A new rule effective Jan. 22, 2019, eliminates the requirement for general aviation pilots to apply for an RVSM authorization when their aircraft is equipped with qualified ADS-B Out systems and meet specific altitude-keeping equipment requirements for operations in RVSM airspace.
On Dec. 21, 2018, the FAA issued a final rule, making it effective on Jan. 22, 2019, revising the agency’s requirements for application to operate in RVSM airspace.
The action recognizes the enhancements in aircraft monitoring resulting from the use of ADS-B Out systems and responds to requests from pilots to eliminate the burden and expense of the current RVSM application process for aircraft equipped with qualified ADS-B Out systems, according to officials with the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA).
“The AEA is encouraged with the FAA’s recognition of modern technology and the elimination of unnecessary administrative burden when the aircraft is properly equipped and maintained by professional technicians,” officials said in an advisory to its members.
The final rule makes “significant and beneficial changes” to 14 CFR Part 91 Appendix G to Part 91-Operations in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace, according to AEA officials.
“While the entire revision should be reviewed, there are two areas to highlight: Section 2. Aircraft Approval was amended to recognize the addition of a new Section 9. Aircraft Equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out. Section 2 paragraph (a) now reads:
Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, an operator may be authorized to conduct RVSM operations if the administrator finds that its aircraft comply with this section.”
The new Section 9 in its entirety says:
Section 9. Aircraft Equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out. An operator is authorized to conduct flight in airspace in which RVSM is applied provided the aircraft is equipped with the following:
- Two operational independent altitude measurement systems.
- At least one automatic altitude control system that controls the aircraft altitude within a tolerance band of ±65 feet about an acquired altitude when the aircraft is operated in straight and level flight under nonturbulent, nongust conditions; or within a tolerance band of ±130 feet under nonturbulent, nongust conditions for aircraft for which application for type certification occurred on or before April 9, 1997, that are equipped with an automatic altitude control system with flight management/performance system inputs.
- An altitude alert system that signals an alert when the altitude displayed to the flightcrew deviates from the selected altitude by more than ±300 feet for aircraft for which application for type certification was made on or before April 9, 1997; or ±200 feet for aircraft for which application for type certification is made after April 9, 1997.
- A TCAS II that meets TSO C-119b (Version 7.0), or a later version, if equipped with TCAS II, unless otherwise authorized by the administrator.
- Unless authorized by ATC or the foreign country where the aircraft is operated, an ADS-B Out system that meets the equipment performance requirements of § 91.227 of this part. The aircraft must have its height-keeping performance monitored in a form and manner acceptable to the administrator.
Also, the altimetry system error (ASE) of the aircraft does not exceed 200′ when operating in RVSM airspace.