming my training Sunday; you know, to maximize time in the air.

The airport I am training at is KMRH and it's surrounded by lots of restricted/military airspace/MOAs. From what I have read, restricted airspace requires permission to fly in; however we have never done that, we just call up on Unicom and state our intentions to other pilots.

If someone here could look at an online sectional of the area and get an idea of what I am saying and attempt to explain this to me it would be very helpful. If nobody can crack through my thick skull, I can always ask my CFI!

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"Restricted Airspace" is exactly that; it comes with various restrictions that vary between areas. According to the AIM,

"Restricted areas denote the existence of unusual, often invisible, hazards to aircraft such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles. Penetration of restricted areas without authorization from the using or controlling agency may be extremely hazardous to the aircraft and its occupants."

My old CFI's example was flying through an active artillery range. The guns are required to stop while aircraft are near. They will find you and have some very strongly-worded advice for you when you land.

Like MOAs, these areas can be "hot" at certain times. The difference here would mean that you shouldn't fly into restricted airspace while it is "hot" while there is no such restriction with MOAs, though you are requested to route around them if possible. Some areas might require additional visibility and/or altitude requirements or restrict based on the type and class of aircraft.

"Prohibited Airspace" is not allowed to be entered at any time without prior authorization of the controlling agency or explicit permission during an emergency.

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  • $\begingroup$ This clears it up a bit. I was confusing the markings on the blue line for restricted airspace and thought it covered the entire area i was in. $\endgroup$ – aaronstran Jan 6 '16 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome! While true, this doesn't answer the question which is about taking-off without asking permission from an airfield in a restricted airspace. $\endgroup$ – mins Jan 6 '16 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ A non-towered, UNICOM airfield would be treated the same as if it weren't in that airspace $\endgroup$ – mdupont Jan 6 '16 at 6:33
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The most obvious point to make here is that KMRH is not in restricted airspace: the sectional shows that it's in uncontrolled class G airspace, with class E at 700' AGL. But having said that, there is indeed a lot of special use airspace nearby:

  • W-122 is a warning area
  • R5306A and R-5306D are restricted areas
  • A-530 is an alert area

You can't enter the restricted areas without permission from the controlling authority, but you can enter the warning and alert areas if you want. More details of each area are on the sectional chart, the FAA's SUA site and JO 7400.8X.

Looking at the sectional, it looks to me like A-530 is a 'gap' in the restricted areas to give access to KMRH and the three private airfields nearby. R-5306 A and D are from the ground to 18,000 MSL (up to but not including FL180, to be precise) and operate continuously. If the A-530 airspace were the same then there would be no way in or out of KMRH (over land, at least) without getting permission every time. Because A-530 is sandwiched between two restricted areas, I guess there's probably a lot of military traffic around and that's why it's an alert area rather than normal class E airspace.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was comfusing where the restricted airspace actually was. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – aaronstran Jan 6 '16 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ The important take-away here is that all SUAs on a VFR chart are list on the "tabs" (skyvector.com/…) and should be consulted regarding details of the airspace. You can also call flight service. $\endgroup$ – rbp Jan 6 '16 at 16:59

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