As of November 25, Indonesia implemented reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) between FL 350 and FL 390. After an initial three-month evaluation trial and favorable safety assessment, flight levels possibly will be expanded to include FL 310 to FL 390.
The FAA plans to begin a safety evaluation of domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) next month in an effort to show that the planned transition in U.S. airspace can be made without risk. FAA officials said the agency still plans to issue an NPRM in the spring that would reduce vertical airspace separation between FL 350 and FL 390 from the current 2,000 ft to 1,000 ft.
November 21 marks the start of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in China’s airspace from FL291 to FL411. That differs from RVSM in much of the rest of the world, where the airspace stretches from FL290 to FL410. China selected the odd flight levels because its military, which controls the country’s airspace, uses metric flight levels.
It was 4:45 p.m. on the back nine of a long day. Frankly, I was a bit concerned that I’d embarrass myself taking the King Schools online RVSM pilot’s training course. The $199 course meets FAA requirements for the crew training portion of RVSM certification. John King told me that I should be able to complete it in an hour or less,
but I was skeptical.
Eurocontrol has confirmed it will definitely proceed with next year’s January 24 deadline for implementation of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in European airspace. The new 1,000-ft separation will apply between FL 290 and FL 410. Noncompliant aircraft (regardless of their state of registry) will be excluded from these flight levels.
Eurocontrol is evaluating proposals to introduce new “charging volumes for airspace” in which different ATC fees would apply for using different parts of Europe’s airspace. This would result in operators paying higher rates for using lower flight levels and particularly busy airspace sectors, such as those in southeast England.
Just about everything written so far about domestic RVSM seems to be focused on ways operators can comply with the upcoming requirements by next year’s January 20 deadline. But what about business aircraft operators who have no intention–at least not right away–of spending the thousands of dollars for equipment upgrades, Service Bulletins, aircraft skin mapping and DRVSM flight checks?
In an alarming disclosure, the FAA last month released figures showing that only about two-thirds of all U.S.-registered business jets have received approval to fly in RVSM airspace despite the planned nationwide implementation of the new operating rules less than two months from now.
By most accounts, the start of reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) standards in North America a little over a month ago was a relatively smooth transition, even for business aircraft operators who had opted not to gain approval before the January 20 implementation date.
Whether pilots notice any difference remains open to debate, but anyone cruising in the upper flight levels over North America should at least be aware that they are passing much closer to other airplanes now that the mandate for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) is in force.