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Wildlife & Recreational Area

Introduction:

  • Wildlife and Recreational Areas are established due to the high volume of scenic tour flights and/or to protect noise sensitive wildlife [Figure 1]
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Figure 1: National Wildlife Refuge

Pilot Advisories on Bird and Other Wildlife Hazards:

  • Many airports advise pilots of other wildlife hazards caused by large animals on the runway through the Chart Supplement U.S. and the NOTAM system
  • Collisions of landing and departing aircraft and animals on the runway are increasing and are not limited to rural airports
  • These accidents have also occurred at several major airports
  • Pilots should exercise extreme caution when warned of the presence of wildlife on and in the vicinity of airports
  • If you observe deer or other large animals in close proximity to movement areas, advise the FSS, tower, or airport management

Flights Over Charted U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas:

  • The landing of aircraft is prohibited on lands or waters administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service without authorization from the respective agency
  • Exceptions include:
    1. When forced to land due to an emergency beyond the control of the operator;
    2. At officially designated landing sites; or
    3. An approved official business of the Federal Government
  • Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following:
    • National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service
  • FAA Advisory Circular AC 91−36, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise-Sensitive Areas, defines the surface of a national park area (including parks, forests, primitive areas, wilderness areas, recreational areas, national seashores, national monuments, national lakeshores, and national wildlife refuge and range areas) as: the highest terrain within 2,000 feet laterally of the route of flight, or the upper-most rim of a canyon or valley
  • Federal statutes prohibit certain types of flight activity and/or provide altitude restrictions over designated U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas
  • Federal regulations also prohibit airdrops by parachute or other means of persons, cargo, or objects from aircraft on lands administered by the three agencies without authorization from the respective agency
  • Exceptions include:
    • Emergencies involving the safety of human life; or
    • Threat of serious property loss

Wildlife and Recreational Area Depiction:

  • wildlife and recreational areas are depicted on sectional charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • Sectional Chart Depiction:

    • These sensitive areas are indicated on the sectional with lines of blue dots [Figure 2]
      • This depiction is not located on the sectional legend, but rather on the chart, as applicable
      • Notice the minimum altitude for flyover is requested to be 2,000' AGL
  • Terminal Area Charts:

    • Depicted the same as on a sectional chart
Wild Life Airspace Boundaries
Figure 2: Sectional Chart Disclaimer
  • The sectional will have brief notes and depictions that indicate restrictions [Figure 3]
    • The Chart Supplement U.S. supplement makes mention of these restrictions as well [Figure 4]
    • A violation could result in stiff fines

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Figure 3: Sectional Chart Disclaimer
Chart Supplement U.S. Airport Restrictions
Figure 4: Chart Supplement U.S. Airport Restrictions

Conclusion:

  • When operating in these areas, be mindful of bird hazards in addition to other aircraft

References: