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RVSM Training Booklet Chapter 1

Date 01.02.19 COVER PAGE Edn.1-rev.1



0.1          List of Abbreviations:
ACAS             Airborne Collision Avoidance System
ACC               Area Control Centre
ACH               ATC Flight Plan Change Message
ACI                Area of Common Interest
ACT               Activation Message (OLDI)
ADEP             Aerodrome of Departure
ADES             Aerodrome of Destination
AFIL              Flight Plan Filed in the Air
AFP                ATC Flight Plan Proposal Message
AIC                Aeronautical Information Circular
AIP                 Aeronautical Information Publication
AMC              Airspace Management Cell
ANT               Airspace and Navigation Team
APDSG          ATM Procedures Development Sub-Group
APL                ATC Flight Plan Message (IFPS)
ASE                Altimetry System Error
ATC               Air Traffic Control
ATM              Air Traffic Management
ATS                Air Traffic Service
CDB               Central Data Base
CFL                Cleared Flight Level
CFMU           Central Flow Management Unit
CVSM           Conventional Vertical Separation Minimum
EANPG          European Air Navigation Planning Group
EATCHIP      European Air Traffic Control Harmonisation and Integration Program
ECAC            European Civil Aviation Conference
FAA               Federal Aviation Administration (USA)
FDPS             Flight Data Processing System
FIR                Flight Information Region
FL                  Flight Level
FLAS             Flight Level Allocation Scheme
FMP               Flow Management Position (ACC)
FPL                Flight Plan
GAT               General Air Traffic
GMU             GPS Height Monitoring Unit
GPS                Global Positioning System
HMU             Height Monitoring Unit
ICAO             International Civil Aviation Organization
IFPS               Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System
IFPZ               IFPS Zone
IFR                Instrument Flight Rules
JAA                Joint Aviation Authorities
JAA                AMC JAA Acceptable Means of Compliance
JAR               Joint Aviation Requirements
RFL               Requested Flight Level
RGCSP          Review of the General Concept of Separation Panel
RNAV            Area Navigation
RNP               Required Navigation Performance
RPL               Repetitive Flight Plan
RTF               Radiotelephony
RVSM           Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum of 300 m /1 000 ft Between FL 290 and
FL 410 Inclusive
SARPs           Standards and Recommended Practices
SDB               State Data Base
SSEC             Static Source Error Correction
SSR                Secondary Surveillance Radar
STCA             Short Term Conflict Alert
TA                  Traffic Advisory (ACAS)
TGL               Temporary Guidance Leaflet (JAA)
TLS                Target Level of Safety
TSA                Temporary Segregated Area
TSE                Total System Error
TVE               Total Vertical Error
UAC               Upper Area Control Centre
UIR                Upper Flight Information Region
VFR               Visual Flight Rules
VSM              Vertical Separation Minimum
LoA                Letter of Agreement
MASPS          Minimum Aircraft System Performance Specification
MNPS            Minimum Navigation Performance Specification
MTCD           Medium Term Conflict Detection
NAT               North Atlantic
NAT CMA    North Atlantic Region Central Monitoring Agency
NATSPG       North Atlantic Systems Planning Group
NOTAM        Notice to Airmen
OAT               Operational Air Traffic
OLDI             On-Line Data Interchange
RA                 Resolution Advisory (ACAS)
REJ                Reject message (IFPS)
2.1          BACKGROUND
In the late 1970s, faced with rising fuel costs and growing demands for a
more efficient use of the available airspace, the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) initiated a comprehensive programme
of studies to examine the feasibility of reducing the 2000 ft Vertical
Separation Minimum (VSM) applied above FL 290, to the 1000 ft VSM
used below FL 290. Throughout the 1980s, various studies were
conducted, under the auspices of ICAO, in Canada, Europe, Japan, and
the USA.
