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QFE why?

Old 25th Jun 2001, 20:34
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Post QFE why?

Can some one please tell me why the RAF/RN insist on using QFE for instrument aproaches when the rest of professional aviation went to QNH years ago ?.
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Old 25th Jun 2001, 20:44
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N Genfire
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Because we can, and we like to know where the ground is when we are snurgling around VMC at 300 feet.

PS. The Army use it too, yes we do have aircraft.

Regards N Genfire

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Old 25th Jun 2001, 21:24
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NoseGunner
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The Armed forces do periodically try going to QNH but at the end of the day it's much nicer having an instrument instantly telling you how high you are above the airfield than having one with a random number on. I know its only a simple calculation but in a high workload enviroment, the less simple calculations you have to do, the better. (Jeremy Clarkson's Speed explained it all very well I think).
 
Old 25th Jun 2001, 21:29
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Gimme300
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Err, because its nice to know that when the altimeter reads zero one arrives at the ground????? We went to QNH, but obviously our simplistic military minds couldnt cope with that as there were several incidents so we reverted to QFE. What do you mean by 'the rest of the professional avaition'???? Had QFE passed straight away without asking across the UK, France, Netherlands, Belguim so I dont think we are that peculiar. As we are on silly altimetry questions, why dont the Americans use millibars or hectopascals like the rest of professional aviation?????
 
Old 25th Jun 2001, 22:51
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Call me old fashioned, but we have a RADALT and a firm voice which yells if you get close to the ground.

Mind you, I spend my days rather higher than 250ft so my point may be irrelevant. However, unless you're over Holland or south Lincolnshire, the ground isn't particularly flat so what use is QFE then?
 
Old 25th Jun 2001, 23:08
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Scorpius
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It's not only the Americans who use inches of mercury - all the E3Ds at Waddo use it.
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 00:03
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N Genfire
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We only use it at airfields, AFnone. As the above posts have allured to its nice to know when popping out of cloud at your minima that your radalt and bar alt should read the same, we have no fancy gizzit gadgets to shout at us, or land the plane for us.


Regards N Genfire

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Old 26th Jun 2001, 00:05
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Airforcenone
Obviously, if you were flying low (is there another way?)over Holland or Lincs, I'm assuming that you'd be on the 'regional' and not some irrelevant QFE!!

As a Truckie pilot, most of our approaches around the world, aswell as being slow, are also on QNH. Nice to come back to Blighty and shoot a PAR with a large dial on the dashboard that indicates the ht above the threshold.

Perhaps if all the other 'pros' that you mention used QFE, then the extra capacity thereby saved could be used to reduce the incredible number of occasions when the crew lose SA and CFIT reigns? Small point, and honestly it makes little difference in my job.
Has anybody had an occasion when they couldn't actually dial the QFE up due to airfield elevation?
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 00:45
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BEagle
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Yes - Colorado Springs, Buckley, Cannon to name but 3.
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 01:41
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Gimme 300 i cant think of an airline that uses QFE now and the latest NG737 flight manual warns you not to use QFE as the FMC will not like it !(can the C17 use QFE?) I can see that QFE could be a good thing for the fast jet people who dont have ILS and the only option would be a PAR but for the rest of the militry i cant see how the height above the runway helps you avoid all the other obstructions.

I have to say that i think that changing the setting of the altimeter at a critical and high workload stage of flight is asking for trouble but i am willing to be enlightend on this subject.
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Old 26th Jun 2001, 06:02
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Where do QFE / QNH originate from? I know that they are not actually abbreviations. Were these terms not originally wartime designations? I also seem to recall there having been other 'Q's which have fallen into disuse. Boring question, I know, but I'm curious. Can anybody enlighten?
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 12:46
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DouglasDigby
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Blue Stuff, I seem to remember that the "Q" abbreviations were introduced to assist in those difficult days of early HF/morse transmissions. You're quite right, there was a huge list of them (QSY = change freq) - maybe a siggie from Kinloss still has his original list on parchment somewhere!

Some are listed at http://duke.usask.ca/~buydens/ham/qcodes.html
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 12:51
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Thud_and_Blunder
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Blue Stuff,

In my previous military incarnation I worked in an army trade where a working knowledge of the more common Q and Z codes was essential. Why not try what I did - do a Google search for "Morse Q codes"? It threw back over 5000 replies, showing that the aviation use might be dying out but the radio hams still love the brevity of the things.

For some reason, the code QRM ("I am being manually interfered with", followed by a number from 1 to 5 showing the strength of interference) springs back to mind... Strange people, those signallers.
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 14:53
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I think EESDL and BEagle have highlighted why most of the world uses QNH - there are a significant number of airfields where the elevation is so high that setting QFE would entail a lot of dial twisting or is even off the scale. The UK, France and the low countries, as mentioned in a previous post, don't have any such airfields and so can quite happily provide a QFE approach.

Toodle pip.
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 17:53
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Wholigan
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All the above absolute bollox --- it's 'cos we want to and sod the rest of you! :t
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 23:14
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When you are sat in your cockpit, all on your own, trying to get the jet on the ground (either with or without ATC help) in nasty weather with sod all fuel to divert, only one thing matters; height above the runway when touchdowm height=zero
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 23:44
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Gimme300
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A and C - Wanst the topic on why the british military still use it rather than airlines? Maybe we prefer QFE because in my military aircraft (and I know others do before I get flamed!) unlike an airliner, I do not have ILS, an autopilot or the ability to unstrap and walk around if I get tired! Not saying that Airline Jet pilots dont work hard, but by the time landings come along in our 'always manual land aircraft', either visually in good weather or via a PAR in bad weather, you are knacked, and want things nice and simple. The simplest thing is for the ground to be at zero ft when you land, hence we use QFE. I am sure that the obliging military air traffic would provide you with the QNH if you turned up in your NG 737, but we like it simple

[This message has been edited by Gimme300 (edited 26 June 2001).]
 
Old 26th Jun 2001, 23:58
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Cause I'm a sad man:

(Q)FE = Field Elevation
(Q)NH = Nautical Height
 
Old 27th Jun 2001, 00:01
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BEagle
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I was once taught that the UK civil system was:
QNH with ApproacH
QFE with TowEr
 
Old 29th Jun 2001, 02:12
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As we're on Q codes, why QNE, QTE, QDM, QNR, QSY, etc. etc.? My understanding is that when the codes were decided on for wartime use in the 30's and 40's they did not necessarily have a bearing on whet they actually meant. It was just a list. Anyone know any better?
 

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