Special Operations? What is it?

Special Operations are defined as all aviation flights and operations that do not fall under the definition of General Air Traffic (GAT) and are thus qualified as Operational Air Traffic (OAT). Special Operations include, but are not limited to: Coast Guard operations, firefighting, search and rescue operations, lifeliners, police operations, all military flights not flying according to GAT procedures, paramilitary activities etc.
In layman terms, Special Operation flights are defined as all activities that do not include flying from one destination to another and which are not being performed in accordance with official aviation procedures and rules as defined by ICAO. All traffic which does not comply with ICAO rules and procedures is termed Operational Air Traffic and thus falls under the responsibility of IVAO’s Special Operations Department. You can find all the info on the Special Operations Directive.

Normally, this type of activity is done by trained military professionals that give their best to protect and support their country and alliance. But as everything on our fantastic virtual world, we can be a bit more relaxed, trouble free and simply enjoy a good time.

In that sense, all extreme activity, such as Hijacking Simulation, political or religious motivated war flights and others of the kind are PROHIBITED and will lead to a suspension of your account.

So, what kind of activities can we do?

There are a lot of activities that can be planned on our network, by individuals flying solo or on formation, by Special Operations Group or, and mainly, organized by our Special Operations Department. The SO Department is responsible for all the SpecOps activity inside our division and it’s the point of contact for any doubt you might have.

Exercises are divided into 5 different categories. For example, you can perform search and rescue, patrol flights, formation flights and air-to-air refueling, Advanced Combat Maneuvers, scrambles and simulated targeting of both aircraft and ground objects or even airshows and races.

Can anyone do it?

Of course! Our community goal is that everyone gets a fair chance to try to do all the things we don’t have the opportunity do to in real life, in the comfort of our flight simulators, even if you are not an expert, you will always have the opportunity to participate in our Events and Tours and discover the world of Special Operations.


Rules to take into account when flying in Portugal

Also know as Letter of Agreement, below you can find some specific information to take into account when performing as OAT.

You shall also read the documentation available on IVAO Special Operations Website


  • Do not exceed 250 KIAS below FL100 unless permitted by ATC, or unless the airspace classification permits otherwise. Military aircraft may also exceed the restriction.


For the major airports in Portugal (LPPT, LPPR and LPFR) there are other speed restrictions to comply with upon arrival:
  • MAX 280 KT between FL245 & FL100;
  • MAX 210 KT when initiating the intermediate approach;
  • MAX between 200 KT & 180 KT on base leg or when Receiving final vector to intercept the localizer;
  • MAX 160 KT when intercepting the glide path at FAP and maintaining until 4 NM from Threshold. If unable to comply with this adjustment advise ATC
    Supersonic under IFR only over FL420.


Whenever there is a military training or event, our ATC department will issue a NOTAM to reserve the airspace for the exercise, so that the GAT doesn’t fly into any Restricted Airspace. On the other hand, the OAT must adhere to the lateral and vertical limits of the reserved airspace.

Air Bases:

Transit Aerodrome:

Manouvering Aerodrome:

Military Controllers

Only validated Controllers by the PT Special Operations Department are allowed to open any Military-Only frequency as follows:

Lisboa Military / Information – LPAM CTR

Monte Real Approach, Tower and Ground – LPMR APP/TWR/GND

Sintra Approach, Tower and Ground – LPST APP/TWR/GND

Ovar Approach and Tower – LPOV APP/TWR

Montijo Tower – LPMT TWR

Alverca Tower and Ground – LPAR TWR/GND


Validated Military Controllers











PT SO Letter of Agreement


Divisional SO Order