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Not ONCE...but TWICE at Birmingham

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Not ONCE...but TWICE at Birmingham

Old 17th Apr 2007, 19:06
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Im with you Danny, but can we in the continental europe participate,please?
FL100 gets my vote - even I can remember that nice, round number
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 19:21
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brummbrumm, I think you can see by now that I wasn't making this problem up, and I'm not the only person to experience it.

You should've figured it out for yourself when I said I wrote to my Flt Ops manager about it - few pilots write letters to their FOM on a bull**** basis.

Anyhow, as you've read, lots of debate, blame flying back and forth.
I had hoped my FOM would consider the introduction of a new Standard Call - something like OSBO suggested exists in his companies SOP - perhaps the callout at 'RadAlt Live' coupled with a 'check QNH set' type response. Or else a STD Call at TL on all approaches?

In the absence of that the last chance to catch the error is an OM check height - and in my own experience at BHX you may be in a very rushed high speed/high ROD situation, trying to get configured, trying to bleed of speed and height - that check height can be missed. Sure - blame the crew for f***in it up, but thats just a cover up for the REAL problem here.

Its an accident waiting to happen.
I'm all for a standardised TL, like the US uses.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 06:50
  #23 (permalink)  
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Regarding the BHX transition, on approach the levels are FL50 (lowest FL) descending to 4000ft QNH, and then generally 2500ft or 2000ft depending on the runway, so not quite as low as Danny suggests. I have been instructed to intercept the LOC miles and miles out, especially late evenings straight in for 33, but I cannot remember ever being instructed to descend on the ILS from a flight level, always an altitude.

Not setting the QNH on approach to an ILS is poor airmanship but not too safety critical, you just intercept the glide at a different height, the danger comes with the LOC only approach, for obvious reasons.

If I remember correctly (one of) the Mahan incidents was due to the use of the HON VOR rather than the LOC/DME for the apporach.

All the BHX SIDs end at FL60, not sure why but I'd hazard a guess it's to do with the surrounding MAN airspace. It does cause some problems at BHX especially at low QHN, as those who've listened to the "tirade" at the end of the ATIS regarding the FL "and not, I repeat not an altitude" will testify!!
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 08:11
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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The SIDs at EMA also end in a FL. 70 or 60 depending on which way your going out.

I'm with Danny on this, but I think the reason is that NATS can blame everyone but themselves for the level busts, so they don't see it as a problem. And before I get shot down, its the management I blame, the controllers do an heroic job under very difficult circumstances. But why its taken so long to put in place a common Transition Alt for the whole of the UK is criminal.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 08:44
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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There are moves afoot to have the airspace around EGBB changed with a resultant transition altitude of 6000ft, however this is going to take time.

Snigs,

Level busts are a problem out of EGBB, the number of crews who report climbing to 6000ft on departure is still high, despite the inclusion of FL60 in the initial departure clearance, When the pressure is high, it's not so much of a problem but when the pressure is low then you could bust the level quite easily. I'm not a big fan of the "repeat NOT an altitude" but unfortunately the inability of a large number of crews (mostly foreign, but still a lot of British) to climb to a FL on departure means that we have to continue with our drive to reduce the potential for incidents. The net result is that we still have to spoon feed professional aviators with as many reminders as we can.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 10:00
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Maxalt

If you'd like to experience the standard call out you mention (in our case 'radalt live, check baro') simply seek employment with BA Connect.

Which will be tricky now it's a part of Flybe mind you.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 10:17
  #27 (permalink)  
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Firstly I'm sure PPRune has exhausted the 'standard TA/TL' bit over the years in some forum/archive or another? I recall a vaild reason being put forward by ATC for not doing it. I have no objection to 180 personally. As MJ says - IF (and we should) go for a Pan-Euro value it will need to be above 10,000.

