AIM

4/3/14

Section 6. Operational Policy/Procedures for Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) in the Domestic U.S., Alaska, Offshore Airspace and the San Juan FIR

4-6-1. Applicability and RVSM Mandate (Date/Time and Area)

a. Applicability. The policies, guidance and direction in this section apply to RVSM operations in the airspace over the lower 48 states, Alaska, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico High Offshore Airspace and airspace in the San Juan FIR where VHF or UHF voice direct controller-pilot communication (DCPC) is normally available. Policies, guidance and direction for RVSM operations in oceanic airspace where VHF or UHF voice DCPC is not available and the airspace of other countries are posted on the FAA “RVSM Documentation” Webpage described in paragraph 4-6-3, Aircraft and Operator Approval Policy/Procedures, RVSM Monitoring and Databases for Aircraft and Operator Approval.

b. Mandate. At 0901 UTC on January 20, 2005, the FAA implemented RVSM between flight level (FL) 290-410 (inclusive) in the following airspace: the airspace of the lower 48 states of the United States, Alaska, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico High Offshore Airspace and the San Juan FIR. (A chart showing the location of offshore airspace is posted on the Domestic U.S. RVSM (DRVSM) Webpage. See paragraph 4-6-3.) On the same time and date, RVSM was also introduced into the adjoining airspace of Canada and Mexico to provide a seamless environment for aircraft traversing those borders. In addition, RVSM was implemented on the same date in the Caribbean and South American regions.

c. RVSM Authorization. In accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.180, with only limited exceptions, prior to operating in RVSM airspace, operators and aircraft must have received RVSM authorization from the responsible civil aviation authority. (See paragraph 4-6-10, Procedures for Accommodation of Non-RVSM Aircraft.) If the operator or aircraft or both have not been authorized for RVSM operations, the aircraft will be referred to as a “non-RVSM” aircraft. Paragraph 4-6-10 discusses ATC policies for accommodation of non-RVSM aircraft flown by the Department of Defense, Air Ambulance (MEDEVAC) operators, foreign State governments and aircraft flown for certification and development. Paragraph 4-6-11,  Non-RVSM Aircraft Requesting Climb to and Descent from Flight Levels Above RVSM Airspace Without Intermediate Level Off, contains policies for non-RVSM aircraft climbing and descending through RVSM airspace to/from flight levels above RVSM airspace.

d. Benefits. RVSM enhances ATC flexibility, mitigates conflict points, enhances sector throughput, reduces controller workload and enables crossing traffic. Operators gain fuel savings and operating efficiency benefits by flying at more fuel efficient flight levels and on more user preferred routings.

4-6-2. Flight Level Orientation Scheme

Altitude assignments for direction of flight follow a scheme of odd altitude assignment for magnetic courses 000-179 degrees and even altitudes for magnetic courses 180-359 degrees for flights up to and including FL 410, as indicated in FIG 4-6-1.

FIG 4-6-1
Flight Level Orientation Scheme

aim0406_At Anchor0

NOTE-
Odd Flight Levels: Magnetic Course 000-179 Degrees Even Flight Levels: Magnetic Course 180-359 Degrees.

4-6-3. Aircraft and Operator Approval Policy/Procedures, RVSM Monitoring and Databases for Aircraft and Operator Approval

a. RVSM Authority. 14 CFR Section 91.180 applies to RVSM operations within the U.S. 14 CFR Section 91.706 applies to RVSM operations outside the U.S. Both sections require that the operator obtain authorization prior to operating in RVSM airspace. 14 CFR Section 91.180 requires that, prior to conducting RVSM operations within the U.S., the operator obtain authorization from the FAA or from the responsible authority, as appropriate. In addition, it requires that the operator and the operator's aircraft comply with the standards of 14 CFR Part 91 Appendix G (Operations in RVSM Airspace).

b. Sources of Information. The FAA RVSM Website Homepage can be accessed at: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/ headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/enroute/rvsm/. The “RVSM Documentation” and “Domestic RVSM” webpages are linked to the RVSM Homepage. “RVSM Documentation” contains guidance and direction for an operator to obtain aircraft and operator approval to conduct RVSM operations. It provides information for DRVSM and oceanic and international RVSM airspace. It is recommended that operators planning to operate in Domestic U.S. RVSM airspace first review the following documents to orient themselves to the approval process.

