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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

4−6−3. Aircraft and Operator Approval

Policy/Procedures, RVSM Monitoring and

Databases for Aircraft and Operator


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. Advisory Circular

(AC) 91−85, Authorization of Aircraft and Operators

for Flight in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum

(RVSM) Airspace, and the FAA RVSM website.

c. TCAS Equipage. TCAS equipage require-

ments 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

web page 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. 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.

f. Registration of U.S. Operators. When U.S.

operators and aircraft are granted RVSM authority,

the Separation Standards Group at the FAA Technical

Center obtains PTRS operator and aircraft informa-

tion 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 web page in the

“RVSM Approvals” section.

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 authoriza-

tion to the operator.

c. General Policies for FAA Flight Plan Equip-

ment Suffix. TBL 5−1−3, 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 5−1−3.

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


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


1. Operators/aircraft that are RVSM−compliant

and that file ICAO flight plans will file “/W” in

block 10 (Equipment) to indicate RVSM authoriza-

tion and will also file the appropriate ICAO Flight