The underlyning approach of the programmes was to:
·              determine the height keeping accuracy of the altimetry systems
of the then current aircraft population;
·        establish the causes of observed height keeping errors;
·        determine the required safety levels for the implementation and
use of a Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum of 1000 ft at/above
FL 290;
·              define a Minimum Aircraft System Performance Specification
(MASPS) - for aircraft altimetry and associated height keeping
equipment - which would improve height keeping accuracy to a
standard compatible with the agreed safety requirements for
·              determine whether the global implementation and use of RVSM
was :
1.   technically feasible, subject to the overriding need to satisfy the
agreed safety standards; and
2.   cost beneficial.
The results of these exhaustive studies demonstrated that the global
reduction of vertical separation was safe, feasible - without the
imposition of unduly demanding technical requirements, and cost
The studies also showed that the types of aircraft and the essentially
unidirectional tidal flow of traffic in the North Atlantic (NAT)
Minimum Navigation Performance Specification (MNPS) airspace
made this Region an ideal candidate for the first implementation of
Planning for RVSM in the NAT Region commenced in 1990. The first stage
of the Operational Evaluation phase, using the 1000 ft RVSM, began on
the 27th March 1997 at and between FL 330 and FL 370 inclusive. A
second stage will extend the use of RVSM to between FL 310 and FL
390 inclusive, in October 1998.
From the outset it was clear that the complex nature of the European Air
Traffic Services route structure, characterised by its wide variety of
aircraft types, high traffic density and the high percentage of climbing
and descending aircraft, would be a more demanding environment
than the NAT Region for the implementation of RVSM. Thus safety
considerations were given a high priority in the initial ECAC RVSM
feasibility studies, which were conducted under the auspices of the
EUROCONTROL Airspace and Navigation Team (ANT). These studies
indicated that, subject to aircraft meeting the technical requirements
set out in the MASPS, RVSM could be introduced into the European
Region without prejudice to the required safety standards, and also
that it would provide a positive benefit to cost ratio over a wide range
of assumptions regarding future developments within the European
aviation environment.
2.2          The Need for RVSM
Over the last five years the improvements brought about by the
EUROCONTROL European Air Traffic Control Harmonisation and
Integration Program (EATCHIP) have contained the duration, and
frequency of occurrence, of ATC delays despite a yearly traffic
increase of between 3 to 10%.
However current forecasts indicate that air traffic movements will
continue to rise, and will more than double by 2015 compared to 1996
figures. The anticipated trends are illustrated below:

It is accepted that major changes to the Air Traffic Management (ATM)
systems will be necessary in order to cope with this continued traffic
growth. Of the various measures under consideration, the application
of RVSM is considered to be the most cost-effective means of meeting
this need.
RVSM will provide six additional flight levels for use in the highly
congested airspace between FL 290 to FL 410 inclusive, resulting in
the following benefits:
2.3          Optimum Route Profiles
The availability of the additional flight levels in this altitude band will
allow Operators to plan for, and operate at or closer to, the optimum
vertical route profile for the particular aircraft type. This will provide
fuel economies in terms of both the fuel carried, and the fuel burn, for
the flight. The economies are estimated at between 0.5% and 1% of the
total fuel burn.
2.4          Increased ATC Capacity
A series of ATC Real Time Simulations carried out at the EUROCONTROL
Experimental Centre (EEC) at Bretigny have provided evidence that
RVSM can reduce controller workload. With the same sectorisation
and traffic flow, controller workload in an RVSM environment would
not reach today's levels until an increase in traffic growth of around
20% had been experienced. There is also potential for further growth,
through a revised airspace structure including, for example, the
introduction of additional sectors.
The presence of non-RVSM approved State aircraft flying along the route
network is likely to decrease the expected capacity gains.
2.5          Cost Benefit Assessment
A Cost Benefit Assessment (CBA) of the implementation of RVSM in the
European RVSM Area was conducted by first establishing a "do
nothing" baseline whereby only the capacity gains derived from
existing approved EATCHIP Programs are achieved. In this situation
the anticipated traffic growth would ultimately exceed capacity and
delays and congestion, and the consequent financial penalties would
become increasingly severe over time. The additional capacity, which
will result from the implementation of RVSM, could significantly
reduce these delays and hence generate large benefits.