1. Under “Area of Operations Specific Information,” the document, “Basic Operator Information on DRVSM Programs,” provides an overview of the DRVSM program and the related aircraft and operator approval programs.

2. In the “Getting Started” section, review the “RVSM Approval Checklist - U.S. Operators” or “RVSM Approval Checklist - Non-U.S. Operators” (as applicable). These are job aids or checklists that show aircraft/operator approval process events with references to related RVSM documents published on the website.

3. Under “Documents Applicable to All RVSM Approvals,” review “RVSM Area New to the Operator.” This document provides a guide for operators that are conducting RVSM operations in one or more areas of operation, but are planning to conduct RVSM operations in an area where they have not previously conducted RVSM operations, such as the U.S.

c. TCAS Equipage. TCAS equipage requirements are contained in 14 CFR Sections 121.356, 125.224, 129.18 and 135.189. Part 91 Appendix G does not contain TCAS equipage requirements specific to RVSM, however, Appendix G does require that aircraft equipped with TCAS II and flown in RVSM airspace be modified to incorporate TCAS II Version 7.0 or a later version.

d. Aircraft Monitoring. Operators are required to participate in the RVSM aircraft monitoring program. The “Monitoring Requirements and Procedures” section of the RVSM Documentation Webpage contains policies and procedures for participation in the monitoring program. Ground-based and GPS-based monitoring systems are available for the Domestic RVSM program. Monitoring is a quality control program that enables the FAA and other civil aviation authorities to assess the in-service altitude-keeping performance of aircraft and operators.

e. Registration on RVSM Approvals Databases. The “Registration on RVSM Approvals Database” section of the RVSM Documentation Webpage provides policies/procedures for operator and aircraft registration on RVSM approvals databases.

1. Purpose of RVSM Approvals Databases. ATC does not use RVSM approvals databases to determine whether or not a clearance can be issued into RVSM airspace. RVSM program managers do regularly review the operators and aircraft that operate in RVSM airspace to identify and investigate those aircraft and operators flying in RVSM airspace, but not listed on the RVSM approvals databases.

2. Registration of U.S. Operators. When U.S. operators and aircraft are granted RVSM authority, the FAA Flight Standards office makes an input to the FAA Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS). The Separation Standards Group at the FAA Technical Center obtains PTRS operator and aircraft information to update the FAA maintained U.S. Operator/Aircraft RVSM Approvals Database. Basic database operator and aircraft information can be viewed on the RVSM Documentation Webpage by clicking on the appropriate database icon.

3. Registration of Non-U.S. Operators.  Non-U.S. operators can find policy/procedures for registration on the North American Approvals Registry and Monitoring Organization (NAARMO) database in the “Registration on RVSM Approvals Database” section of RVSM Documentation.

4-6-4. Flight Planning into RVSM Airspace

a. Operators that do not file the correct aircraft equipment suffix on the FAA or ICAO Flight Plan may be denied clearance into RVSM airspace. Policies for the FAA Flight Plan are detailed in subparagraph c below. Policies for the ICAO Flight Plan are detailed in subparagraph d.

b. The operator will annotate the equipment block of the FAA or ICAO Flight Plan with an aircraft equipment suffix indicating RVSM capability only after the responsible civil aviation authority has determined that both the operator and its aircraft are RVSM-compliant and has issued RVSM authorization to the operator.

c. General Policies for FAA Flight Plan Equipment Suffix. TBL 5-1-2, Aircraft Suffixes, allows operators to indicate that the aircraft has both RVSM and Advanced Area Navigation (RNAV) capabilities or has only RVSM capability.

1. The operator will annotate the equipment block of the FAA Flight Plan with the appropriate aircraft equipment suffix from TBL 5-1-2.

2. Operators can only file one equipment suffix in block 3 of the FAA Flight Plan. Only this equipment suffix is displayed directly to the controller.

3. Aircraft with RNAV Capability. For flight in RVSM airspace, aircraft with RNAV capability, but not Advanced RNAV capability, will file “/W”. Filing “/W” will not preclude such aircraft from filing and flying direct routes in en route airspace.

d. Policy for ICAO Flight Plan Equipment Suffixes.

