JO 7400.2H
Effective Date:
March 10, 2011

Subject:  Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters

Includes: Change 1, effective August 25, 2011


Chapter 27. Controlled Firing Areas

Section 1. General


A controlled firing area (CFA) is airspace designated to contain activities that if not conducted in a controlled environment would be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft.

27-1-2. PURPOSE

CFAs provide a means to accommodate, without impact to aviation, certain hazardous activities that can be immediately suspended if a nonparticipating aircraft approaches the area.

27-1-3. CRITERIA

a. CFAs should be considered only when necessary to accommodate activities that are capable of being immediately suspended, and it has been specifically determined that designation of a restricted area is not warranted.

b. The distinguishing feature of a CFA, compared to other SUA, is that CFA activities shall be suspended immediately when a nonparticipating aircraft approaches the area. The responsibility lies totally with the CFA user to terminate activities so that there is no impact on aviation. There is no requirement for nonparticipating aircraft to avoid the airspace, nor are any communications or ATC separation requirements imposed.

27-1-4. CHARTING

CFAs are not depicted on aeronautical charts because the user terminates the activities when required to prevent endangering nonparticipating aircraft.


Although there are no set limits to the dimensions of a CFA, the size of the area must be reasonable considering the types of activities conducted, and surveillance, communications, and activity termination capabilities.


a. Only those activities that can be immediately suspended on notice that a nonparticipating aircraft is approaching are appropriate for a CFA. Examples of such activities include:

1. Ordnance disposal.

2. Blasting.

3. Static testing of large rocket motors.

b. CFAs are not intended to contain aircraft ordnance delivery activities. Operation of observer or surveillance aircraft is permitted.

c. Other activities (e.g., artillery, etc.) may be considered provided they can meet the criteria and comply with the safety precautions prescribed in this chapter.

d. CFAs may be designated for either military or civil activities.

27-1-7. APPROVAL

The service area office is the approval authority for CFAs. For other than one-time events, CFAs should be approved for a specific period as determined by the service area office. An expiration date shall be assigned for each CFA.


The service area office may suspend or revoke a CFA if a question arises about the safety of the operation, compliance with safety precautions or conditions of approval, or if unforeseen impact on aeronautical operations occurs.

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