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How do I determine whether or not an MTR segment is above 1,500 feet?

A Military Training Route (MTR) is used by the military for conducting low-altitude, high-speed flight training at speeds in excess of 250 knots (that’s almost 300 mph).

Typically, the routes above 1,500 ft. AGL are flown under instrument flight rules (IFR), and the routes flown under 1,500 ft. AGL are flown under visual flight rules (VFR).

On a Sectional Chart, MTRs are identified as either IFR (IR) or VFR (VR), followed by a number.

All of this information is displayed on a straight line, with an arrow.

  • MTRs with four numbers denote routes flown at 1,500 ft. AGL and below. At such a low altitude, this can present challenges to an unmanned aircraft.
  • MTRs with three numbers denote routes flown with at least one segment above 1,500 ft. AGL.
  • As a Remote PIC, if you’re doing airspace research and see a Military Training Route show up, you’re probably not going to want to fly.

MTRs with four numbers:

MTR Four Numbers

MTRs with three numbers:

MTR Three Numbers

You’re allowed to, but just know that military aircraft do not necessarily abide by the same rules as manned aircraft, meaning you could see one below 400 ft. AGL. And at very high speeds too, perhaps too fast to give you or your Visual Observer (VO) time to react.

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