1. Operators/aircraft that are RVSM-compliant and that file ICAO flight plans will file “/W” in block 10 (Equipment) to indicate RVSM authorization and will also file the appropriate ICAO Flight Plan suffixes to indicate navigation and communication capabilities. The equipment suffixes in TBL 5-1-2 are for use only in an FAA Flight Plan (FAA Form 7233-1).

2. Operators/aircraft that file ICAO flight plans that include flight in Domestic U.S. RVSM airspace must file “/W” in block 10 to indicate RVSM authorization.

e. Importance of Flight Plan Equipment Suffixes. The operator must file the appropriate equipment suffix in the equipment block of the FAA Flight Plan (FAA Form 7233-1) or the ICAO Flight Plan. The equipment suffix informs ATC:

1. Whether or not the operator and aircraft are authorized to fly in RVSM airspace.

2. The navigation and/or transponder capability of the aircraft (e.g., advanced RNAV, transponder with Mode C).

f. Significant ATC uses of the flight plan equipment suffix information are:

1. To issue or deny clearance into RVSM airspace.

2. To apply a 2,000 foot vertical separation minimum in RVSM airspace to aircraft that are not authorized for RVSM, but are in one of the limited categories that the FAA has agreed to accommodate. (See paragraphs 4-6-10, Procedures for Accommodation of Non-RVSM Aircraft, and 4-6-11, Non-RVSM Aircraft Requesting Climb to and Descent from Flight Levels Above RVSM Airspace Without Intermediate Level Off, for policy on limited operation of unapproved aircraft in RVSM airspace).

3. To determine if the aircraft has “Advanced RNAV” capabilities and can be cleared to fly procedures for which that capability is required.

4-6-5. Pilot RVSM Operating Practices and Procedures

a. RVSM Mandate. If either the operator or the aircraft or both have not received RVSM authorization (non-RVSM aircraft), the pilot will neither request nor accept a clearance into RVSM airspace unless:

1. The flight is conducted by a non-RVSM DOD, MEDEVAC, certification/development or foreign State (government) aircraft in accordance with paragraph 4-6-10, Procedures for Accommodation of Non-RVSM Aircraft.

2. The pilot intends to climb to or descend from FL 430 or above in accordance with paragraph 4-6-11, Non-RVSM Aircraft Requesting Climb to and Descent from Flight Levels Above RVSM Airspace Without Intermediate Level Off.

3. An emergency situation exists.

b. Basic RVSM Operating Practices and Procedures. Appendix 4 of AC 91-85, Authorization of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum Airspace contains pilot practices and procedures for RVSM. Operators must incorporate Appendix 4 practices and procedures, as supplemented by the applicable paragraphs of this section, into operator training or pilot knowledge programs and operator documents containing RVSM operational policies.

c. Appendix 4 contains practices and procedures for flight planning, preflight procedures at the aircraft, procedures prior to RVSM airspace entry, inflight (en route) procedures, contingency procedures and post flight.

d. The following paragraphs either clarify or supplement Appendix 4 practices and procedures.

4-6-6. Guidance on Severe Turbulence and Mountain Wave Activity (MWA)

a. Introduction/Explanation

1. The information and practices in this paragraph are provided to emphasize to pilots and controllers the importance of taking appropriate action in RVSM airspace when aircraft experience severe turbulence and/or MWA that is of sufficient magnitude to significantly affect altitude-keeping.

2. Severe Turbulence. Severe turbulence causes large, abrupt changes in altitude and/or attitude usually accompanied by large variations in indicated airspeed. Aircraft may be momentarily out of control. Encounters with severe turbulence must be remedied immediately in any phase of flight. Severe turbulence may be associated with MWA.

3. Mountain Wave Activity (MWA)

(a) Significant MWA occurs both below and above the floor of RVSM airspace, FL 290. MWA often occurs in western states in the vicinity of mountain ranges. It may occur when strong winds blow perpendicular to mountain ranges resulting in up and down or wave motions in the atmosphere. Wave action can produce altitude excursions and airspeed fluctuations accompanied by only light turbulence. With sufficient amplitude, however, wave action can induce altitude and airspeed fluctuations accompanied by severe turbulence. MWA is difficult to forecast and can be highly localized and short lived.

