crossing restriction

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Hello Ray

                   When returning to some airports, particularly near side approaches, at the specified flight level , usually 11000 feet I am often accused of missing

a crossing restriction and given an undesired vector. I say unable, ATC then says "I'll go to plan B" and request "best rate of descent" ....to an unstated level.

It then appears to go into a loop and babbles on until eventually instructing freq. change to approach when I can then regain some sort of control.

What is happening here ?......most irritating !


David Ireland

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Posted (edited)

Hi David,

There’s no such thing as a Flight Level of 11,000. That would put you in Earth’s orbit. 😉

Firstly, is it 11,000ft or FL110? If you’re flying in European airspace it will be the latter, not the former. You should be on STD pressure, not QNH.

However, if flying in the US the Transition Altitude is 18,000ft so it will be 11,000ft, not FL110, and you should be on QNH.

There’s a very simple rule. If you’re ordered to descend to a Flight Level keep on STD pressure. If it’s an altitude, QNH rules.

If you miss the crossing restriction you’re normally given a heading 90 degrees off your current one to burn off altitude but providing you stick to the above rule you should never hear that instruction again.

Edited by Ray Proudfoot

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Although not recommended, if you are almost at your requested altitude, ignore the "request" and continue descending ATC will then continue as normal. But you will still get a raspberry from them in the report afterwards. 

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Hmm.......thanks for the comments Gents.

Perhaps I should have expressed myself more clearly......

When I said Flight Level I meant " level to fly at as instructed by ATC" 

Any licenced Pilot knows when to use a flight altitude expressed as QNH or as a Flight Level ........

The latter is used when above the Transition Altitude, QNH is used below the TA.

As Ray says, the TA is always 18000ft above mean sea level in North America, nearly always 6000 ft  amsl under

EASA (European) flight rules. EASA is aiming to standardize the TA across the Eurocontrol area...

it may have happened by now.......my EASA PPL is a few years old.

If there is a problem with the way RC4 handles descents to Approach handover

in Europe (my experience is its OK in North America)....that problem might lie in the different

definition of the Transition. (TA)

I will experiment further.........we all aim for "as real as it gets" don't we ?

If I get what  I consider to be a daft or unreasonable instruction I ignore it or find a way around it if I can...

Safe Pilots golden priority rules .........aviate...navigate....communicate....and if confusion reigns.....


Regards to all




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David, there was nothing in your first post to suggest you had a PPL.

Transition Altitudes vary all over Europe. EHAM is 3000ft, EGLL 6000ft. Those are stored in one of the files in the data folder. I haven’t heard about standardisation of Transition Altitudes and I listen to Manchester ATC. In any case it won’t change RC4.

If you get a daft instruction it’s probably because you've done something daft. 😉

RC4 was developed with the input of real-world AT Controllers from the US and here in the U.K. It works fine if people follow the rules and the 40nm rule that you should be at the instructed altitude / FL is one you cannot break.

EFB v2 allows you to draw a distance circle x miles from the arrival airport. That is very helpful in ensuring you get down in time.

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