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Report altitude not above

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Report altitude not above

Old 21st Jul 2012, 16:30
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Report altitude not above

Hi,

Was flying near RAF Valley today and the controller asked me to
'report altitude not above'

I have not heard this before does it mean to not fly above my current altitude?

I gave them my altitude and religiously stuck to it until I changed frequency and they seemed happy enough.

Have had a quick look through CAP413 but can't see it mentioned.

Thanks Tom

Last edited by spacemonkeys; 21st Jul 2012 at 16:30.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 16:38
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I guess he meant your maximum altitude
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 16:49
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They are asking for what you will not climb higher than.

By stating that not above you have entered into a contract with the controller. There is nothing stopping you from decending without telling the controller though.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 20:25
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It's just yet another example of rubbish phraseology. The only clear thing about it is that it has caused confusion. I hope it's not taught at Shawbury.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 01:07
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It's not in CAP 413 and therefore should not be used by military controllers when communicating with civil aircraft.
You have grounds to file an MOR.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 09:05
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Seems like plain English to me. I don't think CAP413 is supposed to be inclusive of all necessary R/T to cover all eventualities. I work in ATSOCAS land and my unit has an excellent working relationship with a wide spectrum of military agencies. In the case mentioned.....if you say that you will be operating "not above" 3000 feet [for example] ....it may permit his/her other traffic to operate above you without interference, because your intentions are known.
Perhaps the controller was asking a question rather than issuing an instruction....if what you wrote is accurate.
In my varied experience "not above" clearances [although this particular case was not a clearance] are not unusual in the UK and so the terminology used should not be completely alien.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 10:15
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Does anyone know the reasoning behind using "not above" rather than "or below"?

Where I come from the standrad phraseology seems to be "1500 feet or below", but in the UK it's "not above 1500 feet". I'm just thinking that, from my untrained point of view, it seems more logical to use "or below" since the risks of missing part of the transmission are less. E.g.
Controller transmits "1500 feet or below", pilot hears, "1500 feet", in that case the only think that you miss is that the pilot maintains 1500, rather than the block of 1500 or below.

But if the controller transmits "not above 1500 feet", and the pilot hears that as "above 1500 feet", the meaing of the transmission is reversed.

Now granted with proper readbacks and hearbacks the above should never be able to happen, but I'm just trying to see if there's any advantage to using "not above" rather than "or below" style phraseology. Once again I'm not an ATCO or a pilot (even though I hope I will one day make it to become a validated ATCO), but from my perspective it seems more safe to use a positive "or below" clearane rather than a "negative" "not above" clearance.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 14:05
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I always asked about the (maximum) requested altitude, followed by the instruction, if the level was available, to stay at or below.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 15:35
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or above
or below

are correct

the original post is unrelated yet not unretarded.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 15:50
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Maybe he was asking your height from sea level not the height above from the ground level..

I am currently at flight school
We use something like that when we are flying Vfr XCountry flights.. Max alt: 1500 AGL (above ground level) so sometimes altitude is 3000 ft but still 1500 ft above ground..

Last edited by Rft320; 22nd Jul 2012 at 15:56.
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 18:29
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Everyone know that Military ATC invents their own phraseology .
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 19:05
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Its been pretty standard to be honest for over 10 years with mil units running approaches.

I don't really mind the "not above" question. If your not playing just say FL100. The not below is a bit cheeky to civilian traffic as it can cause issues with remaining VFR.
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Old 25th Jul 2012, 18:32
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For military controllers, its not uncommon for them to ask a light ac on a BS to request an Altitude or height not above, so they are given full SA. They will then request you fly not above it if they need co-ordination with other ac. Simple. It says nothing about taking 1000' on charlie, yet i've heard civvy atco's request it on co-ordination regularly.
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Old 27th Jul 2012, 10:14
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Oh yeh, and its all in CAP774, not 413,
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