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

Section 6. Operational Policy/Procedures for Reduced

Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) in the Domestic

U.S., Alaska, Offshore Airspace and the San Juan FIR


−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” web page described in
Paragraph 4

−6−3, Aircraft and Operator Approval

Policy/Procedures, RVSM Monitoring and Data-
bases 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. 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 travers-
ing 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 excep-
tions, 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


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.


−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




Flight Level Orientation Scheme


Odd Flight Levels: Magnetic Course 000

−179 Degrees

Even Flight Levels: Magnetic Course 180

−359 Degrees.