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Clear Airport TFR returns

A temporary flight restriction has returned to Clear, Alaska, covering the Long Range Discrimination Radar site located there.

Image courtesy of SkyVector.

With the ink barely dry on the expanded restricted area over the facility, testing of the new installation has revealed that the radar is more powerful than initial calculations suggested. Consequently, at the request of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the FAA has expanded the protected area around the radar to support full-power testing.

Fortunately, the impact on general aviation is minimal, as the TFR only expands the airspace about a mile horizontally along the curved surfaces of the airspace and remains the same along the straight-line segments. The top of the TFR is also expanded to Flight Level 360. This still allows aircraft flying at certain altitudes to transition along the Parks Highway coming from, or heading toward, Windy Pass to the south.

The restricted area (R-2206) over the radar site was expanded on December 29 to a size that was believed early in the planning process would adequately contain the radiation from the radar, which can damage avionics and other aircraft systems. Until testing is completed, it is unclear if there will be a need to change the airspace permanently. For now, when operating in this area, be sure to reference the TFR, which contains multiple segments activated at different times. AOPA is working with the MDA and FAA to obtain 3D graphics that should help pilots better understand this airspace.

Tom George

Tom George

AOPA Alaska Regional Manager
AOPA Alaska Regional Manager Tom George has covered Alaska issues for AOPA since 2001. He is a commercial multiengine rated pilot who flies a Cessna 185 for fun and to acquire vertical aerial photography.
Topics: Advocacy, Temporary Flight Restriction, Airspace Redesign

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