Thread: QNH or QFE ?
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 10:37
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 4,594
Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
One problem with using RPS in the UK is when flying below a CTA where the base is notified as an altitude; the RPS can be low enough to cause the pilot to infringe if they try to fly just below the CTA.
I once watched a stream of Hercules not talking to Farnborough or Gatwick crossing MID VOR south eastbound all indicating 2,700ft where the base is 2,500ft (this was in the days before the RAF recognised the 'rule' about using an actual QNH when flying below a TMA) because they were using the Chatham RPS. Particularly annoying for Gatwick as they were landlng on easterlies at the time.
Good point. More in general, we all tend to report a number which we think is our altitude (or height), but omit to include the information how that altitude or height was derived. Heck, we even omit the word "height" or "altitude" on most occasions.

I was doing my IMC rating at Leicester (almost 500' elevation), when QFE was still used a lot for VFR flying. So I was entering the practice hold (situated more or less overhead) at 2000' on the QNH (and reporting "holding at 2000") while other aircraft were doing VFR overhead joins at 1500' on the QFE (and reporting "overhead join at 1500"). It did not take very long to realise that we were actually just feet apart. From that moment on I started reporting my altitude as "2000 feet on the QNH, 1500 feet on the QFE".

Mixing two altimeter datums in the same airspace is dangerous. For safety, all aircraft in the same airspace should use the same datum. Whatever that datum is, I don't care, as long as everybody knows and uses it.
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