Assumptions regarding the anticipated traffic growth rates used in the
CBA varied from 1.9% (Low) to 3.1% (Medium) to 3.8 % (High). The use
of midrange values indicated that the implementation of RVSM would
provide a Benefit to Cost ratio of 11:1 over the period 1997 to 2016. As
current European traffic growth rates are at the high end of the above
range, and are expected to remain so over the next decade, there is
every expectation that the quoted benefit to cost ratio can be
3.            RVSM - System Safety Standards
The safety standards appropriate to operations in an European RVSM
environment have been derived from those developed by the ICAO
Review of the General Concept of Separation Panel (RGCSP) in which
the agreed tolerable level of risk is defined as a Target Level of Safety
(TLS) which is expressed in terms of fatal accidents per aircraft flight
hour. Based upon TLS values derived in the 1970s in the establishment
of route spacing, and taking into account the subsequent increases in
traffic, the RGCSP adopted a TLS of 2.5 x 10-9 fatal accidents per
aircraft flight hour as a consequence of technical (altimetry) errors,
for the implementation of RVSM. This TLS was used as the basis of the
development of the Global RVSM MASPS.

In determining whether or not the proposed operations in RVSM airspace

can meet the TLS, it is necessary to estimate the risk of a collision, in
the vertical plane, in that environment. This is done by modelling the
operational characteristics of the particular airspace together with the
navigation performance and the physical dimensions associated with
the expected aircraft population.
This is based on the Reich Collision Risk Model (CRM) shown
diagramatically in figure 2. The output provides an estimate of the
level of risk of a mid-air collision as a consequence of a failure of
some element of the airspace system. In the RVSM case, the failure
would be the loss of vertical separation as a result of a technical error.
The key parameters in the modelling of RVSM operations are:
·               the height keeping accuracy of the aircraft population;
·               the aircraft passing frequency - which is a means of quantifying the
traffic density of the given airspace;
·               the lateral track keeping accuracy of the aircraft population.
Note 1: As track keeping accuracy improves, the risk of collision in the
vertical plane between aircraft following the same track
increases, and this places increased demands upon the vertical
Note 2: In the European Region, a modified version of the Reich CRM
will be used. This will combine the passing frequency and track
keeping accuracy parameters into a
"Lateral Plan Overlaps per Aircraft Flight Hour "parameter. This is
necessary because of the amount of crossing traffic experienced in
In the planning for RVSM operations in the NAT Region, the North Atlantic
Systems Planning Group (NATSPG) adopted the RGCSP
recommendations but also decided to increase the scope of the TLS to
include an allowance for the risk of a mid-air collision as a
consequence of a height deviation caused by "operational errors".
Thus a further risk budget of 2.5 x 10-9 fatal accidents per aircraft
flight hour was added to give an overall TLS of 5 x 10-9 fatal acci dents
per aircraft flight hour relating to all possible causes of height
deviation.The overall TLS, and the underlying philosophy was
approved by the ANT for application in the European RVSM Airspace.
The assessment of the system safety confirmed that, taking due account of
the expected growth of traffic in the European Airspace, a 300m (1000
ft) VSM was technically feasible, subject to:
·               the mandatory carriage of the altimetry and height keeping
systems, which comply with the MASPS, by all aircraft operating in
the RVSM airspace;
·               new operational procedures; and
·               the establishment of a comprehensive means of monitoring the safe
operation of the system.
3.1          RVSM - Implementation Programme
The Program consists of a series of coordinated activities, performed
within the EUROCONTROL Agency, ICAO, JAA, Participating States and
User Organisations.

To-date the program has followed the general strategy set out in the ICAO
Doc. 9574 - Manual on the Implementation of RVSM, which proposed a
multi-step approach within four distinct phases:
Phase 1: Initial Planning
·               Step 1: Assessment of System Safety
·               Step 2: Assessment of Costs and Benefits from RVSM
·               Step 3: Elaboration of program plans and production of technical
This phase was completed in June 1997. The EATCHIP Project Board
reviewed the progress made on the RVSM Program and recommended
that work should continue so that full implementation can be
achieved on the target date of November 2001.
