View Full Version : Altimeter setting in Russia

4th Oct 2008, 00:38
It is widely known that QFE altimeter setting is used primarily in Russia, however I am curious whether international operators use it as well, or do they stick to QNH?

4th Oct 2008, 06:35
My airline does not normally fly to Russia.
But we sometimes do charter flights - i.e. football teams.
In Russia we fly QFE and metric, we talk QFE and metric to ATC.
QFE are given in mB by ATC, but can be also given in mm Hg (760mm = STD).
Two of our 747-200s used for charters have a metric altimeter installed.
These altimeters have 2 Kollsman windows - hPa and mm Hg.
We use QNH/feet of the corrected altimeters to crosscheck the QFE.
With checklists/SOPs - we read back ALL DIGITS and read back the UNIT.
I trained the 747 TransAero (Russia) crews 4 years ago.
And delivered their planes along with their crews.
Obviously, they use QFE/metric.
Had to stress the use of QNH or QFE in the training in simulators.
My opinion is that it is dangerous to "convert" QFE/QNH and feet/metric.
You are likely to make a mistake one day, or misread a table.
So learn their procedures, and get properly qualified to do so.
As usual, some will do completely different procedures.
Glad I retire in 45 days... No QFE/QNH at the beach in Brazil...
Units there, are "um Chopp de Brahma"...!
Happy contrails

4th Oct 2008, 09:15
Hi BelArgUSA,

I remember operating some flights to Russia a while ago.
I agree with what you said however you have no other choices but to convert when you get a CLB or a DES to a FL in meters by ATC. As far as I know, the MCP ALT window is in feet :ok:
A metric altimeter can help you crosscheck you are maintaining the correct FL.
We used a feet/meters conversion table.
For QNH/QFE conversion, I completely agree with you. You will be prone to errors some day specially with high elevation fields.

4th Oct 2008, 09:33
Totally agree BelArgUSA:ok:

Another thing happens in the meanwhile at some places. ATC may ask you to use either QNH or QFE....

If your answer is QNH, things will become really complicated, cause altitude clrc are still given in METERS!!!!

So either METERS/QFE



Good luck.

4th Oct 2008, 13:40
First - the issue of "vertical units" - how high...?
If your altimeter is on QNH, you are in altitude...
If your altimeter is on QNE (1013.2/29.92). you are in level...
You good little boys know the above.
If you use QFE, your altimeter is in height...!
That is the way you speak to ATC, either level, altitude or height.
Do not confuse the three when doing checklists/SOPs in the flight deck.
Altimeter transitions therefore become -
Transition altitude (climbing), when changing from QHH to QNE...
Transition level (descending), changing from QNE to QNH (or QFE like in Russia)...
Transition height (climbing), changing from QFE to QNE (as you do in Russia)...
Units used -
Russians use hPA on their international airports. Domestic sometimes use mm/Hg.
29.92 in/Hg = 1013.2 mB (or hPa) = 760 mm/Hg.
Inches and millimeters are length units while hPA/mB is a pressure unit.
No need to review feet and meters... I guess everyone knows them.
QFE notes -
A QFE for precision approach (ILS) is based on TDZE... expressed in meters in Russia.
A QFE for non-precision (circle to land) is based on airport elevation.
Expect a downwind to be 500 meters AGL in Russia when flying QFE.
Jeppesen publishes QNH and QFE on all approach, SIDs and STARs ICAO worldwide charts.
The QNH altitudes are in plain numbers, the QFE heights are in parenthesis.
I.e. runway TDZE 521 ft AGL, your decision altitude/height might be shown as 721' (200').
My QFE briefing is an 8 hrs classroom curriculum -
In simulator, for practice, I require a QFE procedure for the all-engines ILS.
No extra simulator time...
After I retire next month, I am available to come and teach. I am expensive.
$500 per day, or fraction of day... and you pay the beers for debriefing.
Happy contrails

4th Oct 2008, 13:55
It doesn't matter which system you choose, as long as;
The most important thing is to understand the differences between the types of altimeter settings used, as BelArgUSA wrote.
It is super critical that all the crew members know what system you are using, so they can cross-check each other and controller clearances.

