davescj
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sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:50 pm

I hope this is the right forum. If not - moderators, please move it for me.

As I understand the rule, the sterile cockpit rule comes into effect at about 10K feet. How is that rule adapted for high altitude airports (I'm thinking like La Paz where you're already at 13K or Mexico City, where you're already at 7300ft.

Would it change to 10k from take off?

Thanks all!

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
zuckie13
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:18 am

For airlines, they typically set the altitude where sterile cockpit ends as part of their operating procedures for an airport like those. Would take into account things like making sure you are above nearby mountain peaks before you relax.

Of course, if you're flying to La Paz, I'd be more worried about whether the pilot got enough oxygen rather than the sterile cockpit....
 
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Florianopolis
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:56 am

The only African airline I'm familiar with (hubbed at JNB, elev 5,500) set their sterile cockpit at 15,000
 
ILUV767
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:46 pm

10,000' above field elevation
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:13 am

zuckie13 wrote:
For airlines, they typically set the altitude where sterile cockpit ends as part of their operating procedures for an airport like those. Would take into account things like making sure you are above nearby mountain peaks before you relax.

Of course, if you're flying to La Paz, I'd be more worried about whether the pilot got enough oxygen rather than the sterile cockpit....


I've never heard of setting altitude where sterile cockpit ends. I'm not sure where such an altitude would be set. Altitude is set on departure to the first assigned altitude; that's the altitude limit, and on arrival, it's set in the altitude alerter as the altitude to which the flight is cleared.

A 10,000' reference for sterile cockpit is regulatory, but most professional crews will observe a sterile cockpit all the way down

The altitude references that you maybe thinking of when arriving and departing are the transition altitude and transition level; altitudes at which the altimeter is changed to a common reference going up, and the local altimeter setting on the way down.

Sterile cockpit is more than a specific policy it's a practice when conducting terminal operations, when crews focus on flying the airplane and excluding distractions. It exists for good reason. I've never been with an operator or on a crew in which anybody ever said "it's 10,000, sterile cockpit." We all understand. We're practicing it as a crew often well prior to that point and well above it and almost always from the time we leave the enroute structure on the way down, or until we're established in the enroute structure on the way up.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:21 pm

As Mr. 747Whale says, "Sterile Cockpit" is good practice, not just a specific policy. Yes, it is spelled out in the ops manual, but a good crew will use common sense and err on the side of caution.

- Wide awake on the approach at your home port on a clear day, and some random airline you've never heard of makes a weird comment on the radio? Of course there will be some smiles in the cockpit, but focus is on the task.
- Tired and flying a complex approach to an airport none of you have been before in low viz ops? Keep the chatter to "operationally essential only".
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Canuck600
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:15 am

Aren't all heights like missed approached, sterile cockpit calculated as above ground level agl? as opposed to above sea level which is the height that op is using?
 
thepinkmachine
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:31 am

In one of my previous airlines, if you were operating into high altitude airport, sterile cockpit was belo 18000’. For normal airports it was 10000.

Then again, this was Asia, so they needed to have everything written down in their manuals.

As others said the bottom line is not to get distracted during critical phases of flight. A little common sense goes a long way...
"Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis - and I still have my hands on the wheel…"
 
Avgeek21
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:31 am

Straight from our manual; "Sterile flight deck is in effect from closing of the flight deck door for taxi-out through 10,000 ft AAL on climb, and from 10,000 ft AAL on descent until engine shutdown on taxi-in."

So you take note of the aerodrome elevation, setup the FMC CLB or DESC page accordingly and voila. So now you have 2 reminders. 1 when the aircraft starts accelerating/decelerating and 2 you as a pilot have to remember when it's 10,000 AAL. If you forget the other guy will hopefully remember it. At high elevation airports it is paramount you manage your energy.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:45 am

Canuck600 wrote:
Aren't all heights like missed approached, sterile cockpit calculated as above ground level agl? as opposed to above sea level which is the height that op is using?


No.

Most altitudes are altitudes above sea level.
 
