background image




Operational Policy/Procedures for Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) in the

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

Plan suffixes to indicate navigation and communica-

tion capabilities. The equipment suffixes in

TBL 5−1−3 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


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


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 Accommo-

dation 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.

g. Improperly changing an aircraft equipment

suffix and/or adding “NON-RVSM” in the NOTES or

REMARKS section (Field 18) while not removing

the “W” from Field 10, will not provide air traffic

control with the proper visual indicator necessary to

detect Non-RVSM aircraft. To ensure information

processes correctly for Non-RVSM aircraft, the “W”

in Field 10 must be removed. Entry of information in

the NOTES or REMARKS section (Field 18) will not

affect the determination of RVSM capability and

must not be used to indicate a flight is Non-RVSM.

4−6−5. Pilot RVSM Operating Practices and


a. RVSM Mandate. If either the operator or the

aircraft or both have not received RVSM authoriza-

tion (non−RVSM aircraft), the pilot will neither

request nor accept a clearance into RVSM airspace


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 Accommo-

dation of Non−RVSM Aircraft.

2. The pilot intends to climb to or descend from

FL 430 or above in accordance with Para-

graph 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 B of AC 91−85, Authoriza-

tion of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in Reduced

Vertical Separation Minimum Airspace, contains

pilot practices and procedures for RVSM. Operators

must incorporate Appendix B practices and proce-

dures, 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 B contains practices and procedures

for flight planning, preflight procedures at the

aircraft, procedures prior to RVSM airspace entry,

inflight (en route) procedures, contingency proce-

dures and post flight.

d. The following paragraphs either clarify or

supplement Appendix B 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