Pilots flying in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) monitoring airspace will soon find themselves becoming familiar with another new compliance standard, as well as a new acronym, AGHME. This stands for Aircraft Geometric Height Measurement Element, and Nov. 18, 2012, is the final day to demonstrate compliance with a revised FAA rule on RVSM.
According to an NBAA story from the July/August Business Aviation Insider, the revision evolved after numerous incidents in which aircraft were found out of compliance with current RVSM standards. The new requirement means operators flying within RVSM airspace must be able to verify and record height-measurement details every two years or within 1,000 flight-hour intervals. The rule requires at least two airplanes for each type a flight department operates, or each specific aircraft with a single type.
Operators have a choice of three different methods of demonstrating compliance. One involves carrying a GPS monitoring unit onboard the aircraft during normal flight operations. Another requires mode S-equipped aircraft to overfly specific AGHME positions in North America, where actual altitudes can be measured and discrepancies noted. European flying offers operators a chance to use any of three GPS-based monitoring units (GMUs) in the region to verify altitudes.