OK but for those of us who fly at much lower levels what is the possible effect for GA? thanks
This would be great although best if followed across Europe.
What's the benefit? I always liked the fact that flight levels start low in Germany (5000ft or 6000ft depending on QNH). It's much more convenient to forget about altimeter settings and do everything with 1013hPa.
I don't see the immediate advantage of a higher vs. a lower TA. TA itself does not imply anything in terms of controlled or uncontrolled airspace.
I rather like Europe's rather low TAs. On longer cross country flights (normally above TA), you can just set 1013 and forget about it for hours. if you were below TA, you would have to reset the altimeter(s) with every new ATC sector. This implies adjusting the AP as well (depending on the model).
P.S. Wow...as I typed this, Achim's post wasn't "live" yet... two men, one thought...
Ask yourself how it works in the USA.
it is also a higher workload for ATC to radio the regional QNH to every newcomer on the frequency - I think it is no progress ...
For me, this seems simpler. No varying transition altitudes all over the place, and airspace boundaries under 18,000 ft will all be delineated by altitude and not mixed with flight levels. I can handle changing QNH every now and then. But then I don't do long trips and I am generally VFR OCAS so maybe that's why it's just good for me.
I've never flown above a transition altitude, and may never, but with that said I'd offer the following
1) If TA is 18,000 feet the entire (somewhat complex) Transition Altitude concept is eliminated for most pilots and their charts. Plus, the terminology surrounding multiple types of altimeter settings is essentially 'gone from the dictionary'. I think its good when you can eliminate another complexity in aviation.
2) When flying without TA as a consideration, you update your altimeter setting now and again, but when you do it you either (a) have ready access to the data when you need it, typically from ATIS when approaching an airport to land or (b) its not urgent. Conversely, when crossing TA regularly, you need the altimeter data at that time and must reset it at that time... if you remember.
3) Whenever this discussion arises, people comment that controller work load will increase. I would reply that I almost never get an altimeter setting directly from a human, instead I get it from ATIS or ASOS. From pattern altitude at my field I could tune in maybe six sources of automated altimeter data. In a busy area I see that as basic infrastructure.
4) Life is simple when every single aircraft of concern is flying on the same altimeter setting, and its the same setting that was used to mark terrain on charts.
My two cents
I always assumed the TA was related to the highest terrain in the country....the US has the Rockies at ca. 14,000'+ (although Mt McKinley in Alaska is >20k')....Australia has a 10,000' TA and the highest terrain is ca. 7,300'....in the UK the TA is generally 3,000' (although 6,000' in Scotland) and the highest peak is ca. 4,000'.....On that basis the 18,000' TA standardized across Europe makes sense given the Alps...presumably it is safer to know your actual altitude when close to the tops of these peaks....above that it is probably more important that everyone is at the same level