This phase was completed by the endorsement of the program by the ICAO
European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG) in December 1997.
Phase 2: Advanced Planning and
In this phase the emphasis of the work program will move from the theory
and initial design of the total system to the practical application and
introduction of the system requirements.
The objectives of this phase are:
·               Step 1: to commence the preparation of the ATS environment for
RVSM operations.
·               Step 2: to prepare the aircraft for RVSM operations.
·               Step 3: to prepare a monitoring environment to allow confirmation
of the technical performance of aircraft.
Steps 2 and 3 above will allow Phase 3 to start. Step 1 above has to be
complete before RVSM (Phase 4) can be implemented.
Phase 3: Verification of Aircraft
The purpose of the Verification Phase is to confirm, in a 2000 ft vertical
separation environment:
·               the effectiveness of the RVSM approval process;
·               the efficacy of the MASPS, by measuring the height keeping
performance accuracy of the maximum possible number of aircraft
which have obtained RVSM airworthiness approval;
·               that the safety levels of the proposed 1000 ft RVSM system will
remain at, or better than, that established by the TLS.
This phase will continue until all aspects of the work program necessary
to the successful completion of the verification process, and to the
introduction of RVSM, have been completed. This is expected to take
approximately one year.
Phase 4: Introduction of RVSM
The introduction of RVSM does not mark the end to the Program. This phase
will be used to confirm that:
·               all elements of the total system are operating satisfactorily, and
·               the level of "vertical" risk in the system is below that tolerated by
the TLS.
This phase will support the resolution of any operational issues, which
might be revealed following the implementation of 1,000 ft VSM.
Phase 4 will continue until it is possible to confirm that the long-term
safety of 1,000 ft VSM can be assured without further monitoring.
Figure 3 is the presently proposed timetable for the introduction of RVSM.
The ability to meet this timescale depends on all stakeholders being
able to complete the tasks for which they are responsible in sufficient
3.2          Key Elements of the RVSM Program
This section provides a summary of the key elements of the future work
program to implement RVSM in the airspace of the European Member
States and other Participating States
3.2.1       Aircraft Requirements    Approval For RVSM Operations
To operate in the notified European RVSM Airspace, both the Operator and
the aircraft will need to be RVSM approved. This approval consists of:
1.              RVSM Airworthiness Approval. This is the approval granted by the
State Authority to indicate that an aircraft has been modified and/or
inspected in compliance with the applicable approval criteria (eg.
Service Bulletin, Supplemental Type Certificate), and is therefore
eligible for monitoring as part of the Verification Phase.
2.        RVSM Operational Approval. This is the approval granted by the State
Authority to the Operator to indicate that:
·               the aircraft holds RVSM airworthiness approval;
·               the operating procedures and continued air worthiness procedures
(maintenance and repair procedures) are acceptable; and,
·               the approval of an Operations Manual, where required.
Approval criteria for RVSM Operations will be stated in JAA Temporary
Guidance Leaflet No. 6 (due to be published in spring 1998). The
basic technical criteria of this leaflet will be identical to that
previously published in JAA Information Leaflet No. 23, which it
replaces, and will be the JAA MASPS for RVSM.    Airspace and ATC Requirements Airspace Organization
Work is in progress to define the airspace requirements for RVSM
operations. These requirements can be divided into three distinct but
overlapping packages:
·               The definition of the continuous area of RVSM applicability.
Note: ICAO have urged non-ECAC States with an operational
interface with the ECAC area, in particular those which would
make the RVSM area an operationally coherent and acceptable
airspace, to work closely with ECAC States to introduce RVSM
within the same timescales through active participation in related
RVSM activities.
·               The evaluation of the impact of RVSM on the Route Network and
the adaptation, as required, of the Route Network and associated
Flight Level Allocation System.
