NBAA Supports Proposed Rule to Ease RVSM Maintenance Program Approval

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, May 28, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would eliminate a costly and time-consuming requirement for operators to develop and submit a separate maintenance program for equipment required to operate in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace (at altitudes between FL290 and FL410).

The NPRM follows a joint industry-agency effort between NBAA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to streamline requirements for business aviation operators seeking RVSM approvals.

Currently, FAR Part 91 operators seeking RVSM approval must develop, and submit to their local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), a separate maintenance program for RVSM-related equipment in addition to other aircraft maintenance requirements. However, the proliferation and acceptance of RVSM-related equipment on board business aircraft have made that requirement a costly and time-consuming redundancy for both operators and FSDO inspectors.

“RVSM was brand new when the initial rule was implemented in 2005, and the FAA initially took a deliberately cautious approach toward maintaining this critical – and, at the time, largely unfamiliar – equipment,” said Mark Larsen, NBAA senior manager of safety and flight operations. “Today, RVSM is an integral and recognized aspect of aircraft systems, with required maintenance on this equipment covered by other approved regular-maintenance programs and regulations.”

As early as 2008, NBAA met with FAA representatives to determine ways to streamline the RVSM application process and to lower operators’ burden to obtain authorization. Those meetings led to the formation of the RVSM Process Enhancement Team (PET) in 2012 to review existing authorization policies and guidance, and make recommendations outside the formal rulemaking process to streamline RVSM approval requirements where appropriate. These efforts culminated in the January 2014 release of enhanced RVSM authorization approval guidance for FAA inspectors. Learn more about these changes to RVSM approvals.

“We never formally asked the FAA to remove the maintenance program approval requirement because the FAA told us at the beginning of the PET’s work that rulemaking would not be possible at that time,” said David Norton, an aviation attorney with Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton, LLP and industry co-chair on the RVSM PET. “However, the FAA realized over the course of our discussions that this requirement had become redundant, and that idea continued to percolate over time. It now has come to fruition in conjunction with the PET’s continuing work on amending Advisory Circular 91-85 to be consistent with the updated guidance issued in January 2014.”

The FAA estimates that the eased requirement would save operators approximately $14.1 million in the first year following adoption of the rule, based on a published cost of $5,000 for operators to submit an RVSM maintenance program for FAA approval. It would also free up 33,852 hours of FAA safety inspectors’ time, according to the NPRM.

“We encourage our Members to comment favorably on this NPRM, as it is truly a beneficial change that eases requirements for operators while maintaining safety throughout RVSM airspace,” said Larsen.

Review the full NPRM. (PDF)


Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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