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This is from a recent email from the FAA Safety Team:

The FAA will soon begin limited use of a Temporary Restricted Area (TRA) in certain areas when the types of operation(s) to be conducted there require a TRA. The flight rules that apply to a TRA are the same as a Restricted Area (RA). The best FAA resources to view any TRAs upcoming or active are the FAA Special Use Airspace (SUA) website and the Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP).

Usually when the FAA wants to temporarily restrict access to airspace it puts up a TFR and it isn't clear from the wording of the email what a TRA is, why the FAA would create one rather than a TFR, and what the operational differences are between a TRA and TFR.

What is a TRA and how does it differ from a TFR?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that they are referring to an extension of the restricted areas near Twenty-nine Palms, CA that is in effect for most of August. Presumably for extended military training. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Aug 9 '17 at 21:36
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As the message says, a TRA has the same rules as an RA, just that it is temporary so it won't appear on charts. There may be expected times when the RA is in use but the actual times will be posted in a NOTAM.

  • It will be published in the Federal Register ahead of time
  • Using agency notifies controlling agency when airspace will be "hot"
  • NOTAMs describe when the airspace will be closed
  • When the airspace is open, ATC can clear flights (IFR or VFR) through

This is useful if the area is known ahead of time but times may be limited and variable. The using agency must also later submit a report detailing the actual usage of the area.

A TFR defines special flight rules that are applicable in specific circumstances. They are governed by different rules, and a NOTAM is published defining the airspace and times, as well as what restrictions are in effect. A TFR may be defined for the following reasons:

  • Disaster/hazard areas
  • Protecting the President, the Vice President, or other public figures
  • Space flight operations
  • High barometric pressure
  • Aerial demonstrations and major sporting events
  • Security requirements

Each of these categories has general rules for who is allowed to operate in the airspace, though each TFR may include more specific requirements. TFRs issued for disasters/hazards generally require aircraft that are not local flights or directly related to the event to be on an IFR flight plan. Other situations may just require permission from ATC, or effectively make the airspace Class C.

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