·               The adaptation, as required, of the airspace structure and ATC
sectors. ATC Procedures
The development of ATC Operational Procedures for the European RVSM
airspace is being finalised. The main areas of work are:
·               Flight Planning Procedures
·               Contingency Procedures
·               Transition Procedures
·               Procedures for handling non-RVSM approved State aircraft
These procedures, once endorsed, will be the basis for the development of
an RVSM Operations Manual and ATC Training Syllabi to support
RVSM. ATC System Support Facilities
Two items have been assessed as having significant safety implications:
·               To permit operations by non-RVSM approved State aircraft, ATC will
be obliged to apply two distinct vertical separation minima within
RVSM airspace.
·               ATC will need to ensure that non-RVSM approved aircraft, other
than State aircraft, are not cleared into the RVSM airspace.
An accurate, timely and unambiguous display of information to the
controller will be necessary to ensure the safe handling of this mix of
aircraft in the RVSM airspace. The safe application of RVSM will
require procedures for handling non-RVSM approved State aircraft.
Operation of these procedures requires the provision of specialised
ATC system support tools which:
·               ensure that ATC can readily identify the non-RVSM approved State
aircraft and can apply 2000 ft vertical separation from other
aircraft; and
·               prevent increased controller workload created by the handling of
non-RVSM approved State aircraft.
Dependent upon the nature of the sector, the means of meeting these
requirements could include the modification of the controller’s
display. This requirement could be one of the critical tasks of the
3.2.2       Monitoring Requirements
A prerequisite for the implementation of RVSM is the monitoring of the
overall system performance to ensure that the system safety targets
·               achieved - during the Verification phase; and
·               maintained - once full implementation has been introduced.
The monitoring process is based upon the application of the principles of
the traditional Reich Collision Risk Model which employs data inputs
on airspace and aircraft parameters in order to model operations in
the particular airspace. The most important of these parameters, and
the most difficult and costly to acquire, is an accurate measurement of
the height keeping performance of the aircraft population.
Currently there are two accepted methods of obtaining the necessary data.
·               Height Monitoring Unit (HMU). This is a fixed ground based system
which employs a network of a Master and 4 Slave Stations to receive
aircraft SSR Mode A/C signals to establish the three dimensional
position of the aircraft. The geometric height of the aircraft is
measured to an accuracy of 50 ft (1 Standard Deviation (SD)). This is
compared, in near real time, with meteorological input data on the
geometric height of the assigned Flight (Pressure) Level to obtain a
measurement of the Total Vertical Error (TVE) of the target aircraft.
The aircraft SSR Mode C data is also recorded to determine the
extent of any Assigned Altitude Deviation (AAD) and for subsequent
aircraft identification, when the SSR Mode S response is not
·               GPS Monitoring Unit (GMU). A GMU is a portable "box" (contained
in a carry case approximately 45 x 40 x 30 cm3) which contains a
GPS receiver and a device for storing the GPS three dimensional
position data, and two separate GPS receiver antenna's which need
to be attached to aircraft windows using suction pads. The GMU is
positioned on board the candidate aircraft and, being battery
powered, functions independently of the aircraft systems. Following
the flight, the recorded GPS data are sent back to a central site
where, using differential post processing, aircraft geometric height
is determined.
It is intended that the European Monitoring System should be a hybrid
system of HMUs and GMUs, which makes optimum use of the
advantages offered, by each system. Thus the strategic characteristics
of the HMU - providing a predictable rate of collection of high quality
data with relatively high installation and low maintenance/ongoing
operating costs - can be blended with the tactical flexibility of the
GMU which permits the targeting of specific aircraft at a low initial
purchase price, and relatively high operating costs in both manpower
and logistics.

It is planned that there should be four European HMUs (three new
facilities plus the Strumble HMU, which was sited for the monitoring
of the NAT traffic). The new HMUs have been positioned so as to
obtain the maximum number of measurements of aircraft operating
on their normal routes, as shown in figure 5. The primary means of
monitoring the aircraft of those operators whose routes do not pass
near to an HMU, will be a GMU. In some cases it may be necessary to
request an Operator to make a minor deviation from the normal route
in order to overfly an HMU. Routing an aircraft over an HMU during a
non-revenue flight (eg. maintenance) is another alternative.
