TFR


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Latest posts by Jonathan Rupprecht (see all)

8 Different TFRs – Flight Restrictions for Good Reason

Let’s get into WHY the different TFRs are issued so you can understand where they can be located. The different TFRs can be somewhat clumped into 4 groups: disasters, special events, special people, or other. Keep in mind this is just a quick way to conceptualize things because there are exceptions. There are times where certain regulations are used as justification for a TFR around odd things to “get the job done.”  For example, 99.7 is used to issue TFRs around the Pope and also as the justification for an FDC notam restricting speeds to 180 knots indicated airspace around the DC VOR. Another is where 91.137 (TFR in vicinity of a disaster) is issued prior to planned mine blasting. Sometimes 99.7 security TFR’s are done on top of sporting events.

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Disasters:


fire-fighting-smallSection 91.137
, Temporary Flight Restrictions in the Vicinity of Disaster/Hazard Areas 

There are three subsections to this section. If you are wanting to operate in a TFR, it important to know which regulation was cited because each has different restrictions on who can operate in that type of TFR. Examples of these disasters would be: toxic gas leaks or spills; fumes from flammable agents which, if fanned by rotor or propeller wash could endanger persons or property on the surface, or if entered by an aircraft could endanger persons or property in the air; volcanic eruptions that could endanger airborne aircraft and occupants; nuclear accident or incident; hijackings; wildfire suppression; and aircraft relief activities following a disaster (e.g., earthquake, tidal wave, flood, hurricane, etc.).

 

Section 91.138, Temporary Flight Restrictions in National Disaster Areas in the State of Hawaii.

TFRs issued under section 91.138 address a determination that an inhabited area within a declared national disaster area in the State of Hawaii needs protection for humanitarian reasons.

Pro Tip: It is easy to tell these two types of TFRs apart because one smells like coconuts. Another tip is you could look for a fire-fighter in a hula skirt.

 

Special Events:

Section 91.145, Management of Aircraft Operations in the Vicinity of Aerial Demonstrations and Major Sporting Events. Major Sporting events – Congress mandated flight restrictions over specific major sporting events through Public Law 108-7 as amended by Public Law 108-199. These events are: Major League Baseball, National Football League, NCAA Division One Football games, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races. FAA has issued a standing NOTAM detailing the restrictions and conditions that apply to those events. For sporting events not covered by the Congressional mandate, the FAA will consider requests submitted based on the criteria listed in 14 CFR 91.145(b).baseball-stadium-tfr-small

four airplanes in formation on airshow

Section 91.145(a) says:

These demonstrations and events may include:

(1) United States Naval Flight Demonstration Team (Blue Angels);

(2) United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron (Thunderbirds);

(3) United States Army Parachute Team (Golden Knights);

(4) Summer/Winter Olympic Games;

(5) Annual Tournament of Roses Football Game;

(6) World Cup Soccer;

(7) Major League Baseball All-Star Game;

(8) World Series;

(9) Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta;

(10) Sandia Classic Hang Gliding Competition;

(11) Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. 

Keep in mind that FDC NOTAM 4/3621  issued under 99.7 is applicable to a “3NM [radius] up to and 3000ft AGL of any stadium having a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people where either a regular or post season Major League Baseball, National Football League, or NCAA division one football game is occurring. This NOTAM also applies to Nascar Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races excluding qualifying and pre-race events.”

Special People:

 

presidential-TFRSection 91.141, Flight Restrictions in the Proximity of the Presidential and Other Parties. TFRs issued under section 91.141 address security with respect to airspace over presidential and other parties. Specifically, no person may operate an aircraft over or in the vicinity of any area to be visited or traveled by the President, the Vice President, or other public figures contrary to the restrictions established by the FAA and published in a NOTAM.

Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions. The FAA, in consultation with the Department of Defense, or other Federal security/intelligence agencies may issue special security instructions to address situations determined to be detrimental to the interests of national defense.  This TFR is also used for special foreign dignitaries such as the Queen or the Pope. It is also used to augment restrictions near major events under FDC NOTAM 4/3621. (Mentioned above).

Other:

Section 91.139, Emergency Air Traffic Rules.  This TFR is issued if the Administrator determines that an emergency condition exists, or will exist, relating to the FAA’s ability to operate the air traffic control system and during which normal flight operations cannot be conducted consistent with the required levels of safety and efficiency. The Administrator issues an immediately effective air traffic rule or regulation in response to that emergency condition. In other words, September 11th.  “It was no error for the Administrator to conclude on the morning of September 11th that the terrorists’ attacks and possible unknown attacks to come might pose such a condition.” Blakey v. Somerville, EA-5086, NTSB (March 31, 2004). See also SCANTANA.