(b) Wave activity is not necessarily limited to the vicinity of mountain ranges. Pilots experiencing wave activity anywhere that significantly affects altitude-keeping can follow the guidance provided below.

(c) Inflight MWA Indicators (Including Turbulence). Indicators that the aircraft is being subjected to MWA are:

(1) Altitude excursions and/or airspeed fluctuations with or without associated turbulence.

(2) Pitch and trim changes required to maintain altitude with accompanying airspeed fluctuations.

(3) Light to severe turbulence depending on the magnitude of the MWA.

4. Priority for Controller Application of Merging Target Procedures

(a) Explanation of Merging Target Procedures. As described in subparagraph c3 below, ATC will use “merging target procedures” to mitigate the effects of both severe turbulence and MWA. The procedures in subparagraph c3 have been adapted from existing procedures published in FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, paragraph 5-1-8, Merging Target Procedures. Paragraph 5-1-8 calls for en route controllers to advise pilots of potential traffic that they perceive may fly directly above or below his/her aircraft at minimum vertical separation. In response, pilots are given the option of requesting a radar vector to ensure their radar target will not merge or overlap with the traffic's radar target.

(b) The provision of “merging target procedures” to mitigate the effects of severe turbulence and/or MWA is not optional for the controller, but rather is a priority responsibility. Pilot requests for vectors for traffic avoidance when encountering MWA or pilot reports of “Unable RVSM due turbulence or MWA” are considered first priority aircraft separation and sequencing responsibilities. (FAA Order JO 7110.65, paragraph 2-1-2, Duty Priority, states that the controller's first priority is to separate aircraft and issue safety alerts).

(c) Explanation of the term “traffic permitting.” The contingency actions for MWA and severe turbulence detailed in paragraph 4-6-9, Contingency Actions: Weather Encounters and Aircraft System Failures, state that the controller will “vector aircraft to avoid merging targets with traffic at adjacent flight levels, traffic permitting.” The term “traffic permitting” is not intended to imply that merging target procedures are not a priority duty. The term is intended to recognize that, as stated in FAA Order JO 7110.65, paragraph 2-1-2, Duty Priority, there are circumstances when the controller is required to perform more than one action and must “exercise their best judgment based on the facts and circumstances known to them” to prioritize their actions. Further direction given is: “That action which is most critical from a safety standpoint is performed first.”

5. TCAS Sensitivity. For both MWA and severe turbulence encounters in RVSM airspace, an additional concern is the sensitivity of collision avoidance systems when one or both aircraft operating in close proximity receive TCAS advisories in response to disruptions in altitude hold capability.

b. Pre-flight tools. Sources of observed and forecast information that can help the pilot ascertain the possibility of MWA or severe turbulence are: Forecast Winds and Temperatures Aloft (FD), Area Forecast (FA), SIGMETs and PIREPs.

c. Pilot Actions When Encountering Weather (e.g., Severe Turbulence or MWA)

1. Weather Encounters Inducing Altitude Deviations of Approximately 200 feet. When the pilot experiences weather induced altitude deviations of approximately 200 feet, the pilot will contact ATC and state “Unable RVSM Due (state reason)” (e.g., turbulence, mountain wave). See contingency actions in paragraph 4-6-9.

2. Severe Turbulence (including that associated with MWA). When pilots encounter severe turbulence, they should contact ATC and report the situation. Until the pilot reports clear of severe turbulence, the controller will apply merging target vectors to one or both passing aircraft to prevent their targets from merging:

EXAMPLE-
“Yankee 123, FL 310, unable RVSM due severe turbulence.”

“Yankee 123, fly heading 290; traffic twelve o'clock, 10 miles, opposite direction; eastbound MD-80 at FL 320” (or the controller may issue a vector to the MD-80 traffic to avoid Yankee 123).

