Effective January 5, when filing an FAA flight plan (with the exception of filing through DUATS and flight service stations), RVSM-compliant operators are expected to file “/Q” (RVSM with a FMS or GPS) or “/W” (RVSM without FMS and GPS), as appropriate, for flight in RVSM airspace (between FL290 and FL410 inclusive).
Reduced Vertical Separation Minima
The scene at a recent aviation trade show illustrates perfectly what has become an industry-wide dilemma. An avionics sales representative had just finished giving a seasoned flight department manager a nearly hour-long sneak preview of his employer’s newest retrofit cockpit system.
Latin America adopted reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) on January 20, along with the rest of the Americas, and the transition to date in Brazil has been relatively smooth, according to national officials.
“There were no major problems on January 20,” said Saulo Jose da Silva of Brazil’s Department of Air Traffic Control.
An operational alert NBAA published last month requires some clarification. The alert said, “Some operators have misinterpreted climb and descent guidance for operations in RVSM airspace and have been incorrectly restricting the aircraft climb/descent rate to 1,000 fpm at all times when in RVSM airspace.”
Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S), an Exton, Pa. company that has been active in designing and providing RVSM upgrade kits for business aircraft and, more recently, electronic flight displays for a variety of military and cargo aircraft, announced its first formal electronic flight display retrofit project for business airplanes.
A buyout earlier this year by senior company executives has triggered Swiss aircraft instrument maker Revue Thommen’s aggressive entry into the U.S. market, as the 152-year-old company seeks to lure buyers on the opposite side of the Atlantic with a mix of high-quality, low-cost avionics.
Avcon Industries’ RVSM package for Learjet 35s and 36s recently received certification and installations are under way. Meanwhile, the Olathe, Kan. company said that more than 125 installations have been completed since it received an STC early last year for its RVSM package for the Learjet 20 series.
ABC Taxi Aéreo, the executive jet service controlled by Brazilian industrial conglomerate Algar, recently acquired Belo Horizonte-based jet maintenance company Alfa Manutenção de Aeronaves. With the acquisition, ABC will expand its maintenance operations beyond turboprops and into jets. ABC expects to have 25 percent of the turboprop maintenance market and 25 percent of the jet maintenance market share by year-end.
More than eight months after the start of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in North America, about 70 percent of U.S.-registered business aircraft are approved for RVSM operations, and only four models have achieved 100-percent fleet compliance, according to data provided by technical consulting firm CSSI.
Twin Commander Aircraft has received an STC for three RVSM equipment packages for the turboprop twin series. One package comprises dual Meggitt Magic EFIS installations; another package consists of a dual digital altimeter and autopilot interface; and the third option is a hybrid composed of a pilot-side Magic EFIS and IS&S digital altimeter on the copilot’s side.