Feb 21, 2019

The FAA recently issued Notice N8900.500 and Advisory Circular 91-85B – Authorization of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace, which provide clarification and guidance for RVSM operations of aircraft with qualified ADS-B Out equipment in lieu of an authorization.

“Replacing the involved process of RVSM authorizations with ADS-B is another benefit of this system that makes operations more efficient, and these documents help clarify how operators can take advantage of the rule change,” said Brian Koester, NBAA senior manager of flight operations and regulations.

ADS-B aircraft that meet “altitude-keeping equipment performance requirements” may operate in U.S.-controlled airspace without a specific RVSM authorization. U.S. operators conducting RVSM operations outside of U.S.-controlled airspace still “must obtain an OpSpec, MSpec or LOA as currently issued under the provisions of Part 91, Appendix G.”

A “qualified ADS-B system” meets the requirements of Section §91.227. “The FAA will continually perform height-keeping performance monitoring on ADS-B Out-equipped flights at RVSM altitudes for all airspace defined in §91.225.”

To operate under Section 9, operators must determine that their ADS-B aircraft are RVSM compliant; ensure that pilots know the current RVSM requirements, policies, and procedures; and ensure that the aircraft altitude-keeping equipment performance meets the ADS-B monitoring standards in AC 91-85, Paragraph 4.3.

“Aircraft, equipment, and crew must still meet RVSM requirements. This new process eliminates waiting on a signature from an FAA Inspector, and should eliminate delays,” added Koester.

Operators pursuing Section 9 ADS-B RVSM operations should notify the North American Approvals Registry and Monitoring Organization of their initial flight using the email template on its website. After initial operations, if the ADS-B aircraft and operator meet RVSM requirements, they should “properly annotate the flight plan in accordance with AC 91-85, Appendix B, Paragraph B.3.”

Monitoring of normal operations is an automatic aspect of the ADS-B system. Initial ADS-B operation in RVSM airspace must occur where the FAA can collect ADS-B data and evaluate RVSM performance. As defined in §91.225(a), this airspace extends from Flight Level 290 to 410.

Operators may confirm complaint performance on the FAA’s NAARMO web page. Learn more.

View the Advisory Circular.

View NBAA’s online ADS-B information resource.