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767-300ER
11th Oct 2007, 05:01
Anyone out there aware of airlines operating older equipment into China/Russia without metric altimeters?

Can you tell me who (airline) and what equipment they are flying and an idea of what their SOPs are like for operations without the metric altimeter....

Thanks

Arrowhead
11th Oct 2007, 06:17
I cant tell you about old aircraft, but I can tell you about operating in China. The metric altitudes translate into feet, and most airlines give pilots a conversion table. eg FL295, 315, 335, 354, 374 etc for 9000, 9600, 10200, 10800, 11400 metres. The only problem arises when cleared onto a level to intercept final app, where its not on your table and you need some kind of display to cross-check - but you only get this in smaller airports. Normally you intercept at 600m (2000ft) or 900m (3000ft).

That said, even on modern aircraft the indicated metric altitude may not read desired altitude eg (8990m not 9000m). Ie its a bastardisation, and reflects the fact that Chinese built aircraft still fly on metric altimeters whereas the rest dont.

One note of caution, China is going RVSM on November 22nd, and the altitudes are all X,100ft. The AIP says everyone shall set the altitude on their feet scale to prevent TCAS warnings.

One last point - the Russian conversion tables are different to the Chinese ones. Go figure.

Rainboe
11th Oct 2007, 09:26
First, understand the conversion thoroughly. Whatever metric figure you are given, multiply by 3, add 10% to that figure, and round up a little bit. Then you should read either Aerad or Jeppesen Route Guides to understand semi-circular altitudes in those areas. Then you should reread your Flying Manual sections about using QFE instead of QNH.

I found operations into Moscow and Leningrad difficult. You are flying to peculiar atitudes that don't mean a lot to you. When I had 'you are 500 metres left of track, 30 kms from landing descent to 2300 metres' sort of thing, I found it hard to work out high/low/where the hell I was. Take it slow and in good time.

GlueBall
11th Oct 2007, 09:51
I've never heard of anyone having to: "multiply by three, adding 10% and rounding off a little," to convert meters into feet.
If you don't have primary use metric altimeters, or if the company doesn't give you conversion tables, then you can look on the respective Jeppesen en route chart panels which will give you the equivalent metric/feet altitudes/levels, including separate tables for Mainland China, and for the rest of the metric worlds. . . Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. . .etc. It's not really a big deal.
At most major airports QNH is available from ATC when requested. And Jepp approach charts at major airports include the differential QFE/QNH settings, as well as low level boxed metric conversion tables.

DaveO'Leary
11th Oct 2007, 10:33
Forgive me if i'm wrong, why not just x by 3.2808 to convert m to ft
900m=29527ft

Dave

Tmbstory
11th Oct 2007, 10:40
767-300ER

I operated in Far Eastern Russia for quite some time in the 1990's,using Corporate Jets, which did not have Metric Altimeters.

The Airworthiness Authorities in our Country of Registration would not allow us to install a second type of altimeter system in the aircraft. It was one or the other.

We used Metres to Feet tabulated charts from 10 metres to 15100 metres. The chart was in 10 metre increments to 200 metres, then 100 metre increments to 9100 metres & 500 metre increments to 12100 metres. Between 12100 15100 metres the increments were 1000 metres. This all fitted on an A4 page with good font size, including the KHARBAROVSK & TOKYO FIR Northbound & Southbound levels allowed. These tables were available in the cockpit, also including an A5 size for each control coluum.

On all domestic flights we were required to carry an English speaking Russian Navigator who controlled the communications with the Authorities & relayed the same to the crew. This would slow down the procedure a little but overall the system worked well.

