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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
Webpage 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 Webpage 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
4-6-2 Operational Policy/Procedures for Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) in the
Domestic U.S., Alaska, Offshore Airspace and the San Juan FIR