To create a storm of protest I fully agree with firefly in post #12. There is too much reliance on 'checklists' rather than basic a/ship in trapping this error. 'Little' things like MSA which is QNH (or QFE) based must be being ignored as well if approach settings are not being thought about. Like a previous poster I have many times intercepted the CDG glidepath on 1013 as cleared by ATC. Not an issue if crews are thinking, but if the trigger to think about terrain is 'descend altitude xxx' then .........
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 10:24
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"still have to spoon feed professional aviators with as many reminders as we can".
Flying out of regional and capital airports in the UK and Europe and having to remember EACH time whether its an Alt or FL on the SID is not a bright idea. The level set in the FMP looks the same. There is no NO other visual reminder other than that little diagram on the departure plate stuck out of your main scan (on the 'bus anyway). The only clue is the flashing QNH value or STD symbol on the PFD in the bottom right hand corner (which NORMALLY means you've miss set something).
Comeing downhill into LHR we get "Descend to X thosand feet, QNH YYY, ZZ miles for AA L/R" which we have to acknowledge, then in the next breath, "call director 120.4, callsign only", which we have to acknowledge, then we have time to do our altimeter check then it's talk to the ATC again.
With a sometimes late handover, plus a very busy frequency, our Alt checks are often interrupted or disrupted. No offence inteded to ATC but the whole feckin procedure, up and down is flawed.
Listen to what Danny, (god bless you Guv), SAYS.
WE NEED A COMMON TL WELL ABOVE MSA. PERIOD.
EASY TO REMEMBER.
How the Locost boys on their multi multi sector days do it so often without screwing up, is a testament to their professionalism. Relatively high altitude airports, eg Brisdtol, with a low QNH only add to the problem
You keep spoon feeding me and I'll do my (level) bust not to screw up. But I can't promise.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 10:33
  #29 (permalink)  
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BrummBrumm,

Totally understand regarding the constant reminders about it being a FL.

I don't have a problem with setting standard after passing MSA, but then I'm only climbing at 2000-2500ft/min (Dash Q400). I can see though, that for a/c climbing at 4000-5000ft/min and carrying out after t/o chx that it can be a bit manic. Levelling the SIDs at 6000' would be an advantage with respect to that.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 10:57
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Nubboy, I don't mind spoon feeding you, but don't see why I should have to it adds to my and your workload with increased RT time, it also adds to the length of an already overly long ATIS message (taking you out of the loop for longer on arrival, which has potential safety implications)

Snigs,

I'm in agreement with you regards that things can be a bit manic on the fd (even on the q400) after departure, especially out of EGBB with the low transition level, you're doing your checks, cleaning the aircraft up, setting std from QNH and then calling radar after passing 2000ft. It's difficult and may well be another contributory factor to the number of (potential) level busts out of EGBB
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 13:51
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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TL

The BHX is 4000 I think.
MoT

Last edited by miles offtarget; 9th May 2007 at 10:06.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 13:58
  #32 (permalink)  
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Trasition Level given by ATC, but will be above Transition Alt of 4000 ft.
Regards
Exeng
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 15:44
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Brumm you've missed my point entirely (sp).

For you, at your ONE place of work, you have a STANDARD level off of FL60. It NEVER changes for you. The only variable you have is the possibility of a low QNH bringing FL60 closer to mother earth.

For most of your visiting aircrew, ppl as well as professional ( although last time I flew in in a little one the ground procedures were so unfriendly I'm never going to bother, but that's another thred), we have DIFFERENT procedures at different airfields. To us there is no such thing as a STANDARD TL, as in the good ol' USof A. YOUR procedures are not EVERYDAY procedures for EVERYBODY.

Sorry for the shouting but we have to emphasise that this is a big hole in the cheese, and somtimes, for some for poor sod, it will line up and tears will result.

Having a mix of SID level offs in this country between FLs and ALTs, with disaster being prevented by swithching from QNH to STD, is a recipe for an accident.

