The FAA has given the final stamp of approval to the special-use airspace data now available on AOPA's Web site. The online system, linked to the FAA's Special Use Airspace Management System (SAMS), provides near-real-time information on military flight activity in military operations areas (MOAs), restricted areas, and other special-use airspace (SUA). Data is updated every six minutes.
AOPA and the FAA's Air Traffic Procedures Office started the service on April 27 as an operational test. Now the FAA has given AOPA approval to permanently display SAMS data on the AOPA Web site.
The data service helps AOPA members avoid unnecessary and time-consuming detours around special-use airspace, which is often reported as "active" by FAA flight service stations even though no military activity is actually taking place.
Although the new AOPA Web information site is a large step forward in timely SUA data for GA pilots, the timeliness of the data depends on how quickly military and FAA controlling agencies responsible for a specific piece of SUA input the information.
Not all controlling agencies are currently providing SUA schedule data, but the FAA said those agencies have been notified and that the FAA will ensure that the data is being provided.