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6/17/21 

AIM 

tion and will also file the appropriate ICAO Flight 
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 
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 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 

Procedures 

a.  RVSM Mandate. 

If either the operator is not 

authorized for RVSM operations or the aircraft is not 
RVSM

compliant, 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 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. 

AC 91

85 contains pilot practices and 

procedures for RVSM. Operators must incorporate 
applicable 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. 

AC 91

85 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 AC 91

85 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 

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

4

6

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