Please keep listening and spoon feeding us inadequates and stop us from having all those little holes lined up.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 17:36
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Lassie
thanks for your kind(er) comments.
It was the "spoon feeding" allegory that got my goat (to mix a few metaphors up ).
I suppose the point I'm making is that there's no backup, on the flight deck, as far as I can see, to help us to remember WHEN to switch to standard on the altimeters on departure, JUST the SID plate, then if and when things go pear shaped on departure (especially) or arrival then inbuilt motor actions, or whatever they're called these days, will take over. If you spend most of you're time climbing out on a SID to a cleared altitude, then that's what you're likely to do. Hey bingo, distraction, (eg minor ECAM procedure after take off) miss the change and level bust. At best.
It ain't rocket science, or even good practice to have different procedures in place, for the same job, at different airfields. How many threads have we seen on crews being criticised for being cowboys and NON SOP? But this isn't even standadised throughout the UK.
Course, when it goes wrong we're at the pointy end and an instant call of crew error and off with their heads results.
As I said, you keep listening and if your colleagues like to think of it as spoon feeding professionals, then so be it.

Last edited by Nubboy; 18th Apr 2007 at 17:59.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 22:43
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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In my experience it's just as topslide6 says. And for the record, all else aside - great airport in and out of which to operate and would rather be there than where I'm now!
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Old 19th Apr 2007, 21:37
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so kept a watchful eye today.........we were given clearence to 2500ft and "further with the ILS"
Today.
Good.
Hopefully tomorrow too.

And for the record, all else aside - great airport in and out of which to operate and would rather be there than where I'm now!
I've said it before on this forum, UK ATC are the worlds best IMHO. No argument there.
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Old 20th Apr 2007, 09:21
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I'm out of all this now.....

...but recall with great respect and affection operating out of Elmdon (sorry!) B'ham for over 35 years. Great ATC...always professional, friendly and helpful. Bless'em all! bm
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Old 20th Apr 2007, 22:08
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Often cleared to establish on the localiser at brum from a FL, but can't recall ever being cleared to descend with the g/s from anything but an altitude, usually one of 4000ft/2500ft/2000ft.

A TNT departure from 15 is fun on a low pressure day going up ~3000fpm stop at FL60, plenty of heading changes and a frequency change to Manch.

Can't think of too many UK airports where the stop is a FL, though ABZ and IOM usually give us a stop of FL110 on departure.

Really enjoy flying from Brum and think the ATC are very good as is all the UK.
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Old 21st Apr 2007, 07:40
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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From the UK AIP:-
5.1.4 Within Controlled Airspace a pilot should set one altimeter to the latest Aerodrome QNH prior to take-off. While flying at, or
below, the Transition Altitude vertical position will be expressed in terms of altitude based upon the Aerodrome QNH. When cleared for
climb to a Flight Level, vertical position will be expressed in terms of Flight Level, unless intermediate altitude reports have been
specifically requested by Air Traffic Control.
Note the "When cleared for climb to a Flight Level, vertical position will be expressed in terms of a Flight Level etc".

So the way I read this is that you dont have to wait until you are passing the Transition Altitude to set 1013.25 mb. In short if you are climbing to a flight level you can, in principal, set 1013.25 mb before taking off!
There are, of course, other considerations such as safety altitude and clean up altitudes etc in the event of engine failure notwithstanding that the standby altimeter is usually set on QNH until above MSA. However, I feel that some operators operations manuals are written in a way which precludes the operating pilot, at least, setting 1013.25 mb before the Transition Altitude. This is regretable since I believe it is far safer to set 1013.25 mb as early as practicable to avoid potential level busts, especially with QNH less that 1013.25 mb.
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Old 21st Apr 2007, 08:12
  #40 (permalink)  
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To my mind, the 'logical' time (737) is while waiting for Flap 1 (last stage) retraction speed? There is normally a reasonably 'quiet' time there to call/set and check 'standard' and you are done well before block level.
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