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Near CFIT because PIC didn't understand FL

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Near CFIT because PIC didn't understand FL

Old 20th Apr 2016, 07:05
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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FL TWO HUNDRED tends to be used in UK airspace and as far as I remember it's in the CAP413.

Saying FL two zero zero is an ICAO thing and most other countries use that system.

There are some fundamental errors performed here since we don't fly on FL until passing the transition altitude on climb out. So if I were in the Crew's shoes, levelling off at altitude 2000, alarm bells will be ringing especially if I were PM. Also, did the Crew actually set 1013 at 2000? Just wondering because if the QNH was low say QNH 1000 then they would have been even lower than they thought.

When I was operating in Europe, saying altitude or FL on your read back was very common but the rest of the world doesn't seem to think along the same lines.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 07:19
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Frankly I am surprised no one picked on another problem here - I don't know where the boundary in Europe lies but in the US you are not allowed to use flight-level terminology if you are below 18000 feet, I think it makes perfect sense to disallow use of flight levels anywhere except the class A airspace. And frankly I am at 2000 feet sounds a lot shorter than I am at flight level two hundred...

Or perhaps this is a North American pilot used to a Transition Level of FL180.
No, he couldn't have been a North American pilot precisely because of the above. No NA pilot will use flight level for such low altitudes.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 07:36
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I sympathise with the crew a little. Not used to the myriad of transition levels where they come from combined with the serious sounding "STOP at FL200" requirement despite the cleared final level of FL340 means they must've thought this to be some kind of low level instrument departure level off. In the US, this clearance would be to INITIALLY climb FL200 and expect FL340 within x minutes.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 07:52
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Why isnt this antiquated european system overhauled? for a bunch who tells Americans to "get to know the world", you folks sure prefer to stick to your confusing methods instead of making things simpler.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 07:52
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<<And frankly I am at 2000 feet sounds a lot shorter than I am at flight level two hundred...>>

Except that those two are approximately 18000 feet apart.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:01
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I have to say that I found the ATC response given the situation to have been odd
Seeing that there was a threat and suspecting a confusion over flight levels and altitude ATC Cleared him to climb to FL300
That is almost like saying your departure is fine you are now re cleared to FL300?

The obvious would have been realising the aircraft was at 2000 feet to have instigated an immediate climb to above the SSA in feet and with the QNH given with a request for a read back of both ?

sv_741_india_bravo

Yes EASA had a blank Sheet and should have saved the Eurozone Millions by taking the FAA system modifying it to suit Europe and harmonising aviation regulations worldwide but then? When have EASA ever done anything sensible which has not been for their own or their chums benefits

there was talk of EASA standardising a transition Level but that went quiet probably too much time in the bars and restaurants of Brussels on lavish expense accounts

Pace
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:04
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"flight level two zero zero" is international (ICAO) phraseology.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:09
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ICAO Doc 9432:
"All numbers used in the transmission of altitude, cloud height, visibility and runway visual range (RVR) information, which contain whole hundreds and whole thousands, shall be transmitted by pronouncing each digit in the number of hundreds or thousands follow by the word HUNDRED or THOUSAND as appropriate".

Germany does this, "cleared flight level two hundred".
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:09
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Hold on. FL 200 is the same in the US as it is in Europe. So it should not be difficult for anyone to understand what is being meant, no matter where you are from. Especially if you had to make a hop across the pond to end up in Ireland, the PIC surely was thouroughly familiar with the TA/TL system.
This was my WTF moment of the day. Thanks.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:12
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No, he couldn't have been a North American pilot precisely because of the above. No NA pilot will use flight level for such low altitudes.
Not so it would seem. The report states:
The Pilot in Command of N1310H was based in the United States.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:12
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No, he couldn't have been a North American pilot precisely because of the above. No NA pilot will use flight level for such low altitudes.
Well, on the grapevine he was indeed an American pilot. Apparently, it was flying a charter so a commercial operation/FAR135.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 08:46
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& of course over Kashmir Fl is on QNH.
Would be nice if their was some commonality.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 09:06
  #33 (permalink)  
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Not sure what was the level of automation on this 125 , but this could also be a ergonomic error in setting the FL in a box or a display of some kind.

Could have been one pilot doing the R/T and the other entering the figures.
so the immediate read back FL200 is correct because done by same individual right after the transmission but if the other enter 020 i.s.o. 200 , and not cross- checked , that could explain the later transmissions : "which level are you climbing to ? : PIC reading the display : FL020 ... ( as in the report page 4 )

Speculating of course.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 09:28
  #34 (permalink)  
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I learned to fly international in Africa and South America, sitting in Diesel Tens beside fossils from the stone age who had come up in the trash-hauling business.