All data from the HMUs and GMUs will be collected and processed at a
designated Monitoring Cell. The anticipated functions of the Cell will
·               maintaining a data base of aircraft approvals and measured height
keeping performance;
·               analysis of height keeping performance data to:
1.        initiate appropriate follow up action with the Operator of any aircraft
having a large height keeping error (eg. more than 300 ft); and
2.        attempt to establish the cause of any large deviations.
·               execution of such measures as necessary to confirm that action has
been taken to correct the cause of the deviation;
·               assessment and evaluation of the risk of collision (in the vertical
plane) in the RVSM airspace;
·               provision of periodic reports on the safety of the system to the
designated authority.

3.3          Action Necessary to Support the Successful implementation of RVSM

3.3.1       Action by State Authorities whose aircraft fly into the RVSM Area:
·               To meet the proposed timetable, States should take such action as
necessary to require that all non-State aircraft, which will operate
in the European RVSM area, obtain the appropriate RVSM
airworthiness approval by mid 2000 and be approved for RVSM
operations by the third quarter of 2001.
·               Following the publication of the JAA TGL No. 6, State Airworthiness
Authorities should make available the necessary resources and
documentation to publicise and facilitate the process whereby
Operators can obtain airworthiness and operational approval for
RVSM operations.
·               To complete the many tasks listed earlier, it is essential that the
aviation authorities of all ECAC Member States and other
Participating States are fully involved in, and commit a high level of
support to:
1.         the consultative and decision making processes;
2.                the planning and provision of the ATC and monitoring
infrastructure required to support RVSM operations, specifically
within their area of responsibility and generally throughout the
European area; of particular importance is the provision of the
necessary ATC support tools and facilities to allow RVSM to be
introduced in November 2001;
3.                the siting, provision and operation of the monitoring facilities by
those states hosting the HMUs.
3.3.2       Action by Airlines
Airlines who intend to operate their aircraft in the future European RVSM
airspace should:
·               take such action as necessary to obtain appropriate RVSM
approvals from the appropriate State Authority before aircraft
performance verification commences. This is essential to the
successful completion of the Verification Phase and to the timely
implementation of RVSM;
·               co-operate, to the maximum extent possible, in ensuring that their
aircraft are routed over an HMU, or are measured by a GMU, during
the Verification Phase;
·               co-ordinate with Manufacturers to prepare, and make available,
RVSM airworthiness approval packages.
4.1          Introduction
Flight crews will need to have an awareness of the criteria for operating in
RVSM airspace and be trained accordingly. The items should be
standardised and incorporated into training programs and operating
practices and procedures. Certain items may already be adequately
standardised in existing procedures. New technology may also remove
the need for certain actions required of the flight crew. If this is so,
then the intent of this manual can be considered to be met.
Note: This document is written for Airlines who uses RVSM airspace,
and as such is designed to present all required actions.
4.2          General
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum in the EUR RVSM Airspace will
permit the application of a 1000 ft vertical separation minimum
between suitably equipped aircraft in the level band FL290-FL410
(inclusive) on 24/01/02.
The purpose of RVSM is to increase airspace capacity and provide airspace
users with more flight levels and thus optimised flight profiles.

EURO RVSM AREA                                          RVSM CRUISING FLIGHT LEVELS

* Non RVSM levels
4.3          Approval for RVSM Operations
Only RVSM approved aircraft will be permitted to operate within the EUR
Airspace. The approval is issued to aircraft operators by the responsible
authority once an operator has achieved the following:
·               each aircraft type has received airworthiness approval
demonstrating compliance with the RVSM Minimum Aircraft
System Performance Specification (MASPS),
·               the State's approval of both the operations manual and the
maintenance procedures  specific to RVSM operations.
4.4          Non-RVSM Approved State Aircraft
State aircraft are exempted from having to meet the RVSM MASPS. As a
consequence, State aircraft can be accommodated in the EUR RVSM
airspace provided that ATC maintains a minimum vertical separation
of 2000 ft between such aircraft and all other IFR aircraft. In Field 18
of the ICAO FPL, State aircraft shall then request special handling by
filling “ STS/NONRVSM” .
