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Always squawk VFR after cancelling IFR?

Hi everyone

Quick question… after cancelling IFR (as I fly with Enroute IR, that happens often), usually ATC says “IFR cancelled at time XX, squawk VFR…”. But every now and then the “squawk VFR” part is omitted. Is this intended by ATC or not?
I often hesitate to switch to 7000 in this case, because let’s say I just cancelled and I’m directly handed over to the destination tower frequency (maybe even on a instrument approach under VFR): Maybe TWR expects my assigned squawk?
I’m guessing the answer is to always switch to VFR 7000, but I would like to hear what the forum thinks.


In the US the controller will say ‘maintain your squawk’ if he/she wants you to keep squawking. Otherwise it’s ‘squawk VFR’.

According to SERA, you should (unless otherwise instructed or if otherwise prescribed by the competent authority) only select 7000 when not receiving air traffic services.

So unless you simply stop communicating with ATC or FIS you should keep the assigned code. In the case of being handed over to the tower you are recieving ATS and should not change the code to 7000. If you strongly suspect that ATC forgot to tell you to switch code, ask for confirmation!

Of course, these are the general rules and the national authority may prescribe otherwise. In the case of Switzerland, the AIP says: “Without prior instruction, the transponder shall be operated on code […] 7000 for all VFR flights.” So the question is if this means that you should set 7000 unless you get a new instruction pertaining specifically to the VFR part of the flight…

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Often you can keep getting service from whoever you were with, even cancelling IFR, or out of their airspace. I get it often after exiting the London TMA (via descent) or the CTR of some airport after a transit.

I never change my code unless requested, except on startup, or of under a listening squawk

ArcticChiller wrote:

I’m guessing the answer is to always switch to VFR 7000

Same do you automatically switch frequency when you cancel IFR? without being told explicitly? or requesting?
I guess you should just keep the code, also TWR may have a specific conspicuity or discreet transponder code, so better set that one when talking to them?

In the US VFR is 1200 and in the UK IFR can be on 7000

Last Edited by Ibra at 31 Jul 22:10
ESSEX, United Kingdom

I don’t switch to 7000 when cancelling IFR unless asked to. Did it once and got asked by ATC to switch back. I remember it well, because it was during an examination flight :)


If you really feel an urge to change your xpdr setting, then do it only when exiting controlled airspace AND leaving the freq of the controlling authority.

EBST, Belgium

Hm, okay. Thanks for all the replies! I’ll keep my squawk in the future unless they tell me to switch to 7000 (or I’ll simply ask them to clarify, which is the best option anyway).

If you fly in the US in the Washington DC area, you do not change your assigned transponder code to 1200 VFR. It is a violation of FAR to squawk 1200 inside the SFRA and can involve heavy fines or penalties including lethal force if you are deemed a threat. That is one reason why some pilots disable the VFR button on their transponder if they regularly operate in the DC SFRA.

KUZA, United States

In the UK, setting 7000 when coming off a Eurocontrol IFR flight will expose you to triggering the CAIT software should you descend below CAS and then as you continue the descent you clip a corner of one of the underlying shapes. That’s not a good idea so always keep the squawk all the way to landing.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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