 

space-shuttle-tfr


Section 91.143
, Flight Limitation in the Proximity of Space Flight Operations. These are typically in Florida, New Mexico, and California. TFRs issued under section 91.143 are used to
segregate nonparticipating aircraft from space flight operations to prevent collision. Specifically, no person may operate an aircraft of U.S. registry, or pilot an aircraft under the authority of an airman certificate issued by the FAA within areas designated in a NOTAM for space flight operations except when authorized by ATC, or the proponent for the flight operation.  TFRs issued under section 91.143 may be issued for Class 2 high-power rockets and Class 3 advanced high-power rockets. These rockets can, very quickly, fly high into the airspace and have the potential to significantly interfere with air traffic. These TFRs cannot be issued for Class 1 amateur rockets because they cannot affect air traffic when operated in accordance with FAA regulations. Sometimes a 99.7 TFR was put around a Space Shuttle launch.

pilotheadshot

Section 91.144, Abnormally High Barometric Pressure Conditions. The aneroid barometers in aircraft can only work in certain conditions.

If you flew into a TFR or need a waiver to operate within a TFR (i.e., sport event filming), contact me. 

I hope these articles have helped you understand more about TFRs so you can pass your knowledge exams and fly safely and competently in the national airspace. In the unfortunate situation that you violate a TFR, it is extremely important to work with a competent aviation attorney for help to present the best defense. Contact Rupprecht Law, P.A. today if you are needing help.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Latest posts by Jonathan Rupprecht (see all)

FAA TFR Violation Punishments

What Type of Criminal Punishment (Prison Time) or Fines can Result for a TFR Violation?

FAA-temporary-flight-restrictions-.punishment-fines-jail

Depending on the type of TFR, you can get punished in three different ways for a TFR violation: (1) you can be criminally punished up to a maximum of 1 year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine, (2) you can have your pilot license suspended or revoked, and/or (3) receive a civil penalty by itself or on-top of the $100,000 fine.
Sometimes you can get charged with multiple violations for one flight. For example, a pilot operating under Part 91 can be charged with violating 14 CFR 91.103 which requires him to conduct a pre-flight check of all available information before a flight.  Likewise, the remote pilot of a drone would be required by 107.49 to be familiar with the airspace prior to flight.

 

The Part 61 pilot in this case got charged with a violation of 91.103 & 91.137 for the same flight by the FAA. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Why? There were only two options: either he did NOT check for TFRs (a violation of the FARs) or he did check and intentionally went into the TFR (a violation of federal criminal code).

 

Drone law violations

I wrote a lengthy article on the 23 drone operators the FAA has been prosecuting and showed that out of the 23 operators, some of them were cited with multiple violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations for the same flight.

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Criminal Punishment: Federal prison for up to a Year and/or a $100,000 fine for a violation of a security related TFR.

If you knowingly or willfully violate a TFR, you can have some serious consequences. In 49 U.S.C.  § 40103(b)(3), the U.S. Congress gave the FAA the ability to:

“(3) To establish security provisions that will encourage and allow maximum use of the navigable air-space by civil aircraft consistent with national security, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secre-tary of Defense, shall—
(A) establish areas in the airspace the Administrator decides are necessary in the interest of national defense; and
(B) by regulation or order, restrict or prohibit flight of civil aircraft that the Administrator cannot identify, locate, and control with available facilities in those areas.”

A person that knowingly or willfully violates section 40103(b)(3) of this title or a regulation prescribed or order issued under section 40103(b)(3) shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.” 49 U.S.C. § 46307.

Intentionally flying into a security related TFR is nothing to mess around with. Doug Hughes flew a gyrocopter onto the US Capitol lawn (a permanent security flight restriction) and he was indicted and prosecuted by the Department of Justice. One of the charges listed § 43607 and § 40103(b)(3). Read the Douglas Hughes indictment. He later pleaded guilty to one of the multiple charges and was sentenced to federal prison for 120 days.

How much of a criminal fine can result from a security related TFR violation?

To know how much a defendant can be fined for a security related TFR, we need to figure out what type of crime had been committed. A security related TFR violation is a Class A misdemeanor because § 46307 says the defendant can not be “imprisoned for not more than one year” and 18 U.S.C.  § 3559 says:

“(a)CLASSIFICATION.—An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is— [. . .]

(6) one year or less but more than six months, as a Class A misdemeanor;”

A Class A misdemeanor can be punished according to 18 U.S.C. § 3571  which says:

(a)IN GENERAL.—A defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine.
(b)FINES FOR INDIVIDUALS.—Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an individual who has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of—[. . .]

(4) for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $250,000;
(5) for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $100,000; [. . . ]

FAA Pilot Certificate Suspension or Revocation

For an accidental flight or intentional flight, you can be receiving a FAA order suspending or revoking your Part 61 pilot certificate or your Part 107 remote pilot certificate. The FAA order directed to FAA enforcement teams recommends a “30- to 90-day suspension” for a simple TFR violation. Keep in mind that if you did a bunch of other violations, these numbers will be higher or you’ll be getting a certificate revocation.

