Press Release on Restricted Airspace
September 28, 2001
The FAA today alerted civilian pilots of their responsibility to avoid restricted
airspace and the procedures to follow if intercepted, in light of the Department
of Defense announcement that pilots near or in restricted or prohibited airspace
face a forced landing, or as a last resort, use of deadly force by military
New security decisions stemming from the terrorist atrocities of September 11,
2001 require that additional airspace be barred to civilian aircraft. The FAA
anticipates announcing new restricted and prohibited areas throughout the United
States. This additional airspace will be over areas that require protection
for national security reasons. New and current restricted and prohibited areas
will be revised periodically. Therefore, it is each pilot's responsibility to
be aware of the latest restrictions before each flight.
Earlier, pilots who flew in restricted or prohibited areas received a warning
from Air Traffic Control and then faced suspension or revocation of their licenses
or a fine. Now a pilot faces interception by military aircraft and then a forced
landing at the first available airport. The Department of Defense has stated
that deadly force will be used only as a last resort after all other means are
In such situations, it is critical that pilots strictly adhere to the interception
procedures in the Aeronautical Information Manual and follow any instructions
from the military pilots and air traffic controllers.
FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey will be sending a letter to all U. S-registered
pilots to ensure that each is aware of the new procedures.
The FAA is distributing a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) with this information. Other
tools, such as the FAA's website and direct mail to airports, will also be used
to contact pilots. Future NOTAMs will describe new restricted and prohibited
areas and other changes in U. S. airspace. The agency will also make the many
pilot groups aware of these changes.
A restricted area is a portion of airspace one that is closed to civil aircraft
at specified times. A prohibited area is one in which civilian flying is prohibited
at all times. The best-known example is the area over the Mall in Washington,
DC that includes the White House and the Capitol.