Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Near CFIT because PIC didn't understand FL

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Near CFIT because PIC didn't understand FL

Old 22nd Apr 2016, 14:33
  #81 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 361
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...a lack of understanding?

Originally Posted by Future Rodney King
To many pilots call passing FL..... climbing FL..... on hand over when still below transition. The correct read back should be passing altitude until you are above the transition using your standby altimeter for reference, a lack of understanding?
Subtle difference in the UK:

UK AIP ENR 1.7 paragraph 5.1.4 states ‘...when cleared for climb to a Flight Level, vertical position will be expressed in terms of Flight Level...’
https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33...ice2014004.pdf

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadba...2016-03-31.pdf
Journey Man is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 14:50
  #82 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: India
Age: 85
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
+TSRA
May be this pilot needs a quadruple channel computer to handle his 'levelling off'. By the way what is a 'highly professional easy mistake' ?
mayam13 is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 15:01
  #83 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
From thee report, as written by the pilot, it seems that they were not under the impression that FL200 would represent 2.000 ft, but they were unsure what their cleared level was and temporarirly levelled off at 2.000 ft to get clarification first.
This points out the additional possibility of numeric confusion over in the written domain. 2.000 ft is two feet where I come from (see: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19455-01...w-9/index.html). From context this is obviously not what you meant but it is another example of how ambiguities in expressing numerical quantities can bite us in the international flying business.

For years I've worked with a flight plan that has fuel in hundreds of pounds with no decimal on the flight plan, fuel in thousands of pounds with a decimal on the dispatch release and fuel in pounds on the ACARS performance printout.

I've had a fuel order of 2000 lbs. additional for weather pumped as 20000 lbs.(I purposely left out the numeric separator here ) more by a truck that was calibrated in liters. Not a big deal this time, we caught it on the crosscheck and didn't have a full load to begin with. We ended up tankering the extra fuel rather than going through a time consuming defueling process. I suspect the error was generated by decimal format confusion in the updated dispatch release and flight plan.

And, yes, like a lot of us, I've flown with fuel in kilos as well...
Airbubba is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 16:29
  #84 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Subtle difference in the UK:
Excerpted from a list in one of the documents you linked:

The following hazards can and do result in a level bust:

• Low transition altitude particularly where initial Standard Instrument Departure (SID) clearance is to a flight level.

• Periods of high cockpit workload – take-off and climb, SIDs particularly with a stepped climb.
Those low transition altitudes in the UK combined with complex departure procedures are absolutely spring loaded to screw up in my opinion. I know it's a case of NIH, Not Invented Here, but I would hope that someday the UK will raise the transition altitude to something that is more user friendly to large aircraft. And, have more 'maintain runway heading or as assigned, climb to FL200' procedures. We promise we won't level off at 2000 feet next time.

In the U.S. many pilots choose to never fly internationally and often the training is based almost totally on domestic procedures.

Usually, by the time you get to 18,000 feet things have calmed down and its unlikely that you would both miss the transition so what's the problem, right? In recent years the feds seem to have required more realistic sim training for those of us who fly internationally.

Over the years I've seen many procedures for altimetry approaching transition level or altitude.

One procedure is for both pilots to wait until transition altitude to switch to QNE. Another is for both pilots to set QNE when cleared to climb above the transition altitude. And, a third is for one pilot to set QNE when cleared above transition altitude and the other to stay on QNH temporarily just in case ATC asks for altitude passing (and not level passing ).

Add the fact that some procedures include the standby altimeter which in the past may or may not have been 'corrected' (I think it means they didn't work well up high). And most autopilots will level on the captain's altimeter but with some procedures it's the pilot flying's indication that the autopilot sees.

And, in the case of a low transition altitude with and initial SID clearance to a flight level, for a while we were able to optionally set QNE before departure as a 'strategy of threat mitigation'. Then someone observed that our performance data and noise profiles were based on QNH altitudes.

Anyway, I'd rather be 400 feet off on the altitude passing call to ATC than on the level off so I tend to be proactive about setting QNE and QNH early.
Airbubba is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 19:07
  #85 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 22
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Absolutely.

