Last December, the FAA amended Appendix G of part 91 – Operations in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace, making authorization for operations in RVSM airspace less complicated. However, the change is not just equipage, but rather about how the FAA monitors altitude-keeping performance. To conduct RVSM operations, an operator’s aircraft must not only be properly equipped, but must also meet specific RVSM Altimetry System Error (ASE) performance standards. ADS-B Out equipage alone, as required by Appendix G, section 9, allows for enhanced monitoring of ASE, but does not assure ASE containment. To assure safe operations, the operator must determine the RVSM airworthiness of the aircraft prior to conducting RVSM operations under the new Appendix G provisions.
The FAA is observing that some operators are considering operation under the new rule with aircraft not previously certified for RVSM operations, or aircraft with certified designs that have not been maintained to RVSM standards. Aircraft with certified RVSM designs require inspection and testing to assure they meet the airworthiness requirements of their design. Aircraft that have not been designed and certified for RVSM operations require evaluation to assure they meet the ASE standards. Many individual operators may not be capable of performing this complex evaluation. For operators of aircraft without certified RVSM designs, the FAA recommends contacting the appropriate engineering consultants to obtain the information required to comply (See AC 91-85B, Authorization of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in RVSM Airspace – Chapter 2 – Aircraft Eligibility and Appendix A.7 – Altimetry System Performance Substantiation).
For more information, on RVSM documentation, go to: www.faa.gov/air_traffic/separation_standards/rvsm/documentation
For the FAA FAQ, please go to: