View Full Version : How to tell a contacts altitude from a distance?

01-06-2007, 01:04 PM
Okay here's something I've been wondering... how do you guys tell a contacts altitude from a distance... for example... "2 contacts 10 o'clock high at 6000ft"

When I'm flying and I spot contacts I've no clue about their altitudes... I only know if they're above or below my altitude.

So if you guys have some method or tips for me to practise I'd be grateful http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

maybe someone could make me a picture from the cockpit view and mark the co-alt. and then maybe a thousand ft above and below if possible... I realize that this has a lot to do with the distance of the contacts in relation to my aircraft as well... so pick a distance... just as long as they're dots http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

thanks for all help in advance http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


01-06-2007, 01:12 PM
When I fly I simply give an estimation. If he is around the same altitude that my gun sight is when flying straight, I say he is level. Anything above is higher alt, and below is lower.

As far as telling how high or low he is, I simply estimate using my own alt.

I can't really give tips for it, as I think it is something that just comes with experience.

01-06-2007, 01:44 PM
What mex posted is good estimation practice I think.

Exact altitude is not so important and I use to say above, below or at cloud level to simplify even more.
More important is to try to estimate 'where' the enemy is. What grid if possible. Also here it's good with simplifications as ' enemy 2K (2km altitude) above target'.
Even to just say 'enemy high over target' is good, so friendlies know they are there.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


01-06-2007, 02:17 PM
I do what Mex says as well.... I look at m own alt and depending on how much above or below mw I place my estimate.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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01-06-2007, 05:34 PM
Usually I get out my sextant,dividers and slide rule, then use a very in depth formula to calculate the height of the bogie to within 5Km give or take a few Km.

Of course as you can imagine this all takes time and more often than not I get bounced and flamed during this process.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/mockface.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


01-06-2007, 06:20 PM
Always use your own altitude as a reference. Look at the artificial horizon and guestimate if they're above or below. How much is a case of experience. Don't use the gunsight for reference or a place in a distance which you think is the horizon. Always read from instruments and compare altitudes from there. It's the most accurate way.

BB<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


01-06-2007, 07:06 PM
I like to use radar.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


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01-06-2007, 08:19 PM
ONe thing they forgot:

On your way up after take-off to your altitude, note what altitude the cloud tops and bottoms are at, that gives you one more hint for the alt of a bogie. Of course it may be better to say "just above, or just below clouds". Or "halfway between clouds and deck. If they leave a vapor trail then they are at 7000m or above, another clue for the clueless.

01-07-2007, 02:59 AM
okay then, thanks for the replies guys http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I had thought that maybe there were some estimates that some of you used like on maps a certain measurement equals a certain distance.

like let's say you're flying a 109 and you spot a contact that is 2 cm above what is roughly your co-alt... and those 2 cm would maybe equal 500 meters. something like that...

or if you have a contact in the distance and it's just below your top canopy frame, that would be 500 meters above you... and even more below would be 300 meters etc... do you guys use any visual references from the cockpit like that?<div class="ev_tpc_signature">