3. MWA. When pilots encounter MWA, they should contact ATC and report the magnitude and location of the wave activity. When a controller makes a merging targets traffic call, the pilot may request a vector to avoid flying directly over or under the traffic. In situations where the pilot is experiencing altitude deviations of 200 feet or greater, the pilot will request a vector to avoid traffic. Until the pilot reports clear of MWA, the controller will apply merging target vectors to one or both passing aircraft to prevent their targets from merging:

EXAMPLE-
“Yankee 123, FL 310, unable RVSM due mountain wave.”

“Yankee 123, fly heading 290; traffic twelve o'clock, 10 miles, opposite direction; eastbound MD-80 at FL 320” (or the controller may issue a vector to the MD-80 traffic to avoid Yankee 123).

4. FL Change or Re-route. To leave airspace where MWA or severe turbulence is being encountered, the pilot may request a FL change and/or re-route, if necessary.

4-6-7. Guidance on Wake Turbulence

a. Pilots should be aware of the potential for wake turbulence encounters in RVSM airspace. Experience gained since 1997 has shown that such encounters in RVSM airspace are generally moderate or less in magnitude.

b. Prior to DRVSM implementation, the FAA established provisions for pilots to report wake turbulence events in RVSM airspace using the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). A “Safety Reporting” section established on the FAA RVSM Documentation webpage provides contacts, forms, and reporting procedures.

c. To date, wake turbulence has not been reported as a significant factor in DRVSM operations. European authorities also found that reports of wake turbulence encounters did not increase significantly after RVSM implementation (eight versus seven reports in a ten-month period). In addition, they found that reported wake turbulence was generally similar to moderate clear air turbulence.

d. Pilot Action to Mitigate Wake Turbulence Encounters

1. Pilots should be alert for wake turbulence when operating:

(a) In the vicinity of aircraft climbing or descending through their altitude.

(b) Approximately 10-30 miles after passing 1,000 feet below opposite-direction traffic.

(c) Approximately 10-30 miles behind and 1,000 feet below same-direction traffic.

2. Pilots encountering or anticipating wake turbulence in DRVSM airspace have the option of requesting a vector, FL change, or if capable, a lateral offset.

NOTE-
1. Offsets of approximately a wing span upwind generally can move the aircraft out of the immediate vicinity of another aircraft's wake vortex.

2. In domestic U.S. airspace, pilots must request clearance to fly a lateral offset. Strategic lateral offsets flown in oceanic airspace do not apply.

e. The FAA will track wake turbulence events as an element of its post implementation program. The FAA will advertise wake turbulence reporting procedures to the operator community and publish reporting procedures on the RVSM Documentation Webpage (See address in paragraph 4-6-3, Aircraft and Operator Approval Policy/Procedures, RVSM Monitoring and Databases for Aircraft and Operator Approval.

4-6-8. Pilot/Controller Phraseology

TBL 4-6-1 shows standard phraseology that pilots and controllers will use to communicate in DRVSM operations.

TBL 4-6-1
Pilot/Controller Phraseology

Message

Phraseology

For a controller to ascertain the RVSM approval status of an aircraft:

(call sign) confirm RVSM approved

Pilot indication that flight is RVSM approved

Affirm RVSM

Pilot report of lack of RVSM approval (non-RVSM status). Pilot will report non-RVSM status, as follows:

Negative RVSM, (supplementary information, e.g., “Certification flight”).

a. On the initial call on any frequency in the RVSM airspace and . . ..
b. In all requests for flight level changes pertaining to flight levels within the RVSM airspace and . . ..
c. In all read backs to flight level clearances pertaining to flight levels within the RVSM airspace and . . ..
d. In read back of flight level clearances involving climb and descent through RVSM airspace
(FL 290 - 410).

 

Pilot report of one of the following after entry into RVSM airspace: all primary altimeters, automatic altitude control systems or altitude alerters have failed.
(See paragraph 4-6-9, Contingency Actions: Weather Encounters and Aircraft System Failures.)

NOTE-
This phrase is to be used to convey both the initial indication of RVSM aircraft system failure and on initial contact on all frequencies in RVSM airspace until the problem ceases to exist or the aircraft has exited RVSM airspace.

