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bkeske

How to determine what altitude to fly GA?

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I just read an Andrew Herd review that says most GA pilots fly at about 5000'.Is this correct?How do you determine what altitude to fly in say the Beech Baron?Obviously it is somewhat determined by the Alt you start out at and the max ceiling of the plane.Which GA planes in FSX have pressurized cabins?Thanks,Ron

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Check these out,This especially:http://www.seaartcc.net/general/events/pug...on%20VATSIM.pdfhttp://mbev.net/wikka/DraftedVFRhttp://www.laartcc.org/article_page/11Taken from the first link:"6. The altitude you choose should still follow the "hemispheric" rules, to help prevent collisions with traffic going the opposite direction. Whenever you are flying at 3000 feet AGL (above ground level) or higher, you should fly an odd thousand plus 500 feet (for example, 3500, 5500, 7500, etc.) when your magnetic course is between 0 and 179 degrees, and an even thousand plus 500 feet (forexample, 4500, 6500, 8500, etc.) when your magnetic course is between 180 and 359 degrees)"

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One factor in GA flying is temperature.It gets COLD up near 8-10,000 ft. Many small GA aircraft don't have very good heaters - especially older, affordable aircraft.Conversley heat can be an issue in the summer - very few small aircraft have airconditioners - and in Texas at least - flying low can be too warm to be comfortable.Another is the MSA - Minimum Safe Altitude - almost every VFR chart has the MSA marked for the different areas.One factor which FS almost totally ignores is restricted and prohibited areas. In Texas TFR's around the President's home and any key visit are something every pilot needs to watch for and avoid.In the US - MOA's military operating areas also have restrictions.These are marked in FS - but there are no limits or special clearance required to cross restricted air space.Flying above 10,000 is limited by smart pilots - you can't just hook up an oxygen bottle and fly a Mooney at 18K for four hours with some adverse impact. It's a complex area and one which pilots need to study if they plan to fly that high.http://www.aeromedix.com/aeromedix_articles/eox/index.htmlPressurized aircraft - you used to be able to tell by the windows. Small round windows were pressurized aircraft - and large square windows were non-pressurized. Pressurization is a very large, heavy, complex system to add to an aircraft - much more than just an air pump - but a major airframe modification also.Single engine - Cessna P210 - don't know of any others but I'm sure there are someTwin engine - Cessna Twins above the 310/320 series in most cases - some of the 337's were unpressurized, some pressurized. Piper had a pressurized Navajo.One of the great selling points of the Beech Duke - B-60 was that it was pressurized - a real sports car of a light twin.Of course all the turbo-prop twins are pressurized, but the Cessna Caravan is not. The Piper Meridian and TBM-700 are pressurized.I'm not aware of any pressurized piston aircraft currently in production of new airframes.The Beech Baron, Piper Seminole and Seneca are all unpressurized.

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Thanks for that enlightening info.So just for basics and assuming clear weather,is 5000 to 5500' agl for short flights and maybe 1000 under max ceiling when actually going somewhere like 100 miles plus close to realistic?Is there a place in FSX that gives specs like max ceiling for the GA?

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Look in the aircraft reference file.If you look at the information in the link above - many people have been talking about the impact of oxygen impariment at flight levels between 5,000 ft and 10,000 ft. Most people assume those altitudes are completely safe.But for many people - especially those with impaired lung function - it can be dangerous to deadly.Though of course granite clouds are also deadly.

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The 'rule of thumb' I was given when learning was MSA, + 1000ft for every 20 minutes flight time. Making allowances for semi-circular rule (or quadrantal here in the UK), airspace restrictions, oxygen requirement above 10,000ft (not that there are many places you can get above 10,000ft in a GA in the UK!) etc.

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I once heard a rule of thumb for pressurised aircraft was that the first two digits of the distance was your cruising flight level up to 25,000 feet. 180 NM, 18000 feet. 250 nm, 25000 feet.Best Regards, Donald T. :-waveFLYing? It's cool. Trillions of birds and insects can't be wrong.

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Out here, in the mountain west, 5000' msl is only a few hundred feet off the ground (at the low spots). Flights will be more in the 7000 to 12000' bracket with a lot of 8's & 9's.L.Adamson

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As far as I know, 5000' would be an IFR flight. VFR flights are 'thousands of feet plus 500' and IFR flights are just 'thousands of feet'. And then as already stated, 0 - 179 degress is 'odd thousands'(3000,5000,7000) and 180 - 359 degress is even thousands.There something about greater seperations when you get above a certain altitude but I dont know what those are. I think it starts jumping every 2000 feet above 18000' and then every 4000 feet at some higher altitude. I'm not a pilot so I dont know but there are plenty of pilots on here who would. It can get quite confusing.

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Thanks for all the input.I understand the thousand + 500 for VFR etc.I also was stating 5500 above ground level where I am flying.If that is the proper term.So,if you are going up for a little Sunday flight to nowhere in particular just flying at about what alt above ground level would most of you real pilots fly?Thanks,Ron

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I always try to fly the Baron at 5-6000 ft. because that is the altitude you get the optimum performance. Of course in the Western Us that is not possible and terrain always has to be taken into account as well as winds aloft. The highest I have had the Baron is 13,000 ft. and it is quite anemic up there...http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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I was hoping you would jump in here Geofa.So,anywhere between 3K and 12K is realistic?Ron

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