FAA Civil Penalty

The pilot license suspension or revocation will be the normal method of punishment, but with more and more drone pilots operating without an airmen certificate, the FAA will have to resort to a civil penalty since there is no airmen certificate to suspend or revoke. Additionally, the FAA has said, “For a deliberate, egregious violation by a certificate holder, regardless of whether the certificate holder is exercising the privileges of the certificate in connection with the violations associated with a UAS operation, certificate action, may be appropriate. Such certificate action may be in addition to a civil penalty.”

49 U.S.C. § 46301(a)(1) provides that “a person is liable to the United States for a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 (or $1,100 if the person is an individual or small business concern) for violating” the TFR. Remember that you can get hit with $1,100 PER regulation violation.

Next Page: What are the differences between the 8 TFRs?  Why are some issued?


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Latest posts by Jonathan Rupprecht (see all)

TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction)

TFR-temporary-flight-restrictionA Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is nothing to play around with. Violations of TFRs can be punished quite severely with a pilot license suspension, civil penalty, or in the worst case: prison time. The FAA has been pursuing enforcement actions against manned and unmanned pilots around the U.S. for TFR violations. In this series of TFR articles, I will help you understand more about each of the TFRs, and give you pro tips based upon my flight instructing experience, so you can pass a knowledge exam and fly safely and confidently.  Also, if you want to create a TFR, get a waiver to fly into a TFR (i.e., sport event filming), or if you accidentally flew in a TFR unauthorized and potentially will be prosecuted by the FAA, contact me.

TFR-drone-temporary-flight-restriction

What is a TFR?

The FAA defines a TFR as “a regulatory action issued via the U.S. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system to restrict certain aircraft from operating within a defined area, on a temporary basis, to protect persons or property in the air or on the ground.” There are different types of TFRs and they are listed out in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). The regulations for TFRs are located in Part 91 and Part 99 which govern manned aircraft operations. For remote pilots, Part 107.47 requires them to comply with all the TFRs located in Part 91 and 99 as well.

How can I tell where a TFR is located?

A TFR is not located anywhere on a sectional chart and can literally temporarily “pop-up” quite quickly. A helpful website is tfr.faa.gov, where the TFR will be portrayed in a picture of an overlay of the TFR on a sectional chart and also described in textual format. The picture will tell you the dimensions while the text will tell you the precise dimensions, altitudes, and times. The dimensions of the TFR are going to be explained by reference to a fixed point. Much of the time, the fixed point is a VOR, but sometimes it can be a random set of coordinates on the map (especially when elected officials are campaigning or fundraising). It is incredibly important to check for TFRs before EVERY flight. You should not rely on a pre-flight briefer over at 1-800-wx-brief to catch the TFR or whether it effects you or not.

TFR-description

You should check tfr.faa.gov before EVERY flight. It breaks the TFRs down into states, chronologically on a list, graphically on a map, FAA ATC centers, and TFR types.

Pro Tip: Never trust the flight briefer. If you are close to a TFR, make sure you check.

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Why should you never rely on the briefer?

President Obama came to Ft. Lauderdale when I was flight instructing and a TFR popped up. I called over to 1800WXBRIEF and requested a pre-flight briefing before the flight. The briefer told me about the TFR, but said that I was NOT within the TFR. I didn’t trust him so I checked online for the textual description and measured the TFR out. Guess what? I was right within the edge of the TFR and could not take off. The briefer got it wrong. When I was in the FBO, an airplane took off. In about a minute, the phone rang and the FBO manager answered. The manager talked shortly on the phone. He hung and up and turned to me and said, “That was the Secret Service trying to figure out who just took off.”

Another Pro Tip: Sign up for the free drone law newsletter that has the latest info about Part 107, model aircraft rules, Section 333, COAs, etc.

Who can go into a TFR?

TFRs are NOT always a complete ban on all types of flying. It just means only authorized individuals can fly in those areas. If you are interested in doing some commercial drone work around TFRs, you can contact me about getting those approvals and COAs.

Keep in mind that doing operations in a TFR can have benefits. One big benefit is for certain types of TFRs the airspace is segregated which means obtaining certain types of approvals could be easier.

How many different types of TFRs are there?

There are 8 different types of TFRs. Each has a different set of facts surrounding why they are issued and who can operate in them. Each of these different types of TFRs will be discussed.

  1. Section 91.137, Disaster/Hazard Areas Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  2. Section 91.138, National Disaster Areas in the State of Hawaii Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  3. Section 91.139, Emergency Air Traffic Rules;
  4. Section 91.141, Presidential and Other Parties Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  5. Section 91.143, Space Flight Operations Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  6. Section 91.144, Abnormally High Barometric Pressure Conditions;
  7. Section 91.145, Management of Aircraft Operations in the Vicinity of Aerial Demonstrations and Major Sporting Events; and
  8. Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions.

