Maximum elevation figure

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Not to be confused with Area Minimum Altitude.
MEF's of 4700 and 3300 feet are shown on this excerpt from the FAA's Los Angeles sectional aeronautical chart.

Maximum elevation figure or MEF is the a type of VFR altitude which indicates the height of the highest feature within a quadrangle area. It is of interest to pilots, who want to be aware of the highest mountain peaks and tall towers nearby, so that they can fly above them to avoid controlled flight into terrain. ("Features" includes terrain, trees, towers, and other obstacles.) In a VFR context, this altitude is commonly referred to as a "quadrantal altitude" (not to be confused with an IFR minimum sector altitude or "quadrantal" altitude.)

Unlike the Minimum safe altitude used for IFR flight, the MEF does not include any margin for aircraft clearance above the terrain nor for altimeter error.[1]

In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration issues sectional charts. Each rectangular area covering one degree of latitude and one degree of longitude is divided into four smaller areas called quadrangles (in accordance with the Georef system), each spanning half a degree of latitude and half a degree of longitude. Each quadrangle has its MEF printed in it in thousands and hundreds of feet above mean sea level. For example, 105, means that the highest elevation is 10,500 feet within that quadrangle.

MEFs are determined by taking the point of highest elevation within a quadrangle, adding 100 feet for vertical error, then adding the height of the highest obstacle in the quadrangle or 200 feet, whichever is higher, then rounding up to the next hundred feet.[2]

Canadian VNCs[edit]

The MEF on Canadian VFR Navigation Charts is calculated by taking the higher value of:

  • the top elevation of the highest obstacle plus the vertical accuracy (a variable number of feet) of the terrain source data; or
  • the elevation of the highest terrain plus 328 feet plus the vertical accuracy variable of the terrain source data.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION CIRCULAR 26/11 VFR NAVIGATION CHARTS—CLARIFICATION OF THE MAXIMUM ELEVATION FIGURE
  2. ^ "Explanation of VFR Terms and Symbols". Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  3. ^ AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION CIRCULAR 26/11 VFR NAVIGATION CHARTS—CLARIFICATION OF THE MAXIMUM ELEVATION FIGURE


See Also[edit]

Minimum safe altitude (for IFR flight), including Area Minimum Altitudes (AMAs)

External links[edit]