Unable RVSM Due Equipment

ATC denial of clearance into RVSM airspace

Unable issue clearance into RVSM airspace, maintain FL

*Pilot reporting inability to maintain cleared flight level due to weather encounter.
(See paragraph 4-6-9, Contingency Actions: Weather Encounters and Aircraft System Failures).

*Unable RVSM due (state reason) (e.g., turbulence, mountain wave)

ATC requesting pilot to confirm that an aircraft has regained RVSM-approved status or a pilot is ready to resume RVSM

Confirm able to resume RVSM

Pilot ready to resume RVSM after aircraft system or weather contingency

Ready to resume RVSM

4-6-9. Contingency Actions: Weather Encounters and Aircraft System Failures

TBL 4-6-2 provides pilot guidance on actions to take under certain conditions of aircraft system failure and weather encounters. It also describes the expected ATC controller actions in these situations. It is recognized that the pilot and controller will use judgment to determine the action most appropriate to any given situation.

TBL 4-6-2
Contingency Actions: Weather Encounters and Aircraft System Failures

 

 

 

 

Initial Pilot Actions in Contingency Situations

 

 

Initial pilot actions when unable to maintain flight level (FL) or unsure of aircraft altitude-keeping capability:

 

 

•Notify ATC and request assistance as detailed below.

•Maintain cleared flight level, to the extent possible, while evaluating the situation.

•Watch for conflicting traffic both visually and by reference to TCAS, if equipped.

•Alert nearby aircraft by illuminating exterior lights (commensurate with aircraft limitations).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Severe Turbulence and/or Mountain Wave Activity (MWA) Induced
Altitude Deviations of Approximately 200 feet

 

 

Pilot will:

Controller will:

 

 

•When experiencing severe turbulence and/or MWA induced altitude deviations of approximately 200 feet or greater, pilot will contact ATC and state “Unable RVSM Due (state reason)” (e.g., turbulence, mountain wave)

•If not issued by the controller, request vector clear of traffic at adjacent FLs

•If desired, request FL change or re-route

•Report location and magnitude of turbulence or MWA to ATC

•Vector aircraft to avoid merging target with traffic at adjacent flight levels, traffic permitting

•Advise pilot of conflicting traffic

•Issue FL change or re-route, traffic permitting

•Issue PIREP to other aircraft

 

 

See paragraph 4-6-6, Guidance on Severe Turbulence and Mountain Wave Activity (MWA) for detailed guidance.

Paragraph 4-6-6 explains “traffic permitting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Wave Activity (MWA) Encounters - General

 

 

Pilot actions:

Controller actions:

 

 

•Contact ATC and report experiencing MWA

•If so desired, pilot may request a FL change or re-route

•Report location and magnitude of MWA to ATC

•Advise pilot of conflicting traffic at adjacent FL

•If pilot requests, vector aircraft to avoid merging target with traffic at adjacent RVSM flight levels, traffic permitting

•Issue FL change or re-route, traffic permitting

•Issue PIREP to other aircraft

 

 

See paragraph 4-6-6 for guidance on MWA.

Paragraph 4-6-6 explains “traffic permitting.”

 

 

NOTE-
MWA encounters do not necessarily result in altitude deviations on the order of 200 feet. The guidance below is intended to address less significant MWA encounters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wake Turbulence Encounters

 

 

Pilot should:

Controller should:

 

 

•Contact ATC and request vector, FL change or, if capable, a lateral offset

•Issue vector, FL change or lateral offset clearance, traffic permitting

 

 

See paragraph 4-6-7, Guidance on Wake Turbulence.

Paragraph 4-6-6 explains “traffic permitting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Unable RVSM Due Equipment”
Failure of Automatic Altitude Control System, Altitude Alerter or All Primary Altimeters

 

 

Pilot will:

Controller will:

 

 

•Contact ATC and state “Unable RVSM Due Equipment”

•Request clearance out of RVSM airspace unless operational situation dictates otherwise

•Provide 2,000 feet vertical separation or appropriate horizontal separation

•Clear aircraft out of RVSM airspace unless operational situation dictates otherwise

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Primary Altimeter Remains Operational

 

 

Pilot will:

Controller will:

 

 

•Cross check stand-by altimeter

•Notify ATC of operation with single primary altimeter

•If unable to confirm primary altimeter accuracy, follow actions for failure of all primary altimeters

