Thread: QNH or QFE ?
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Old 10th Aug 2018, 23:02
  #59 (permalink)  
Silvaire1
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 342
Originally Posted by LookingForAJob View Post
As an ex-controller who used to work terminal areas, having more than one level datum was just day-to-day business. Aircraft coming into my area of responsibility were often at or descending to a FL, below TA QNH was the common pressure setting used and around the aerodromes QFE might well have been used. Include in the mix aircraft transiting the control area which might have been on the Regional Pressure setting, with the added bonus that being close to the boundary between two Altimeter Setting Regions, the RPS might have been different depending on whether the aircraft was coming from the North or South.

The rules of the game were to separate aircraft that needed separating and give traffic info on those which didn't. For separation there was a simpler system that displayed what FLs were separated from aircraft below TA and for traffic info, levels rounded to the nearest hundred feet were easy to work out (and if they were VFR and not going to be in my airspace for long I saw no reason to get all aircraft to change to one of the aerodrome QNHs). I don't dispute that more than one pressure datum means that there is more to think about, but it concerns me to think that there may be pilots or controllers who have trouble with simple altimetry calculations when values rounded to the nearest hundred feet will suffice for most purposes.
That is amazing. I'm genuinely glad none of the controllers I deal with are faced with that game, given my base in one of world's densest packed terminal areas (and all traffic on the same altimeter setting). The situation described in one of those classic British situations where a totally inefficient non-system is made to work through the application of skill... and those concerned think it is normal!

Last edited by Silvaire1; 10th Aug 2018 at 23:26.
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