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Setting QNH on descent

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Setting QNH on descent

Old 4th Apr 2017, 02:34
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Setting QNH on descent

As a general survey, what are your various airlines out there doing when on descent? Do your SOP's allow you to set QNH as soon as cleared to an altitude or must you wait until passing the transition level?
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 02:49
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Major British Airline: set QNH as soon as you are cleared to an altitude.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 03:56
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Major German Airline: set QNH as soon as you are cleared to an altitude.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 04:08
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Thanks for the replies so far. Interested to see some more.

Our Boeing Fleet (not Airbus) has just decided to change SPO's to changing to QNH "AT and NOT BEFORE Transition level on descent.

The claim is this is standard ICAO ( even though the "other" fleet doesn't) and everyone else in the world does this.

Last edited by valhalla634; 4th Apr 2017 at 05:03.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 05:00
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The STBY alt when cleared to an altitude, the others passing TL.


Unadulterated Airbus procedures say to set QNH when approaching TL and cleared for an altitude.

Last edited by compressor stall; 5th Apr 2017 at 01:13. Reason: Didn't RTFQ
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 05:29
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SE Europe minor flag carrier; ATR, A319, Q400: set QNH when cleared to altitude.

ME LoCo, B737: set QNH when passing TL.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 06:36
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The potential problem with resetting the subscale when leaving a high FL is the possibility that you are going to be held at some intermediate level prior to transition ..

For high descent rate aircraft, leaving it until transition is a recipe for high workload entering the lower levels. However, at some convenient level approaching transition makes sense.

Going back some years, AN's practice was to set the QNH as part of the FL 150 descent checks and that seemed to work out pretty fine.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 06:45
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Whilst descending, I (EU) had never heard of any flight operation that would keep STD until the TL, all re-set immediately with clearance to an altitude.

Plus, you can add all of the airlines operating in the old East block.

Going up, different story.

Deleted this part ...

Last edited by FlightDetent; 4th Apr 2017 at 08:44. Reason: managed to confuse myself
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 07:23
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TL would suggest down as they'd still be on STD until then.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 07:48
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AAAAHhh. Indeed, sorry.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:06
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It's a while since I researched this but the UK AIP stated set QNH as soon as cleared to an altitude (on descent) unless further flight level vacating reports required, in which case set QNH after last required report.

ICAO stated set QNH when cleared to an altitude unless level flight about the Transitional Level is anticipated.

Of course the threat of setting QNH late is the risk of busting Safety Altitude especially with low atmospheric pressure notwithstanding that most operators require QNH to be previously set on the Standby Altimeter which on some types may be the reference for pressurisation.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:34
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when cleared

Old gigg: TP operation as soon as cleared to an altitude
New gigg: Jet operation as soon as cleared to an altitude
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:37
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Interesting responses, I had no idea setting QNH immediately when cleared below the TL was so common.

Around here (Aus/NZ/Pacific), it's standard to set QNH passing the transition level, no earlier. Not sure why I'd want to do otherwise.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:42
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And in many places, accordingly to the above techniques, ATC will not transmit TL to the pilot anyways.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:48
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Not sure why I'd want to do otherwise.
Too easy to forget not to reset the altimeter.

I have never done anything other than reset QNH as soon as I've been cleared to an altitude. This includes working on a turbo-prop for 2 different operators, one UK and one Swedish, and now working on B737 for a large UK leisure airline.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 08:57
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U.K. loco...

STD soon as cleared to an altitude, and standby altimeter passing FL200 latest.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 09:02
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Originally Posted by Johnny [email protected] Pants View Post
Too easy to forget not to reset the altimeter.

I have never done anything other than reset QNH as soon as I've been cleared to an altitude. This includes working on a turbo-prop for 2 different operators, one UK and one Swedish, and now working on B737 for a large UK leisure airline.
I suppose it's what we've "grown up" with professionally, I know we're regarded as a bit different here down south. Multiple turboprop operators and 2 x 737 operators in this part of the world, all operated the same, and forgetting the QNH at transition never happened, it's a totally standard procedure. And in the 737 you'll get a nice amber flag if you're a few seconds late with it. And this operating into some very terrain rich environment (e.g. Queenstown).
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 09:10
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Is AUS TL110, all the times? Is your flag on 737 set up correctly all the times?

Not trying to poke you, but rather thinking out loud what is different in places where the best practice crystalized differently. In line with ICAO's to set QNH with the receipt of altitude clearance, (where intermediate level-off above TL is expected the TL will need to be specified in that clearance by ATC)

Text is parenthesis is mine.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 09:27
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Interesting replies. Thanks everyone for keeping it subjective.
I think the US/NAM has it about right. 18,000/FL180. Done!
Fine for Oz/NZ to have a standard of FL110, but this varies I think with low pressure situations.
And for those who fly the world over, I think setting QNH on descent when cleared to an altitude covers it all.
Pilots don't generally like waiting to set things when they know they need setting. Plus the verbal set, X-checked etc that goes with it is better done higher up than lower down when getting more and more vectoring, speed control etc. in my opinion.
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 09:41
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Originally Posted by Bleeding Air
and forgetting the QNH at transition never happened
Brave...

Originally Posted by Bleeding Air
The Aus regs are clear, set QNH through FL110.
Incorrect. Prior to Transition. ENR 1.7 section 2.1.4.
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