•Acknowledge operation with single primary altimeter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transponder Failure

 

 

Pilot will:

Controller will:

 

 

•Contact ATC and request authority to continue to operate at cleared flight level

•Comply with revised ATC clearance, if issued

•Consider request to continue to operate at cleared flight level

•Issue revised clearance, if necessary

 

 

NOTE-
14 CFR Section 91.215 (ATC transponder and altitude reporting equipment and use) regulates operation with the transponder inoperative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-6-10. Procedures for Accommodation of Non-RVSM Aircraft

a. General Policies for Accommodation of Non-RVSM Aircraft

1. The RVSM mandate calls for only RVSM authorized aircraft/operators to fly in designated RVSM airspace with limited exceptions. The policies detailed below are intended exclusively for use by aircraft that the FAA has agreed to accommodate. They are not intended to provide other operators a means to circumvent the normal RVSM approval process.

2. If either the operator or aircraft or both have not been authorized to conduct RVSM operations, the aircraft will be referred to as a “non-RVSM” aircraft. 14 CFR Section 91.180 and Part 91 Appendix G enable the FAA to authorize a deviation to operate a non-RVSM aircraft in RVSM airspace.

3. Non-RVSM aircraft flights will be handled on a workload permitting basis. The vertical separation standard applied between aircraft not approved for RVSM and all other aircraft must be 2,000 feet.

4. Required Pilot Calls. The pilot of non-RVSM aircraft will inform the controller of the lack of RVSM approval in accordance with the direction provided in paragraph 4-6-8, Pilot/Controller Phraseology.

b. Categories of Non-RVSM Aircraft that may be Accommodated

Subject to FAA approval and clearance, the following categories of non-RVSM aircraft may operate in domestic U.S. RVSM airspace provided they have an operational transponder.

1. Department of Defense (DOD) aircraft.

2. Flights conducted for aircraft certification and development purposes.

3. Active air ambulance flights utilizing a “MEDEVAC” call sign.

4. Aircraft climbing/descending through RVSM flight levels (without intermediate level off) to/from FLs above RVSM airspace (Policies for these flights are detailed in Paragraph 4-6-11, Non-RVSM Aircraft Requesting Climb to and Descent from Flight Levels Above RVSM Airspace Without Intermediate Level Off.

5. Foreign State (government) aircraft.

c. Methods for operators of non-RVSM aircraft to request access to RVSM Airspace. Operators may:

1. LOA/MOU. Enter into a Letter of Agreement (LOA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the RVSM facility (the Air Traffic facility that provides air traffic services in RVSM airspace). Operators must comply with LOA/MOU.

2. File-and-Fly. File a flight plan to notify the FAA of their intention to request access to RVSM airspace.

NOTE-
Priority for access to RVSM airspace will be afforded to RVSM compliant aircraft, then File-and-Fly flights.

d. Center Phone Numbers. Center phone numbers are posted on the RVSM Documentation Webpage, North American RVSM, Domestic U.S. RVSM section. This address provides direct access to the phone number listing:

http://www.faa.gov/ats/ato/150_docs/Center_Phone_No._Non-RVSM_Acft.doc

4-6-11. Non-RVSM Aircraft Requesting Climb to and Descent from Flight Levels Above RVSM Airspace Without Intermediate Level Off

a. File-and-Fly. Operators of Non-RVSM aircraft climbing to and descending from RVSM flight levels should just file a flight plan.

b. Non-RVSM aircraft climbing to and descending from flight levels above RVSM airspace will be handled on a workload permitting basis. The vertical separation standard applied in RVSM airspace between non-RVSM aircraft and all other aircraft must be 2,000 feet.

c. Non-RVSM aircraft climbing to/descending from RVSM airspace can only be considered for accommodation provided:

1. Aircraft is capable of a continuous climb/descent and does not need to level off at an intermediate altitude for any operational considerations and

2. Aircraft is capable of climb/descent at the normal rate for the aircraft.

d. Required Pilot Calls. The pilot of non-RVSM aircraft will inform the controller of the lack of RVSM approval in accordance with the direction provided in paragraph 4-6-8, Pilot/Controller Phraseology.

 

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