4.5          Height Monitoring Principles
Comprehensive means of monitoring the height-keeping performance of
aircraft in the EUR RVSM Airspace has been developed utilising two
types of monitoring equipment:
Height Monitoring Units (HMUs) - fixed ground based height-monitoring
facilities at Linz, Nattenheim & Geneva which monitor passing aircraft
normally without action from aircraft operators;
GPS Monitoring Units (GMUs) - portable monitoring units carried on board
aircraft to supplement HMUs & monitor aircraft which are not
normally flying over HMUs
RVSM compliant aircraft are required to participate in the monitoring
program which will commence in Spring 2000. In some cases, aircraft
may request a re-routing so that they may be height monitored.
4.6          RVSM Procedures in Transition Areas
A number of FIR/UIRs in the EUR RVSM Airspace have been designated to
handle the transition of aircraft from an RVSM to a non-RVSM
environment and vice-versa. Within this “EUR RVSM Transition
Airspace”, special procedures will allow ATC to transition both RVSM
and non-RVSM Civil and State aircraft. Flight crews may expect to
change from Conventional Flight Levels to RVSM Flight Levels and
vice- versa. ATC will continue to provide a 2,000 feet VSM between a
non-RVSM approved aircraft and any other aircraft.
4.7          Aircraft Equipment
The minimum equipment list (MEL) fulfilling the MASPS consists of :
1.   Two independent altitude measurement systems each equipped with:
·               cross-coupled static/source system with ice protection if located in
areas subject to ice accretion,
·               display of the computed pressure altitude to the flight crew,
·               digital encoding of the displayed altitude
·               signals referenced to a pilot selected altitude for automatic altitude
control and alerting,
·               Static source error correction.
2.    One SSR transponder with an altitude reporting system in use for
altitude keeping.
3.   An altitude alerting system.
4.   An automatic altitude control system.
4.8          Contingency Procedures
1.              the pilot shall notify ATC of any contingency (equipmentfailure,
weather hazards such as severe turbulence etc…) which affect the
ability to maintain the cleared level or the RVSM requirements (eg.
2.              ATC may take appropriate tactical actions to ensure that safe
separation is maintained, including reversion to a 2000ft separation
3.        when notified by ATC of an assigned altitude deviation of more than
300 ft (90 m), the pilot shall take action to return to the cleared level as
quickly as possible.
4.        If unable to notify ATC, the pilot shall follow established contingency
procedures and obtain ATC clearance ASAP.
5.        Examples of equipment failures which should be notified to ATC are:
·               failure of all automatic altitude-control systems aboard the aircraft;
·                loss of redundancy of altimetry systems;
·                loss of thrust on an engine necessitating descent; or
·                any other equipment failure affecting the ability to maintain
cleared flight level;
The pilot should notify ATC when encountering greater than moderate
turbulence. If unable to notify ATC and obtain an ATC clearance prior
to deviating from the cleared flight level, the pilot should follow any
established contingency procedures and obtain ATC clearance as soon
as possible.
4.9          ACAS
TCAS Version 6.04A is designed for a non-RVSM environment. ACAS II
(TCAS Version 7.0) has improved compatibility with RVSM. The
Mandatory Carriage and Operation of ACAS II for aircraft above 15000
kgs and more than 30 passengers started on 1 January 2000 with a
transition period ending in March 2001.
4.10        Flight Planning
Flight crews shall verify:
·               the condition of the equipment required for RVSM operations and
that maintenance actions have been taken to correct defects,
·               the condition of static sources,
·               the altimetry accuracy by setting the QNH or the QFE. The reading
should then agree with the altitude of the apron or the zero height
indication within a 75ft (23m) tolerance.
