The FAA in 2016 adopted a final rule that eliminates the requirement for operators to apply for a specific RVSM approval when their aircraft are equipped with qualified ADS-B Out systems and meet specific altitude keeping equipment requirements for operations in RVSM airspace. This final rule became effective on January 22 and the agency estimates it will save operators $5,000 per RVSM application.
To summarize the details of this rule, the FAA has issued Information for Operators (InFo) 19003. Included in this guidance is a reminder that an application to operate in RVSM airspace “will no longer be required to develop and submit an RVSM maintenance program solely for the purpose of obtaining an RVSM authorization.” The agency noted that, “because of other, independent FAA airworthiness regulations, all aircraft operators remain required to maintain RVSM equipment in an airworthy condition.”
Operators of U.S.-registered aircraft whose altitude-keeping performance has been evaluated using data collected through ADS-B Out can obtain monitoring performance via an FAA webpage. Operators seeking to fly under the new provisions should refer to Advisory Circular 91-85B, “Authorization of Aircraft and Operator for Flight in RVSM.”