The FAA’s requirement that business aircraft operators obtain letters of authorization (LOAs) for flight in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace is causing not only enormous wastes of fuel but safety problems as well, according to feedback from AIN readers. Other operations require LOAs such as PRnav, BRnav, RNP, MNPS, ADS-B and maintenance authorizations such as the MEL, but extended delays by the FAA in approving RVSM LOAs are presenting serious safety and environmental issues, according to operators and NBAA.
Business aircraft operators are frustrated that the FAA takes so long–months in many cases–to sign off Letters of Authorization (LOA), principally for RVSM operations. One operator has been waiting five months for an LOA after a Falcon changed ownership in April; this jet is flown and maintained by the same crew, and it was already N registered and RVSM approved before the sale. The operator recently nearly declared an emergency because he wasn’t allowed to climb above 29,000 feet and was facing a line of thunderstorms.
A curious conundrum is causing confusion for international business jet operators flying to countries where ADS-B out equipment and capability is mandatory. While there is no requirement in the U.S. and Europe for operators to have a letter of authorization (LOA) for using ADS-B out equipment, some Asia-Pacific countries are requiring that operators carry an LOA with their aircraft’s paperwork when operating in airspace where ADS-B out is required. The problem is that asking FAA inspectors to add yet another LOA package to their overburdened workflows further delays issuance.