"Current Altimeter Low"

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  • "Current Altimeter Low"

    I heard "Homer Current Altimeter Low at 2870" from Anchorage Center. This is the first time I've heard the "Low" phraseology given with an altimeter setting. It's most likely not new, but I couldn't find any reference to it. Of course I probably wasn't looking in the correct place. ROFL
    I'm not sure how the Anchorage Center sectors are divided but it sounded like the lady working the sector had a sector that included both high and low altitude aircraft.
    It was training day at KDAL yesterday. The controller (trainee) was talking fast, things started getting interesting, then a calm voice steps in for a couple second, things smooth out, and back to the training.
    Maybe Mr. Butler can give some insight into the phraseology and Anchorage Center sector make ups.


    Grace and Peace,
    “Slicks Are for Kids with Balls”

  • #2
    I heard "Homer Current Altimeter Low at 2870" from Anchorage Center. This is the first time I've heard the "Low" phraseology given with an altimeter setting. It's most likely not new, but I couldn't find any reference to it. Of course I probably wasn't looking in the correct place. ROFL
    I'm not sure how the Anchorage Center sectors are divided but it sounded like the lady working the sector had a sector that included both high and low altitude aircraft.
    My Alaska experience is 25 years old, but "low" was in wide use then. There's no guidance for the use of that phraseology, but it was useful and nobody ever gave it a second thought. Alaska is the only place I've ever heard it - no doubt because it's the only state I've worked that had such low altimeter settings - also lots of days near 31.00.

    When I worked at Kodiak tower, circa 1990, the center controller saying "Markair 44 cleared ILS Runway 25 approach to Kodiak" was the same controller saying "Northwest 6 Heavy, maintain flight level 330, report Marlo". The center frequency there was 125.1, and Kodiak tower had plenty of opportunity to talk to NOPAC flights that tuned 121.5 instead. "Sorry about that Kodiak. Any bears down there today?"

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    • #3
      Todd,

      Thanks for the reply.

      Grace and Peace,
      “Slicks Are for Kids with Balls”

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      • #4
        Makes sense to me. People flying in to Alaska from elsewhere might not expect a reading in the 28s, and so misunderstand and get it wrong. Hearing "28" and setting "29" could be serious, given terrain, cold temps, and poor visibility. Descending to negative AGL is considered bad form.
        Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Todd Alfes View Post

          My Alaska experience is 25 years old, but "low" was in wide use then. There's no guidance for the use of that phraseology, but it was useful and nobody ever gave it a second thought. Alaska is the only place I've ever heard it - no doubt because it's the only state I've worked that had such low altimeter settings - also lots of days near 31.00.

          When I worked at Kodiak tower, circa 1990, the center controller saying "Markair 44 cleared ILS Runway 25 approach to Kodiak" was the same controller saying "Northwest 6 Heavy, maintain flight level 330, report Marlo". The center frequency there was 125.1, and Kodiak tower had plenty of opportunity to talk to NOPAC flights that tuned 121.5 instead. "Sorry about that Kodiak. Any bears down there today?"
          Todd -- Was "low" intended to highlight the low setting, or that it was intended to be used by aircraft in the low sector (and given the setting, the aircraft in that sector below FL200) that the controller may have been working along with a high sector?

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          • #6
            "Low" was used to highlight the altimeter setting - anything starting with 28.

            If I mentioned that phraseology in Michigan, my coworkers would look at me like I was crazy - or if I said "snow machine", but I digress.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Todd Alfes View Post
              "Low" was used to highlight the altimeter setting - anything starting with 28.

              If I mentioned that phraseology in Michigan, my coworkers would look at me like I was crazy - or if I said "snow machine", but I digress.
              Todd -- Interesting. Seems odd that the practice developed....28.xx isn't going to be confused with 38.xx or anything like that. But it is low!

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