ADS-B CDTI-Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS)

What it does

CAVS supports the flight-crew in maintaining visual contact with a lead aircraft (traffic) during a visual approach.


  • Supports higher runway throughput
  • Improves pilot situational awareness due to visual display of traffic
  • Reduces go-arounds (due to getting too close to another aircraft on final)

The FAA has partnered with American Airlines and ACSS to install ADS-B In avionics, including CAVS functionality, on American Airline's entire fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft. American Airlines began CAVS operations in May 2021. Benefits data is being collected and shared with the wider community.


CAVS standards are complete and ready for manufacturers to produce the necessary avionics (see FAA Technical Standard Order - C195b and later versions). FAA guidance regarding CAVS operations exists in Advisory Circular 90-114B and later versions. At least one avionics company currently offers a product which includes CAVS functionality.

How it works

Arrival throughput is highest when visual arrival/approach operations are in use. When visibility conditions degrade, arrival throughput can decrease, because ATC must maintain increased distances between arriving aircraft.

CAVS provides precise ADS-B location and velocity data to allow flight crews to better maintain visual contact and manage their relative distance behind a preceding aircraft on the approach to an airport. Pilots must acquire the preceding aircraft "out the window" first, then the pilot can rely on the traffic display after that as they conduct a visual approach. CAVS requires no new procedures or phraseology for ATC.

The FAA is also working with American Airlines to evaluate additional uses of CAVS equipment to expand the meteorological conditions during which operations using CAVS functionality can be performed. The goal is to achieve visual arrival rates more often. An operational evaluation of these operations began in March 2023 for arrivals to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) airport. The FAA is working with American Airlines and ACSS to gather benefits data to be shared with the aviation community.

Last updated: Tuesday, December 12, 2023