My airlines uses QNH even in QFE-Land. We have conversion charts on the jepp charts, and we use the INSs DATA screen, which displays metric altitude as a crosscheck. Always 2-crew x-check on the conversion.
I know russia won't, but other QFE guys, like kazakhstan, will give you QNH and work with you in "altitude" if so requested. Again, it is the most important thing to know what the controller is referencing his/her clearances to.
If your altitude selector on the MCP is feet only, it is a good idea to write down the cleared 'meter' level/altitude/height. I use the standby frequency on the ADF to dial that in.

Keep it simple.

tuskegee airman
4th Oct 2008, 14:00
I'll join in the usual accolades BelARGUSA. Well done the above. Reminds me of a former Capt who could get through to the "thickest" of us lowly newbies, after he retired the company kept him in the sim for a number of years (thankfully).

How soon to your book?

4th Oct 2008, 14:13
Like you say 747diesel, KISS - Keep it simple (stupid)..
Nice of the Khazaks to get you guys a QNH procedure. One day maybe our Russians will do same.
AA American did QFE in USA until the early 1990s... Crazy people.
That in a QNH airspace...! So did defunct Eastern Airlines...
The TransAero Russian crews use QFE everywhere... I pray they are careful.
For us here, we make it clear, approach briefing this is a QFE procedure clearly stated.
I personally do not mind QFE. Nice to know how high I am above touchdown.
When I was a kid in Belgium, touch and goes in Piper Cub, I used QFE.
Downwind was always 800 feet AGL.
Happy contrails

4th Oct 2008, 15:13
The object of QFE settings is so that the altimeter pointer will read "zero" on the ground. But since the era of radar altimeters this concept has fallen out of favor in most countries.

4th Oct 2008, 15:25
Yeah, reads zero... in flat terrain.
Some approaches, not exactly zero, is it...?
Shall we mention landing West in, say San Diego...?
Radio altimeter means nothing to me, except last 200' on Cat.II...
Did you look at radio altimeter when landing runway 13 in Kai Tak...?
Happy contrails

4th Oct 2008, 16:28
It really depends what you can or can not use. For example QFE operation is not allowed in our outfit anymore since we have EGPWS installed. That is in fact a restriction from the manufacturer of that system and therefore a restriction on the whole airplane.

We do use meters when operating on standard pressure (NG only, feet on the 733 with a table and a second stby altimeter in meters) and QNH/feet when operating below the standard level system. We are well aware of the differences, we do have to brief the difference between QFE and QNH well beforehand and all our charts have conversion tables. We do have to document all altitude/frequency clearances on paper and do a thorough crosscheck. For fast referencing the scratchpad of the FMC is quite a good place to store clearances. So far we didn't had any hickup with that.

el #
4th Oct 2008, 16:41
BelArgUSa, I'm OK with the $500 and beers, but can we go like, flying the PA-28 instead of ground school ? Can we roll it ?

4th Oct 2008, 22:02
When flying into Russia my company uses QFE, it makes the life simplier and safer, but one has to remember to
-set landing elevation at Cabin Press ZERO
-switch EGPWS/TAWS to OFF
-not use the VNAV

The last two items may be the reason for some companies not to use QFE

On the Classic 737 it`s a bit more complicated as you have to use the conversion tables, however with the new equipement (like the Primus EPIC) it`s pretty easy as you switch to metric system including the altitude selection on MCP (or FGC or whatever we call it)

4th Oct 2008, 22:10
el # - ???
Regarding the PA-28 upside down, is that before or after the beers...?
I can roll a Lear 24 very well, never tried a PA-28...
Cheers -
Happy contrails