Flight Redemptions

What is TRANS in Aviation? (Transition)

Updated: February 26, 2024

The Importance of Transition in Aviation

Transition is a fundamental concept in aviation that plays a crucial role in various aspects of flight operations. From transitioning between different flight phases to transitioning from one altitude to another, this term encompasses a wide range of processes and procedures that are essential for safe and efficient flight. In this article, we will explore the significance of transition in aviation and delve into some of its key applications.

Transitioning Between Flight Phases

One of the primary applications of transition in aviation is the seamless movement between different flight phases. These phases include ground operations, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, and landing. Each phase requires a smooth transition to ensure the continuity and safety of the flight.

During the transition from ground operations to takeoff, pilots perform a series of checks and procedures to ensure that the aircraft is ready for flight. This involves verifying the engine parameters, conducting pre-flight inspections, and coordinating with air traffic control. Once all the necessary checks have been completed, the aircraft transitions into the takeoff phase, where it accelerates down the runway and lifts off into the sky.

Similarly, the transition from cruise to descent is a critical phase that requires careful planning and coordination. Pilots must calculate the optimal descent profile, taking into account factors such as air traffic control instructions, weather conditions, and fuel efficiency. As the aircraft begins its descent, the transition from cruise altitude to the desired descent altitude must be conducted smoothly to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the passengers.

Throughout these transitions, effective communication between the flight crew and air traffic control is essential. Pilots must accurately convey their intentions and comply with instructions to ensure a seamless transition between flight phases.

Transitioning Altitudes: The Transition Level and Transition Altitude

Another important aspect of transition in aviation revolves around transitioning altitudes. In aviation, the transition level and transition altitude are key concepts that determine when aircraft switch from using altimeter settings based on atmospheric pressure to using a standard pressure setting.

The Transition Level

The transition level is the altitude at which aircraft transition from using the local altimeter setting, which is based on atmospheric pressure, to using a standard pressure setting. This standard pressure is typically set to 1013.25 hectopascals or 29.92 inches of mercury. By transitioning to a standard pressure setting, pilots and air traffic control can ensure consistent altitude references regardless of the local atmospheric conditions.

The specific transition level varies depending on the region and is usually established by the relevant aviation authority. In Europe, for example, the transition level is typically around FL100, which corresponds to a flight level of 10,000 feet. Below this level, pilots set their altimeters to the local pressure setting, while above this level, they switch to the standard pressure setting.

The Transition Altitude

On the other hand, the transition altitude is the altitude at which aircraft transition from using the standard pressure setting to using the local altimeter setting. This transition allows pilots to accurately determine their altitude based on the local atmospheric pressure, which can vary from one location to another.

Just like the transition level, the transition altitude is determined by the aviation authority and varies depending on the region. In many parts of the world, the transition altitude is set to 18,000 feet. Therefore, as aircraft climb through this altitude during the ascent phase, pilots switch their altimeters from the standard pressure setting to the local pressure setting to maintain accurate altitude references.

It is important for pilots to be aware of the designated transition level and transition altitude for their flight, as failing to make the transition at the correct altitude can lead to altitude deviations and potential conflicts with other aircraft.

Transition Training and Safety

Transition training plays a crucial role in maintaining aviation safety. Pilots undergo rigorous training to ensure they are proficient in handling various types of transitions and are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to mitigate potential risks.

During flight training, pilots learn how to perform smooth transitions between flight phases, altitude levels, and different airspaces. They are trained to anticipate and adapt to changes in flight conditions and effectively communicate with air traffic control to ensure a seamless flow of operations.

Moreover, transition training also encompasses emergency procedures and handling unexpected situations. Pilots are trained to react swiftly and appropriately in case of engine failures, system malfunctions, or other emergencies that may require a transition to an alternate airport or a different flight path.

By prioritizing transition training and safety, aviation authorities and airlines contribute to the overall safety and efficiency of the aviation industry. Continuous training and adherence to established procedures help minimize the risks associated with transitions and ensure that pilots are well-prepared to handle various scenarios.


Transition is an integral part of aviation, encompassing the movement between flight phases and altitudes. From transitioning between ground operations and takeoff to smoothly descending from cruise altitude, these transitions require careful planning, effective communication, and adherence to established procedures. Understanding and effectively managing transitions is crucial for ensuring the safety and efficiency of flight operations. By prioritizing transition training and safety, aviation professionals contribute to the continuous improvement of the industry and the well-being of passengers.

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