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What Is TRSA Airspace?

TRSA stands for Terminal Radar Service Area. TRSAs surround Class D airports with high levels of traffic. The remaining controlled airspace is in Class E airspace beginning 700 or 1,200 feet AGL.

TRSAs provide additional radar services for pilots and aircraft. ATC services include traffic advisories and sequencing of arriving and departing aircraft operating under both Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

Participation in TRSA services is completely optional for VFR pilots.

Since we are located in Southern California, there is one airport that does have a TRSA around it, which is the Palm Springs International (KPSP) airport.

On sectional charts TRSA airspace is depicted by a solid dark gray line.

Why are services optional?

The few airports that do have TRSAs could in the future be upgraded or converted if the traffic level increases.

ATC offer two main types of service:

  • Radar traffic advisories

  • Sequencing

Radar traffic advisories - which is are a type of safety alert. ATC will provide you with updates about other aircraft in your vicinity. The information provided about the other aircrafts altitude, direction, and how close they are to you. This is similar to flight following.

Sequencing - arranges the order of aircraft arriving at or departing from the airport. Controllers sequence both IFR and VFR aircraft to provide a smooth and orderly flow of traffic.

NOTE: If you do not choose to use the ATC services, the altitude and heading instructions provided by ATC are still mandatory.

Getting in contact

To find the TRSA frequency on the sectional chart, look for the bold black box (Example: "SEE TER FREQ. TAB"). That information refers you to the frequency which is usually the Tower frequency.

The Palm Springs airport is a little different. In figure 2 the TRSA frequency is the same as SoCal Approach.

The Chart supplement will also have the frequency listed.

Entry / Equipment Requirements:

  • There are no equipment requirements for nonparticipating aircraft to fly in the TRSA (only if you are VFR).

  • If the aircraft is participating in radar service, all that is required is a radio and two-way communication with ATC.


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