Next Page: What type of criminal punishment (prison time) or fines can happen if you fly into a TFR?


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Latest posts by Jonathan Rupprecht (see all)

Nope to Flying Near the Pope

Quick Summary of How to Check for TFR’s.

  • Check to see if there is a TFR in effect for your area by going to www.tfr.faa.gov, using www.airmap.io, or calling 1800-WX-BRIEF.
  • If there is a TFR in your area, find out WHEN it starts and when it ends.

The FAA says you cannot fly near the Pope. How does the FAA let people know about this?

The FAA issues a notice to airman (NOTAM) alerting the public of a temporary flight restriction (TFR). You can view them on this website.  http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html  You can select your state and see what is active or what is going to become active.

no drones sign

no drones

What is a TFR?

The FAA defines a TFR as “a regulatory action issued via the U.S. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system to restrict certain aircraft from operating within a defined area, on a temporary basis, to protect persons or property in the air or on the ground.” There are different types of TFR’s and they are listed out in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s).

  1. Section 91.137, Temporary Flight Restrictions in the Vicinity of Disaster/Hazard Areas;
  2. Section 91.138, Temporary Flight Restrictions in National Disaster Areas in the State of Hawaii;
  3. Section 91.139, Emergency Air Traffic Rules;
  4. Section 91.141, Flight Restrictions in the Proximity of the Presidential and Other Parties;
  5. Section 91.143, Flight Limitation in the Proximity of Space Flight Operations;
  6. Section 91.144, Abnormally High Barometric Pressure Conditions;
  7. Section 91.145, Management of Aircraft Operations in the Vicinity of Aerial Demonstrations and Major Sporting Events; and
  8. Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions.

A TFR is basically a restrictions on the airspace so the FAA can keep things safe. These TFR’s are NOT always a complete ban on all types of flying. It just means only authorized individuals can fly in those area. If you are interested in doing some commercial drone work around sporting event TFR’s, you can contact me about getting those approvals and special COA’s.

So what type of TFR does the Pope have?

The Pope’s NOTAM actual text TFR of Philadelphia says:

“A) THE FAA MAY TAKE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, INCLUDING IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTIES AND THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF AIRMEN CERTIFICATES; OR B) THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY PURSUE CRIMINAL CHARGES, INCLUDING CHARGES UNDER TITLE 49 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 46307; OR C) THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY USE DEADLY FORCE AGAINST THE AIRBORNE AIRCRAFT, IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE AIRCRAFT POSES AN IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT.”

The FAA cited 14 C.F.R. section 99.7 as justification for the issuance of the TFR and that regulation says:

Ҥ99.7 Special security instructions.
Each person operating an aircraft in an ADIZ or Defense Area must, in addition to the applicable rules of this part, comply with special security instructions issued by the Administrator in the interest of national security, pursuant to agreement between the FAA and the Department of Defense, or between the FAA and a U.S. Federal security or intelligence agency.”

Regulation 99.7 was created under the authority given to the FAA by the US Congress in 49 U.S. Code § 40103(b)(3) which says:

“(3) To establish security provisions that will encourage and allow maximum use of the navigable air-space by civil aircraft consistent with national security, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secre-tary of Defense, shall—
(A) establish areas in the airspace the Administrator decides are necessary in the interest of national defense; and
(B) by regulation or order, restrict or prohibit flight of civil aircraft that the Administrator cannot identify, locate, and control with available facilities in those areas.”

So what happens if you fly into the Pope bubble?

49 U.S.C. § 46307 says:

A person that knowingly or willfully violates section 40103 (b)(3) of this title or a regulation prescribed or order issued under section 40103 (b)(3) shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Doug Hughes flew a gyrocopter onto the US Capitol lawn and he is being indicted. One of the charges listed § 43607 and § 40103(b)(3). Read the Douglas Hughes indictment.

How much is the fine?

18 U.S.C. § 3571 says:

“(a)IN GENERAL.—
A defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine.
(b)FINES FOR INDIVIDUALS.—Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an indi-vidual who has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of—[. . .]

(4)
for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $250,000;
(5)
for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $100,000; [. . . ]
(c)FINES FOR ORGANIZATIONS.—Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an or-ganization that has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of—[. . .]
(4)
for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $500,000;
(5)
for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $200,000;”

We know it is a Class A misdemeanor because 18 U.S.C.  § 3559 says:

“(a)CLASSIFICATION.—An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is— [. . .]

(6) one year or less but more than six months, as a Class A misdemeanor;”

So there you have it folks. Flying near the Pope could get you punished with jail for up to one year and fined a whole bunch of cash.  I don’t make the rules, I just help people fly drones according to what the FAA says.