Subtle difference in the UK:
Quote:
UK AIP ENR 1.7 paragraph 5.1.4 states ‘...when cleared for climb to a Flight Level, vertical position will be expressed in terms of Flight Level...
Unless... quote ENR 1.7

unless intermediate altitude reports have been specifically requested by Air Traffic Control.

Climbing in controlled airspace pilots will still reference an altimeter set to 1013 and read off a requested "passing altitude". Hope thats clearer?
Future Rodney King is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 20:21
  #86 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Weston Super Mare/UAE
Age: 60
Posts: 406
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know that earlier I mentioned being an altimetry pedant.....so, airbubba...QNE isnt the standard pressure setting, as you seem to imply. Rather, it is the altitude of the runway that would be read on the altimeter if standard were set....and is used if the pressure was either too low or too high to set on the altimeter.
captainsmiffy is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 20:33
  #87 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Weston Super Mare/UAE
Age: 60
Posts: 406
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In effect, the Flight level of the runway.....used if the actual pressure could not be set on the altimeter, which, if memory serves me is outside of 950 to 1050 mb.
captainsmiffy is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 21:18
  #88 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The foot of Mt. Belzoni.
Posts: 2,001
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
captainsmiffy,
that is how I always understood QNE. I never used it in 30 years of controlling in the U.K.
The first NATS 'fam flight' I ever did, was in the cockpit of a BEA Trident 3, in fact it was the same a/c that is now preserved at EGCC. Sitting behind the captain, as a newly-valid ATCO, I asked him what advice he could give me, to make his job that bit easier?
I remember him mentioning something along the lines of "always use the term 'flight level' when appropriate"........So I did, and passed that advice on to all the u/t ATCOs I met later on.
Much later on, The U.K. introduced the term 'degrees' for heading instructions, and 'altitude' for QHH-based level instructions. Both were initially a pain to keep saying on the R/T, but, hey, they seem to work.
Altimetry took up a fair bit of the ATC Technical Course, back in the 1980s. It still needs to be fully understood today, even with the technology we now have.
As has been stated above, as with every aspect of ATC......"If in doubt, just ask".
ZOOKER is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 21:41
  #89 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: downtown dustbowl
Age: 47
Posts: 274
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm probably going to end up in a crater because karma just plays it so. But I will venture out and say, even the slightest doubt on any radio transmissions and I will without fail ask for clarification in plain English if need be to ensure there is no discrepancy or doubt.

In a globalized world where we mingle with diverse cultures, miscommunication is a distinct and present threat we have to recognize and mitigate.

I have quite evidently annoyed local ATC at the end of a 12 hour duty day at 10am for repeated confirmations just because that particular situation warranted it. It is theirs and my job to ensure we get down safe. No matter what the perceived annoyances.
av8r76 is offline  
Old 22nd Apr 2016, 21:59
  #90 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I know that earlier I mentioned being an altimetry pedant.....so, airbubba...QNE isnt the standard pressure setting, as you seem to imply. Rather, it is the altitude of the runway that would be read on the altimeter if standard were set....and is used if the pressure was either too low or too high to set on the altimeter.
Thanks for the correction , folks have set us straight on this one before here on PPRuNe:

Sorry to be a bit pedantic, but QNE is not in fact an altimeter setting.
QNE is the elevation of the airfield (threshold?) when 1013.2 is set on the altimeter.
http://www.pprune.org/questions/6580...tml#post622468

