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.


Section 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, a NASCAR 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).

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. 



Special People:

Section 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).

Interestingly, the FAA has used Section 99.7 to create over 500 drone specific TFRs across the country at military facilities and bases. You can view them here. It is interesting because manned aircraft can fly over many of those locations but unmanned aircraft cannot. The idea is that drones can fly close to the ground while manned aircraft would be limited to minimum safe altitude.


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.


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.

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.

FAA TFR Violation Punishments

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


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).

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.

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 security TFR, you can have some serious consequences. These sometimes get put around major sporting events or the President.Recently, the FAA created over 500 of them at military bases across the country that applied only to drones.

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.”

The FAA can fine the person $1,414 per occurrence along with other charges. Typically the FAA would charge the person with flying in the TFR along with flying carelessly and recklessly which would result in 2 charges of  1,414 each with a total fine of 2,828. Additionally, the FAA could also suspend or revoke any airmen certificate the pilot has.

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

TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction)

TFR-drone-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.

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? Website

A TFR is not located anywhere on a sectional chart and can literally temporarily “pop-up” quite quickly. A helpful website is, 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.

If you go to 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 affects you or not.


You should check 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.

Drone Specific TFR Map

If you are a drone flyer, you should check, as well as the FAA’s drone specific TFR database housed on a different website.

The website shows the TFRs that apply to manned and unmanned while the ARCGIS powered website shows ONLY the unmanned aircraft TFRS. You go to the drone specific website, type in the address of the location you are flying in the top left, and then see if that falls inside one of the bright red airspaces.

Why should you never rely on the briefer?

Sometimes people call 180WXBRIEF and get the briefer to do all the work in searching for TFRs, but you shouldn’t rely on them. 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.”

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. (Drone specific TFRs at military bases are done under this)

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