Hold Fire!

A recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars toward space above a Virgin Airlines passenger jet, which had just departed Orlando International Airport, in Orlando, Florida, March 30, 2017. The launch marked the first time ever that a rocket was reused for spaceflight. REUTERS/Gregg Newton - RTX33GA7

Where am I going with this? Yes, Controlled Firing Area (CFA), what does it mean and what’s its purpose in aviation?

Photo: Sandia National Laboratories

Controlled Firing Area as defined by the FAA is a “airspace designated to contain activities that if not conducted in a controlled environment would be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft”. Basically, CFA’s are conducted so military or civilians can test out whatever explosives they have without any restrictions. 

Photo: NBC news

Where can we find them? Not in aeronautical charts, why? Because the person or persons assembling this whole façade has to hold fire immediately if they see any approaching aircraft in order not to endanger the safety of the flight

Photo: cbc.ca

What are the dimensions of the controlled airspace? There isn’t any, but according to the FAA, the size of the area has to be within reason putting in consideration the types of activities conducted, surveillance, communications, and activity termination capabilities.

Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville

In conclusion, this is very helpful for whenever you want to test some rockets, just keep in mind the procedure as well, you need to get the approval from the service area office and then do whatever you need to do because there is an expiration date for each CFA. Furthermore, for all the passengers out there, all CFA activities must be able stop instantly whenever they see an aircraft, so imagine, you’ll never be able to know if you are flying through or near a Controlled Firing Area, fascinating right?


Reference:

https://tfmlearning.faa.gov/publications/atpubs/AIR/air2701.html