The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) recently received guidance from the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel concerning VFR operations in Restricted airspace. While reviewing an article for inclusion in its online library, members of SAFE’s Library Editorial Review Committee raised a question: “Is a clearance in fact required to fly through a Restricted Area when that area is not in use?”
When further research, which included interviews with instructors, the FAA, and ATC, failed to yield a consistent answer, SAFE turned to the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel. After a four-month-long process, the following official response was received:
A clearance is not required to operate VFR through a restricted area when the controlling or using agency, as applicable, has made a determination that the restricted area is “cold”.
SAFE has posted a free training aid on its website that includes the two-page article, “Teaching MOAs and Restricted Areas” as well as the response received from the Office of Chief Counsel.