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When leaving TRSA what is the correct phraseology to tell ATC that radar service is no longer desired?

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You can say "cancel radar service" (probably the most standard under ICAO), "cancel flight following," "request frequency change," or anything else that conveys the same general idea. If all else fails, plain English is always acceptable too.

Regardless of which you say, ATC's response should be "radar service terminated, squawk VFR, frequency change approved," same as in any other class E airspace.

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On takeoff, tower will typically tell you to contact approach as you start your climb. After you do that, and if VFR and not on flight following, you just report "Binghamton approach, Nxxxxx is clear to the east" as an example, and can add your altitude. Binghamton, NY TRSA is the nearest one I fly thru with any sort of regularity (couple times a year). Basically you can treat them like a Class C as the TRSA is likely to be centered around a towered airport, while Class D may or may not be.

If you ask for flight following prior to takeoff, Gnd control, or the tower, can set you up with a squawk code so that approach has you in the system already when you contact them.

I always use flight following when flying cross country, nice to have another set of eyes looking out for you, and it expedites handoff to Center, or the next approach control, depending on where you are. We're also under a Class B shelf, so it can be busy.

There are still planes without ADS-B, some illegally, some not needing it due to staying out of radio required airspace, or due to not having electrical systems, so all due diligence helps.

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  • $\begingroup$ OK, I hadn't heard the term TRSA for a couple decades, but looked on Skyvector and sure enough there it a TRSA around Binghampton, as well as a few other Northeastern cities. I have not come across this term, or any depiction of US airspace other than A, B, C, D, E and G in a very long time. Can somebody please point me to where this is defined? (or maybe this is a better standalone question?) $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Jan 8 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall AIM 3−5−6. Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA) a. Background. TRSAs were originally estab- lished as part of the Terminal Radar Program at selected airports. TRSAs were never controlled airspace from a regulatory standpoint because the establishment of TRSAs was never subject to the rulemaking process; consequently, TRSAs are not contained in 14 CFR Part 71 nor are there any TRSA operating rules in 14 CFR Part 91. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Jan 8 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry - I know the background having learned TRSAs and ARSAs and CZs long before the current airspace classification superceded them, I just had no idea any remnants still existed! I'm curious why they didn't just convert to Class C. Anyway, thanks for the AIM reference, I learned something new today. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Jan 8 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Plenty of info on TRSA. I'm based at one. A simple question about phraseology. NBD There must be some kind of ratio on forums...tons of comments but few answers. Makes for fun reading, I guess. $\endgroup$ – Greg Jan 8 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Class C requires mode C and (as of last week) ADSB in or above plus two-way radio contact; TRSA all of those are optional, which makes AOPA lobbyists happy. $\endgroup$ – StephenS Jan 8 at 21:50
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There is recommended verbiage per AIM 4-1-18-b.2:

  1. If any aircraft does not want the service, the pilot should state “negative TRSA service” or make a similar comment, on initial contact with approach control or ground control, as appropriate.

In the United States, participation in radar services such as flight following by VFR traffic is not mandatory. It is recommended for pilots flying VFR as a non-regulatory service. Two-way communication for VFR traffic before entering and while within Class B, C & D airspace, and within 4 miles of a towered airport below 2500 feet AGL, is still required. Outside of these areas, communication with ATC by non-participating VFR traffic is optional only. This also applies to airspace within the TRSA (communication with the underlying Class D is still required). Communication rules for IFR still apply to IFR traffic regardless.

If you are already participating in radar services like flight following as VFR, you can ”cancel” ”terminate” or ”discontinue” the service in plain English. There is no mandatory phraseology for the pilot. No reason has to be given.

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According to ICAO DOC 444 12.4.1.10:

RADAR SERVICE TERMINATED DUE (instructions) (reason).

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to AviationStackExchange. The document you cited seems to be directed at ATC as it’s target audience. It is for the use of ATC personnel when ATC is communicating with pilots. It is meant to be used by pilots solely as a reference to understand ATC communications, not as a guide for pilot phraseology. It contains the following statement, ”Note 1.—Although these procedures are mainly directed to air traffic services personnel, flight crews should be familiar with the procedures contained in the following chapters of the document:“ Stellar researching on your part, though. I commend you. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jun 11 at 16:10

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