What is RA(T) in Aviation? (Restricted Area (Temporary))

Restricted areas in aviation refer to designated airspace where aircraft are not allowed to fly. These areas are typically established due to security concerns or other important reasons such as forest fires, explosives, or VIP movement. One form of restricted area is a restricted area (temporary), abbreviated as RA(T). This article will delve deeper into RA(T) and discuss what it means, how it is established, and what pilots need to know when flying in these areas.

Understanding Restricted Area (Temporary)

A restricted area (temporary) usually indicates that the area is not generally subject to restrictions, but certain activities may require temporary detours or other restrictions. These areas are established based on safety or security concerns for a specific period of time. Temporary restricted areas are typically created for military exercises, disaster relief efforts, or airspace security events. These areas are depicted on charts with the letter “T” inside the restricted area boundary. Temporary restricted areas may also be established for sporting events or public gatherings where flights over the area would interfere with the event or pose a risk to aircraft.

Establishing Restricted Area (Temporary)

Temporary restricted areas are established by NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). Pilots must check NOTAMs before each flight and plan their routes accordingly to avoid any RA(T) within their planned route. If a pilot is aware of a planned flight operation that would require the establishment of an RA(T), they can contact the FAA for clearance. Individuals or organizations responsible for creating an RA(T) must file a request with the appropriate aviation authority at least 48 hours in advance. The request must include the specific time, altitude, and area of the proposed activity. The aviation authority will review the request and decide whether to approve it. Once approved, temporary restricted areas are typically in effect for a period lasting from a few hours to a few days.

What Pilots Need to Know When Flying in RA(T)

Regardless of the reason for establishing a temporary restricted area, pilots must follow the specific rules and procedures established for each RA(T). The boundaries of each RA(T) are clearly marked on aviation charts and must be avoided. Pilots must remain alert for any information about planned or ongoing RA(T) activities and clear these areas within the designated times. If a pilot is unable to avoid an RA(T), they must establish two-way radio communication with the controlling agency and follow their instructions. Unauthorized entry into an RA(T) is a violation of federal law and can lead to suspension of pilot licenses and other legal consequences.


Temporary restricted areas are essential for safety and security in aviation. They are established for a variety of reasons and pilots must pay close attention to NOTAMs and specific procedures to avoid violations. Knowing how to recognize and respond to RA(T)s is essential for pilots and helps to ensure the safety of everyone involved.