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RTC – MOD-03 – Pt.07 – QFE

QFE is the Barometric Pressure measured at a specific Datum (i.e. Runway Touchdown Zone, a Target etc) with no corrections applied.

It is most often used by military pilots for landing as the altimeter will read “Zero” on touchdown (simple eh?).

Additionally this allows for easy calculations for procedures that require certain actions at certain heights above the runway, as an example flaring at 30ft, DH of 200ft, DA of 400ft… All these heights would need to be converted for each individual airfield if you were using another pressure setting, such as using QNH or QNE Airfield Ops. 

QFE is only useful in the vicinity of the datum, where terrain (and Baro pressure IRL) changes as you get further away, “Zero” will no longer indicate the ground! As a guide it is only useful within 10nm from the datum but can be given further away by ATC providing they give you heights to fly at which are “Terrain Safe”.

Simply put QFE gives you your vertical distance above the datum.

Whilst using the QFE you should report your vertical distance as a HEIGHT.


“Descending to HEIGHT 3000ft”

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