I was trying to say when the altimeters are set to 'standard', i.e. 29.92 inHg or 1013.2 hPa.
Airbubba is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 11:05
  #91 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Northants
Posts: 692
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I struggle to see how the variations in transition altitude make any difference. If ATC tell me to climb to XXXX thousand feet, I climb to xxxx thousand feet on the QNH. If they tell me to climb to FL xxx, I set 1013 above accel altitude and climb to FL xxx. How is that difficult? If you're told to climb to FL xxx and you then level at xxxx feet on the QNH you've almost certainly got it wrong!
Flap62 is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 11:10
  #92 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 739
Received 19 Likes on 6 Posts
It is not impressive SA to level off in IMC below MSA because of an altimeter misunderstanding. Correct altimeter protocol is important but so is avoiding CFIT. When in doubt speak up!
olster is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 13:56
  #93 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seat 1A
Posts: 8,510
Received 58 Likes on 37 Posts
Why do some pilots feel the need for a Europe wide TA? Surely any transition altitude should form part of your pre departure brief serving to increase awareness of your SSA on departure.
Are you serious? "Keep it simple stupid!". Never flew there, but I couldn't think of anything worse... not only differing TAs but so low. What's the point? Get it up well above where you can at least get the machine cleaned up and comfortable before twiddling BARO settings...
Capn Bloggs is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 16:21
  #94 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Get it up well above where you can at least get the machine cleaned up and comfortable before twiddling BARO settings...
Absolutely. Some of those SID's in the UK have you take off on the local altimeter setting, start turning to several waypoints whilst [sic ] hitting altitude constraints like 4000 feet. You can't start cleaning up the aircraft other than raising the gear until 3000 feet AGL and just as you are retracting the flaps, leveling at 4000 and accelerating you get a frequency change and a climb unrestricted to a flight level above the transition altitude at, say, 5000 feet. We are professionals, it builds character, 'I used to fly that departure with NDB's on one receiver with raw data' etc., etc., etc...

But, does it really need to be that hard? At least raising the transition altitude would take one possible trap out of the initially busy departure procedure.
Airbubba is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 16:54
  #95 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 22
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are you serious? "Keep it simple stupid!
I am serious, and don't call me stupid.

Maybe we should make it easier for the likes of yourself?

At least raising the transition altitude would take one possible trap out of the initially busy departure procedure.
That maybe, but at the cost of a Europe wide redesign of airspace structure. I think not.
Future Rodney King is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 17:05
  #96 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: KGRB, but on the road about 1/2 the time.
Age: 61
Posts: 622
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I fly all over and never heard "Flight Level Two Hundred" (or three hundred). That would be a bit confusing.

I also don't like the "low" flight levels. I think Transition Altitude and/or Level in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania is 2,500'.
atpcliff is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2016, 19:18
  #97 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: last time I looked I was still here.
Posts: 4,507
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That maybe, but at the cost of a Europe wide redesign of airspace structure. I think not.

And what did the construction of the 'not quite so successful as it was conceived' Eurocontrol cost? But it's still there and has evolved and improved slowly. Cost investment now for long-term benefit often seems expensive. The amount of dosh swashing around in European aviation would swallow any such structural change if a hiccup.
RAT 5 is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2016, 00:18
  #98 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Where the Quaboag River flows, USA
Age: 71
Posts: 3,388
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
atpcliff,

Maybe you fly all over, but you haven't flown in the UK and much of Europe, if you haven't heard "FL Two Hundred".
galaxy flyer is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2016, 04:43
  #99 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seat 1A
Posts: 8,510
Received 58 Likes on 37 Posts
Maybe you fly all over, but you haven't flown in the UK and much of Europe, if you haven't heard "FL Two Hundred".
In the atipodes a few years ago, FL "two hundred" (and I think Heading "two hundred?) was introduced to reduce confusion. We possibly inherited it from some other country? In any case, we then changed back to "two zero zero".

I see that UK CAP 413 (2011 version) says:

d) When transmitting messages containing flight levels each digit shall be
transmitted separately. However, in an endeavour to reduce ‘level busts’ causedby the confusion between some levels (100/110, 200/220 etc.), levels which are whole hundreds e.g. FL100, 200, 300 shall be spoken as “Flight level (number) HUN DRED”. The word hundred must not be used for headings.
Originally Posted by Future Rodney King
I am serious, and don't call me stupid.

Maybe we should make it easier for the likes of yourself?
Rodney, we already have TA/TL as 100/110. It works well. Try it one day.
Capn Bloggs is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2016, 05:04
  #100 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Are you serious? "Keep it simple stupid!"
I am serious, and don't call me stupid.
As in :

Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.

Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.
Airplane! (1980) - Quotes - IMDb
Airbubba is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.