FAA Restricts Airspace for Upcoming Space Flight

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FAA Restricts Airspace for Upcoming Space FlightThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued multiple Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS) Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) around Cape Canaveral, Fla., through Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

The NOTAMS are in preparation for NASA’s historic manned space flight to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. This the first launch of astronauts on an American-built spacecraft from American soil since 2011.

The FAA’s role is to ensure the safety of the airspace by prohibiting all aircraft operations within 30 nautical miles of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center during the reported timeframe unless the operation is exempted. There are three types of NOTAMS – airspace to close the airspace near the launch, flow to provide route guidance to aviation operators, and security to implement security measures for aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the area.

Aircraft operations involving UAS, flight training, aerobatic, glider, seaplane, parachute, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon, agriculture/crop dusting and more are prohibited. 

Pilots who do not comply with the requirements, special instructions or procedures in the NOTAM may be intercepted, detained by law enforcement, and subjected to any of the following additional actions: 

  • Civil penalties and the suspension or revocation of airmen certificates; or  
  • Criminal charges, including charges under Title 49 of the United States Code, Section 46307; or  
  • The U.S. Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.

Pilots should always monitor TFRs and NOTAMs before they fly so that they are aware of airspace restrictions.

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