They always, ALWAYS, knew what their MSA was. And woe be unto you if you didn't.....
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 09:43
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They always, ALWAYS, knew what their MSA was. And woe be unto you if you didn't.....
That is so basic and vital that it's worth repeating
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 10:20
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Originally Posted by Consol
I have flown both corporate jets and large jet transports and find myself troubled by apparent low levels of experience and ability that seems to permeate the corporate sector...
I'm not sure this type of generalisation is helpful. You say "the corporate sector", but you fail to clarify whether you're referring to corporate flight departments, or just any non-scheduled aircraft. Of course, the latter includes non-scheduled commercial air transport operators and private operators.

However, in general, I agree with you and there is value in having the conversation. In a multi crew environment, where was the monitoring to trap this error? Discipline is often lacking in non-scheduled operations and I believe this to be from a number of factors. Smaller operators lack the resources to adequately analyse incidents and develop robust defences, whilst also lacking the resources to mine available incident data from other operators. Familiarity breeds poor discipline and relaxing of SOPs, which must be guarded against. A poor understanding of the benefits of a robust SOP culture and cockpit discipline is often accompanied by general disdain for scheduled CAT operations where "they only use the autopilot and can't really fly." Finally, a lack of competitiveness seems to breed less hungry FOs. Having been involved in command training in airlines, FOs were motivated to acquire the relevant regulatory and systems knowledge independently. I don't see that as the default situation in non-scheduled transport, where the environment is less disciplined. Couple this with the many flights consisting of two commanders switching seats between legs and it is an area where groups such as the IBAA or EBAA need to start a discussion.

These are my general observations, and there are exceptions i.e. private operators of one or two aircraft who are well drilled and exceedingly disciplined, or larger corporate operators who must have non-scheduled standard SOPs to cater for frequent different pairings of crew.

Finally, I know certain members here such as Pace favour the FAA system over the EASA system, being a pilot of an N-Reg with only an FAA licence. Do not forget that each ICAO member state has sovereignty over the airspace over their territory. Whatever the regulations and standards, it's our jobs as professionals to be current with applicable regulation, not argue the merits of different systems as though this somehow defends ignorance.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 10:57
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When one flies out of its own state/country,one should be familiar with rules/regulations/phraseology differences along the route.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 11:07
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Journey Man

A well written piece which in principal I agree with but I equally add that there are cockups in CAT too even with all the inbuilt safeguards

It may surprise you to know as it surprised the CAA too but statistically private jets flown by professional crew have a better safety record than equivalent in AOC operations.

I am sure that is nothing to do with better pilots but more to do with private jets being treated like a beloved private car with the same chauffeur

But on the whole I agree with the gist of your sentiments

Yes I went the FAA way with an ATP as that was where historically private jets were in Europe and it was perfectly legitimate to work them in Europe for far longer than the EU has existed. My other sentiments are more political and I firmly believe EASA missed a golden opportunity of harmonising aviation world wide

The FAA system is tried and tested and universally the most used model worldwide. As aviation knows no barriers from a safety angle it makes every sense that we all used the same regulation structure so that there is no room for errors going from one continent to another.
Going forward people are becoming more no barriers in movement for work too and in future pilots should be able to take work simply in different parts of the globe

EASA could have been more forward thinking and developed a system more towards the FAA system with some changes to suit Europe but that would not have secured the longevity of their department size, their lavish pay structures and benefits and so they decided to reinvent the wheel something they were warned about years ago by the commission.

i have been flying 30 accident free years plus so it won't make a massive difference to me other than I will stop flying a few years earlier faced with the costs and time in converting to holding licenses which have no bearing on the reg I fly. That will be a cost /time decision I will need to make depending on how things pan out.
But that doesn't change my opinion on the ridiculousness of the whole thing and taking things off topic

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 20th Apr 2016 at 11:24.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 11:10
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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I don't fly IFR below SA. If someone tells/asks me to do so, I ask them why? I did it the other week at a UK airfield which gave me a climb out restriction below SA; I kindly declined and chose to stay on the ground.
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Old 20th Apr 2016, 11:21
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Like Cows getting bigger, I have refused a clearance below safety altitude and stayed on the ground until it was changed. I also agree with Journey Man that each sovereign state 'owns' its own airspace and can decided the rules which govern it - therefore, it is our business as pilots to know these rules.

However, I have long been an advocate of a common transition altitude across the whole of Europe, either 18,000ft, as in the States, or 15,000ft (it doesn't really matter which) as a means of reducing yet one more source of error.
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