Readytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 4278 posts, RR: 2 Posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3806 times:
This piece in the Sundaytimes travel section today.
"Airline pilots have reacted with alarm to news that the minimum safe distance between aircraft using African airspace has been halved,bringing it into line with other regions of the world.The implementation of the Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) effectively means that aircraft can now pass within 1,000ft of each other at altitudes from 29,000 - 41,000ft. "It's a matter of standardisation" says the CAA,explaining that Africa is one of the last regions in the world to introduce RVSM. "In the past, altimeters weren't as accurate as they are now.These days instruments allow a narrower margin of error."
Pilots however are not convinced that all the 180 plus airlines operating out of Africa have instruments that are sufficiently accurate - or that airlines not correctly equipped WILL stay below 29,000ft.
"In theory,airlines using old DC-9s older 737s and stripped out Russian planes should now be banned from operating between 29,000 - 41,000ft, says South African pilot Nick de Vries.
"But flying low burns more fuel.These guys will be up there,whizzing along without a clue how far they really are from the aircraft flying above or below them - especially at night. I'll be dimming the cockpit lights and keeping a good lookout."
Is this news media hype, or should we be concerned?
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Flexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3800 times:
I can understand the concern.
I have always been a little worried flying over Africa to begin with. I mean I wouldn't trust most of the African countries to properly organize even a street intersection so I have serious doubts about their ATC capabilities.
PITIngres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1337 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3784 times:
There was a bunch of hand-wringing on this subject over at pprune. I'd say that the opinions were fairly evenly divided between it making accidents more likely and less likely. The more-likely camp points to inaccurate instrumentation or undisciplined flying, and the less-likely camp says that it will make each level less crowded with less chance of a mid-air. Who knows? My guess is that the change is unlikely to make things drastically worse, and might possibly make the airspace marginally safer. I certainly wouldn't panic over it. (Any of the seriously incompetent flyers probably can't find a 2000 foot level either.)
Prior to the implementation of RVSM, it was a big issue. Having flown in/out/through Africa, in the days where there was 4000' separation on the same direction there was concern for worry, and that was merely an ATC issue.
Not that there's 2000' separation on the same direction and 1000' opposite direction, I personally feel there is an increased cause for concern. Additionally,the maintenance standards while on paper are very stringent, in reality the standards are rarely enforced, especially when it comes to internal flights.
Again, just an opinion from someone who has flown there too many times.
In addition, all exterior lights on and acute awareness on the radio to have a good situational awareness of all the traffic around you and crossing your route. Finally, have a good look outside at all times.
Wow, that document is really interesting. I guess flying over Africa is more VFR than IFR afterall!
Sometimes even at cruising altitude there's high clouds impairing visibility. I suppose you would try to avoid them at all costs over Africa?
Agreed. There are certain parts of the world where I use it every time. Along with aggressive self annoucing. Although head on closure rates may exceed 10 miles per minute, see and and be seen still seems to rule the day.
Soku39 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1797 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3424 times:
Quoting Flexo (Reply 6): Wow, that document is really interesting. I guess flying over Africa is more VFR than IFR afterall!
There might be VFR stuff below 10,000 feet, but airlines and other scheduled operations are all on IFR flight plans, and that's who we're talkin about. There's not to much see and avoid with 700+ knot close in rates.
411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3390 times:
Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 11): Sounds like Hajj flying! Been there done that, no thanks. Flying down to JNB is bad enough. I think flying E/W across Africa is about the most dangerous flying in the world.
Yes indeed, been doing it for years.
Quite frankly, I have not had any problems...perhaps because I have the First Officer/Flight Engineer do all the work, while I read the newspaper and puff on my Havana cigar.
Oddly enough, however, I was listening on 11,300 one night, and here comes Eqypt Air, CAI to JNB, in an A340 (I think) and he was told by Khartoum to descend for crossing traffic. He says NEGATIVE, and I think he turned OFF his radio, as they did not come up on KRT VHF like they were supposed to.
SW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6539 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2887 times:
Quoting Ryu2 (Reply 15): Is ATC comms in Africa all in English or do they sometimes, use, eg French or Arabic as well in countries where those languages are spoken?
From my experiences, it's like the rest of the world...English is the default, but sometimes you get some folks who don't follow the rules. Africa is kind of like Europe, in that there are several different official languages going on (down by me you have Afrikaans and Oshiwambo, in Angola you have Portuguese, Botwana/Zimbabwe has English, South Africa has...everything), but you also have an incredible amount of tribal languages which Europe, for the most part, does not. So the need for a universal language is even more important, but again, not everyone follows the rules (especially domestic flight, say a Port-Gentil to Libreville flight in Gabon, where French may be spoken between ATC/Pilot)