FIRs and Drone Operations: What You Need to Know about Flight Information Regions
This article addresses concepts, definitions, and basic terms related to FIRs.
Air Navigation Regions
- Africa-Indian Ocean Region (AFI)
- Asia Region (ASIA)
- Caribbean Region (CAR)
- Europe Region (EUR)
- Middle East Region (MID)
- North America Region (NAM)
- North Atlantic Region (NAT)
- Pacific Region (PAC)
- South America Region (SAM)
What is a FIR?
All airspace worldwide is divided into Flight Information Regions (FIRs). Each FIR is managed by a controlling authority responsible for ensuring that air traffic services are provided to aircraft flying within it.
Next, we will analyze the two air traffic services provided within FIRs:
Flight Information Service
Pilots are provided with information about visibility, wind, clouds, runway obstacles, and any factors that may affect operations at an aerodrome.
Pilots are given information about the runways in service at an aerodrome.
Pilots receive information about weather conditions along flight routes, the state of radio navigation aids, and more.
Pilots are informed about collision hazards.
The alerting service is activated when an aircraft is involved in an incident. It notifies all relevant authorities of aircraft in need of search and rescue assistance.
In some cases, FIRs are divided vertically into lower and upper sections:
- Lower Section: The lower section is still called an FIR.
- Upper Section: It is referred to as the Upper Information Region (UIR).
Sections Within the FIR
The airspace within an FIR (and UIR) is typically divided into sections that vary in size and classification. Classifications determine the rules for flying within a specific part of the airspace and whether it is “controlled” or “uncontrolled.”
Aircraft flying in uncontrolled airspace are not obligated to receive air traffic control services, but they can request them if necessary (e.g., flight information services, alerting, and search and rescue services).
- Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)
- Control Zones (CTR)
- Terminal Control Areas (TMA) and Control Area (CTA)