TFRs: What They Are, Why They Matter

Sept. 5, 2018

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are issued by the FAA for various hazards (such as wildfires), security reasons and presidential or vice-presidential travel.

The latter type, called VIP TFRs, consist of rings of restricted airspace extending out three nautical miles from the vice president and 30 nautical miles from the president. No operation of sUAS is permitted within a TFR zone. 

Being located along the Northeast Corridor near major metropolitan areas, Princeton University is frequently affected by VIP TFRs. These alerts are typically issued within days or even hours of going into effect. 

Individuals intending to fly sUAS at Princeton are responsible for checking TFRs before flying a sUAS. 

The easiest way to check for a TFR is by using the FAA’s B4UFly app. An alert will appear warning you not to fly aircraft if your location is under a TFR. 

TFR Alert B4UFly
TFR alert on B4UFly.

Planning for TFRs

Go to for a list of current  and upcoming TFRs. Clicking on the “TFR Map” tab will show areas in the U.S. currently under a restriction. 

Example of map showing TFRs in the U.S. on 8/6/18, including one over New Jersey

TFRs are issued in the form of NOTAM messages listed chronologically under the “TFR List” tab. You can look for a relevant TFR by date, type and location.

TFR Notams From FAA
Example of list of TFRs at

Click on the NOTAM number to access details of a particular TFR, including maps and specific start and end times. (Note: Be sure to look for local times under the “Effective Date(s)” heading, about halfway down the page. Times listed at the top are in Universal Time Coordinated, also known as Greenwich Mean Time.)

More Information

National Business Aviation Association TFR Page…

TFR Information on the FAA Website

* Princeton faculty, staff and students can now learn more about TFRs and how to fly sUAS at Princeton through the Princeton Employee Learning Center: View the training by going to Environmental Health & Safety under the "Training By Department" tab. Click "eLearning" at the top and look for "sUAS Training For Operators at Princeton" in the General Safety section.