Canuck600
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:54 am

Thanks for the correction 747Whale
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:24 am

Just to clarify...Altitudes on instrument approaches, at least the minimum altitude, is expressed in both height above sea level and height above the ground. For example, the minimum altitude on approach might be 1357', which is above sea level, or the altitude seen on the altimeter when set to the local altimeter setting QNH. On the approach chart, in parenthesis next to that altitude, will be a reference to the height above the threshold, (200), and on the airport diagram, the threshold altitude (1157). Also included will be the TCH or threshold crossing height, which is a value in feet that is important to know, because certain aircraft require a certain minimum for landing gear clearance. The published minimums will be height above sea level, but for radio altitude purposes, also height above runway. It's important to note height above the threshold vs. simply height above ground, because the terrain approaching the runway may not be at the same elevation.

If flying in Russia, while most locations will give QNH (altimeter adjusted to local setting to height above sea level), the primary altimeter setting in Russia is not QNH, but a value that should cause the altimeter to read zero on touchdown (QFE). Most operators don't use that, and specifically request QNH for standardization. UK also utilizes this for some operations.
 
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zeke
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:31 am

Canuck600 wrote:
Aren't all heights like missed approached, sterile cockpit calculated as above ground level agl?


One would think they would unnecessary if one were flying below ground level.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
Canuck600
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:06 pm

No need to be a dick when somebody asks a question.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:14 pm

I believe his comment was one of humor and irony.

The low altitude record is tied.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:45 pm

747Whale wrote:
I believe his comment was one of humor and irony.

The low altitude record is tied.


The low altitude MSL record is debatable. According to squadron gossip, F-105s out of George AFB did fly at 50ft AGL over Death Valley in the early 70's before Ranger Rick started enforcing the 3000 ft military restriction. Seeing a negative number (needle) on the altimeter was a notch in their accomplishments. I also heard several Naval Aviators used to do the same thing in the Salton Sea area. I'm sure there are also several general aviation pilots who have done the same thing.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:32 pm

You missed the point.

The low altitude record is very much tied, and they're all dead.

Do you understand?
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:55 pm

747Whale wrote:
You missed the point.

The low altitude record is very much tied, and they're all dead.

Do you understand?

If you're referring to my post, of course I understand. You're being a little sarcastic (no problem with that) but you're talking AGL. I'm talking MSL.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:01 pm

It's not low altitude until you're looking up at power lines.
 
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zeke
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:43 pm

RetiredWeasel wrote:

The low altitude MSL record is debatable. According to squadron gossip, F-105s out of George AFB did fly at 50ft AGL over Death Valley in the early 70's before Ranger Rick started enforcing the 3000 ft military restriction. Seeing a negative number (needle) on the altimeter was a notch in their accomplishments. I also heard several Naval Aviators used to do the same thing in the Salton Sea area. I'm sure there are also several general aviation pilots who have done the same thing.


Aircraft operating out of MTZ operate at around 1200 ft below MSL, but not below ground level.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:59 pm

zeke wrote:
RetiredWeasel wrote:

The low altitude MSL record is debatable. According to squadron gossip, F-105s out of George AFB did fly at 50ft AGL over Death Valley in the early 70's before Ranger Rick started enforcing the 3000 ft military restriction. Seeing a negative number (needle) on the altimeter was a notch in their accomplishments. I also heard several Naval Aviators used to do the same thing in the Salton Sea area. I'm sure there are also several general aviation pilots who have done the same thing.


Aircraft operating out of MTZ operate at around 1200 ft below MSL, but not below ground level.


Then I guess those aircraft might hold the negative MSL record. On a cool day, takeoff performance should be pretty good also as long as thrust wasn't limited due to the density altitude.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:59 pm

Good policy.

There's typically a significant drag increase when operating subterranian.
 
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zeke
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:12 am

747Whale wrote:
Good policy.

There's typically a significant drag increase when operating subterranian.


Environmentally better to operate above ground level, smaller pollution and noise footprint.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:27 am

Florianopolis wrote:
The only African airline I'm familiar with (hubbed at JNB, elev 5,500) set their sterile cockpit at 15,000


You're forgetting about ADD, the hub for Ethiopian Airlines, which is 7,625 feet above sea level.
 
747Whale
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Re: sterile cockpit - high altitude airports question

Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:04 am

zeke wrote:

Environmentally better to operate above ground level, smaller pollution and noise footprint.


Considerably easier on paint, too.

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