Hope this helps

BelArgUSA
11th Oct 2007, 10:53
With PanAm (going back in old days, B-707) we had a Russian Aeroflot navigator who did conversions for us, when he was not too busy reading Playboy magazines, or filling his reports to the KGB about our plane´s INS accuracy, and background of the crew...
xxx
Later days, PanAm B-747, we had a few planes equipped with an additional (metric) altimeter - dual Kollsman windows with mm/Hg (standard = 760 mm) and mB... and if issued a QFE, we were flying that QFE procedure...
xxx
With Cargolux - then flying their older 747-271C in 1992-1993, we had an additional metric altimeter as well, which was required. Again, if issued a QFE and meters, we flew such procedures verbatum...
xxx
Here in Argentina, I have a few crews which I have trained to operate in metric airspace, and able to fly QFE/metric procedures. Our operations policy is to install a metric altimeter for any flights in metric airspace, and the crew must be QFE/metric qualified.
xxx
I had a contract to train Russian pilots, and I delivered 3 of Russia´s Trans Aero 747-200s to Domodedovo in 2005, these airplanes were fitted with 4 altimeters - 2 in feet and 2 metric, no need to say they use QFE procedures which they are accustomed to. When I trained them at PAFA in Miami, we did the training "QFE" to suit them, but made "QNH" procedures part of their training curriculum.
xxx
Western world pilots who play the game of converting meters to feet, and QFE to QNH without proper altimeter better be careful. I saw many errors and "fat fingers" on calculators on these flights to Russia and China. When in Rome, do like the Romans, my friends... if the Russians and Chinese have to suffer to learn our procedures, we better show that we can handle theirs too...
xxx
:)
Happy contrails

Bushfiva
11th Oct 2007, 11:22
why not just x by 3.2808 to convert m to ft
900m=29527ft

'Cos many people can't do it successfully, I'd imagine... :}

DaveO'Leary
11th Oct 2007, 12:14
Perhaps one could buy a calculator for a couple of pounds.
Dave

Arrowhead
11th Oct 2007, 12:45
"Forgive me if i'm wrong, why not just x by 3.2808 to convert m to ft
900m=29527ft"

.. because Dave you have just shown why - 900m is approx 3000ft not 30,000ft, and secondly each country does the roundings differently, which could lead to an RA (and a chat subsequent with the chief pilot) in RVSM airspace.

DaveO'Leary
11th Oct 2007, 14:18
Correction

900m x 3.2808 = 2952ft

Dave

idg
11th Oct 2007, 14:57
Well I've been there (the PRC) a bit over the last decade...in fact that's all I do!
The Chinese AIP has strict altitude vs metric level conversions so forget all the times 3 and ten percent nonsense! In fact on the 21st of November they are switching to RVSM levels throughout the PRC (as Arrow has stated above) so I would sugggest that you get hold of the relevant chart from the Chinese AIP or from Jepp to ensure that you are flying correctly!
Remember that when someone says 'radar contact' it doesn't necessarily mean that he is qualified to offer 'rader vectors' as defined in the 'west'. A check of the good old PRC AIP will show that many 'secondary' destinations are still not 'radar service' approved.
Good luck!

Otterman
11th Oct 2007, 15:27
Prepare for both those countries. Things are very different with the metric measurements. On top of that when making an approach in Russia you get your altitudes below transition level in Meters/QFE. And in China Meters/QNH. Substantial differences, that require you to be totally up to speed on what to do and how to interpret things. Flying at cruise level is the easy part. The english language skills can be a bit hairy, although I must compliment the Chinese in making great leaps in the last few years, with their english and radar coverage. Don't use the information below for operational use. But to give you an idea what it means, the levels listed below are for Russia, and the others are for China (RVSM levels, as of 21 November, 2007) are already included.

Russia:
180-359 degrees T.
13100 m -43000 ft
11600-38100
10600-34800
9600-31500
8600-28200
7800-25600
7200-23600
6600-21700
6000-19700
5400-17700
4800-15700
4200-13800
3600-11800
3000-9800
2400-7900
1800-5900
1200-3900
000-179 degrees T.
12100 m -39700 ft
11100-36400
10100-33100
9100-29900
8100-26600
7500-24600
6900-22600
6300-20700
5700-18700
5100-16700
4500-14800
3900-12800
3300-10800
2700-8900
2100-6900
1500-4900
900-3000

