Warning Area


  • Warnings areas are sections of airspace that contain activities that may be hazardous to non-participating aircraft [Figure 1/2/3] is classified as a Warning Area
  • The purpose of such warning areas is to warn nonparticipating pilots of the potential danger
  • Warning areas may be located over domestic or international waters or both
Warning Area Depicted
Figure 1: Warning Area Depicted

Air Traffic Services:

  • Air traffic control and de-confliction rests within military controlling agencies
    • Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC):

      • A command that provides scheduling and control of all air, surface, and subsurface activities within offshore operations areas, and all other assigned airspace where FACSFAC has jurisdiction
      • Services support the coexistence of military, government, and non-government agencies consistent with national priorities
      • FACSFAC has 5 locations:
        1. VACAPES (Virginia/capes)
        2. San Diego (west coast)
        3. Pensacola (south east)
        4. Pearl Harbor (Hawaii)
        5. Jacksonville (east)
      • Non-regulatory in nature

Warning Area Dimensions:

  • Lateral Limits:

    • Warning areas extend from 3 Nautical Miles (NM) and outward from the coast of the United States
    • The airspace areas are individually tailored
  • Vertical Limits:

    • Vertical dimensions are not depicted on charts
    • For floors and ceilings you must reference the Special Use Airspace table on the edge of the aeronautical charts

Warning Area Airspace Depiction:

  • Warning Areas are depicted on the following charts:
  • Warning areas are shown in their entirety (within the limits of the chart), even when they overlap, adjoin, or when an area is designated within another area
  • Areas are identified by type and identifying number, and are positioned either within or immediately adjacent to the area
    • Warning areas are charted with a "W" followed by a two or three digit number
    • Letters may be used to delineate subdivisions
  • A tabulation of Alert Areas (listed numerically) appear on the chart in blue
  • All are supplemented with altitude, time of use and the controlling agency/contact facility, and its frequency when available
  • The controlling agency will be shown when the contact facility and frequency data is unavailable
Warning Areas on Sectional
Figure 2: Warning Area Depicted
Warning Area Depicted
Figure 3: Warning Area Depicted

Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements:

  • Restrictions:

    • Warning areas may be considered for joint use if the area can be released to the FAA during periods when it is not required for its designated purpose, and provided the warning area is located in airspace wherein the FAA exercises ATC authority under ICAO agreements
    • When designating a warning area for joint use, a letter of agreement shall be executed between the controlling and using agencies to define the conditions and procedures under which the controlling agency may authorize nonparticipating aircraft to transit, or operate within the area


  • Warning areas are similar to Military Operating Areas and may be used for the same reasons
  • The U.S. Government does not have sole jurisdiction over the airspace and is shared with the U.S. Navy
  • Each warning area is unique and may have notes printed on the chart explaining the type of activity that may take place in that location
Warning Area Warning
Figure 3: Warning Area Warning