The FAA has enacted a rule to eliminate the requirement for operators to apply for an RVSM authorization when their aircraft are equipped with ADS–B Out systems. This final rule, proposed in August 2017, "recognizes the enhancements in aircraft monitoring resulting from the use of ADS–B Out systems and responds to requests to eliminate the burden and expense of the current RVSM application process,” the agency said. All 16 comments submitted on the NPRM supported the proposal.
“Continual monitoring enabled by ADS–B Out provides increased height-keeping performance data on an individual aircraft basis and enables the FAA to identify poor altimetry system error (ASE) performance sooner, allowing quicker mitigation of any risk posed by poor-performing aircraft,” the FAA said.
An FAA analysis of 22,154 U.S.-registered RVSM-approved airplanes estimates that 99.9 percent of those aircraft operate within the specified ASE containment standards, and the target level of safety in the national airspace has been met every year since 2003, when RVSM operations started.
Operators of ADS–B Out-equipped aircraft will be able to begin RVSM operations immediately when the new rule is effective on January 22. The RVSM application process itself will in effect be eliminated entirely after Jan. 1, 2020 when all aircraft intending to operate in RVSM and other controlled airspace must be ADS-B equipped.
The FAA estimates this ability to operate without filing an application will lower costs (estimated at $1,630 per aircraft for smaller Part 91 and 135 operators) and eliminate the delay caused during the processing of an application for authorization.