China:
180-359 degrees T
14300 m -46900 ft
13100-43000
12200-40100
11600-38100
11000-36100
10400-34100
9800-32100
9200-30100
8400-27600
7800-25600
7200-23600
6600-21700
6000-19700
5400-17700
4800-15700
4200-13800
3600-11800
3000-9800
2400-7900
1800-5900
1200-3900
600-2000
000-179 degrees T.
13700 m - 44900 ft
12500-41100
11900-39100
11300-37100
10700-35100
10100-33100
9500-31100
8900-29100
8100-26600
7500-24600
6900-22600
6300-20700
5700-18700
5100-16700
4500-14800
3900-12800
3300-10800
2700-8900
2100-6900
1500-4900
900-3000

Hope it gives some insight. It isn't as intimidating as it all seems, but read up before you go anywhere near those places.

Dream Land
11th Oct 2007, 15:56
Thank you Otterman.

FMC OVERHEAT
11th Oct 2007, 20:08
Never been to China so can't tell you much about it but I've been operating a lot of times to Domodedovo (UUDD) and St Petersburg (ULLI).
Use the Jeppesen Enroute chart for the table conversion to meters. No big deal.
They give you QFE but you can ask for the QNH and compare to the one you calculated. That way they don't fool you.
Operation into ULLI is easier compared to UUDD (ATC).
Finally, expect to have a couple of TA's during approach/climbout from UUDD. This happens all the time.

ATC Watcher
11th Oct 2007, 21:41
Arrowhead :One note of caution, China is going RVSM on November 22nd, and the altitudes are all X,100ft. The AIP says everyone shall set the altitude on their feet scale to prevent TCAS warnings.

Just to clarify, and for info , China is going RVSM in meters , not in feet, and that is seen by many , especially the neighbor states, as a potential major safety issue at the FIRs interface areas

Extract from the PRC RVSM AIC:



This AIC serves as notice of intent to implement RVSM in the Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Urumqi and Wuhan FIRs and Sector 01 (airspace over the island) of the Sanya FIR on 1600UTC on 21 November 2007. The oceanic airspace of the Sanya FIR (Sectors 02 and 03) has implemented RVSM along with the South China Sea region.

Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) is the vertical separation of 300m (1,000 ft) applied from 8 900 m (FL 291) to 12 500m(FL 411) inclusive. China will implement RVSM in Metric level system. The Flight Level Allocation Scheme (FLAS) is attached in APPENDIX. The airspace from 8 900(FL 291) m to 12 500m (FL 411) will be defined as the RVSM airspace.

Rainboe
11th Oct 2007, 21:52
Well some of you may not like mental conversions, but if you do not have a table and dual scale altimeter and you are cleared to descend to 4100 metres, it's as well to do a quick conversion in your head to see what distance out you would expect to be when you are at 4100 metres altitude- or are some of you so clever you don't need to do that?

Standby for a rapid mental calc to turn kms into miles! But then some of you obviously don't need that!

Willit Run
12th Oct 2007, 21:20
In my company,we fly to China and Russia regularly. Most everyone has a clipboard that we use to hold the flight plan. Affixed to these clipboards is a conversion chart. Keep it simple! You can use a calculator if you want, but that introduces another chance of an error. Keep it simple! We fly Classic 747's and do not have metric altimiters. most all the jepp charts for the areas concerned have the correct altitudes that the countries use, plua a conversion chart on them. For those of us over forty, we like to use the large print editions! Keep it simple!

None
13th Oct 2007, 15:18
767-300ER,

I fly the ER to Moscow and via RFE (trans-Sibera) routes between ANC-ICN. Our altimeters do not have metric...we use conversion charts provided by Jeppesen (Ch. 5, tables & codes). The PM reads back the metric alt to ATC, the RP states the equivilent in feet, and the PF puts it in both the MCP alt window and the FMS. As a technique, the PM also puts the metric altitude in the VOR course select window. The FMS will take the altitude in feet to tens of feet.

We do not use QFE at Moscow. Using QFE means you cannot use VNAV and you cannot use EGPWS. Moscow will give you a QNH on request. Also, the ACARS current weather has QNH on it as a quality check tool.

The Jepp charts for Moscow have everything you need to fly either a QNH or a QFE approach.