4.11        Pre-Flight Procedures
The following actions should be accomplished during the pre-flight
·               review technical logs and forms to determine the condition of
equipment required for flight in the RVSM airspace. Ensure that
maintenance action has been taken to correct defects to required
·               during the external inspection of aircraft, particular attention
should be paid to the condition of static sources and the condition of
the fuselage skin near each static source and any other component
that affects altimetry system accuracy. This check may be
accomplished by a qualified and authorised person other than the
pilot (e.g. a ground engineer);
·               before takeoff, the aircraft altimeters should be set to the QNH of
the airfield and should display a known altitude, within the limits
specified in the aircraft operating manuals. The two primary
altimeters should also agree within limits specified by the aircraft
operating manual. An alternative procedure using QFE may also be
used. Any required functioning checks of altitude indicating
systems should be performed.
Note. The maximum value for these checks should not exceed 23m (75ft).
·               Before take-off, equipment required for flight in RVSM airspace
should be operative, and any indications of malfunction should be
The flight crew shall pay particular attention to conditions that may affect
operation in RVSM airspace:
·               verifying that the aircraft is RVSM approved, ie compliant with the
·               analysing the reported and forecast weather that may affect RVSM
requirements (turbulence, icing …),
·               reviewing the manufacturer's and the operator's restrictions
concerning RVSM operations.
·               ICAO FPL : the letter W shall be inserted in Field 10 if RVSM
·               RPL : the letter W shall be inserted in Item EQPT/ if RVSM approved,
regardless of the requested FL.
4.12        Procedures Prior To RVSM Airspace Entry
The following equipment should be operating normally at entry into
RVSM airspace:
·               Two primary altitude measurement systems.
·               One automatic altitude-control system.
·               One altitude-alerting device.
Note: Dual equipment requirements for altitude-control systems will be
established by regional agreement after an evaluation of criteria such as mean
time between failures, length of flight segments and availability of direct pilot-
controller communications and radar surveillance.
·               Operating Transponder. An operating transponder may not be
required for entry into all designated RVSM airspace. The operator
should determine the requirement for an operational transponder
in each RVSM area where operations are intended. The operator
should also determine the transponder requirements for transition
areas next to RVSM airspace.
Note: Should any of the required equipment fail prior to the aircraft entering
RVSM airspace, the pilot should request a new clearance to avoid entering
this airspace;
4.13        In-Flight Procedures
·               all the required equipment shall be monitored to ensure
satisfactory operation before and within RVSM airspace.
·               when changing levels, the aircraft should not overshoot or
undershoot the cleared flight level by more than 150 ft (45 m).
·               the automatic altitude control system shall be engaged during level
cruise by reference to one of the two altimeters. If fitted, the altitude
capture feature shall be used whenever possible for the level off
·               cross checks of the primary altimeters shall be made at intervals of
approximately one hour. These primary altimeters shall agree
within 200’(60m).
The following practices should be incorporated into flight crew training
and procedures:
·               Flight crews will need to comply with any aircraft operating
restrictions, if required for the specific aircraft group, e.g. limits on
indicated Mach number, given in the RVSM airworthiness approval.
·               Emphasis should be placed on promptly setting the sub-scale on all
primary and standby altimeters to 1013.2 (hPa) /29.92 in.Hg when
passing the transition altitude, and rechecking for proper altimeter
setting when reaching the initial cleared flight level;
·               In level cruise it is essential that the aircraft is flown at the cleared
flight level. This requires that particular care is taken to ensure that
ATC clearances are fully understood and followed. The aircraft
should not intentionally depart from cleared flight level without a
positive clearance from ATC unless the crew are conducting
contingency or emergency manoeuvres;
·               When changing levels, the aircraft should not be allowed to
overshoot or undershoot the cleared flight level by more than 45 m
(150 ft);
Note: It is recommended that the level off be accomplished using the altitude capture
feature of the automatic altitude-control system, if installed.
·               An automatic altitude-control system should be operative and
engaged during level cruise, except when circumstances such as the
need to re-trim the aircraft or turbulence require disengagement. In
any event, adherence to cruise altitude should be done by reference
to one of the two primary altimeters. Following loss of the
automatic height keeping function, any consequential restrictions
will need to be observed.
·               Ensure that the altitude-alerting system is operative;
·               At intervals of approximately one hour, cross-checks between the
primary altimeters should be made. A minimum of two will need to
agree within ±60 m (±200 ft). Failure to meet this condition will
require that the altimetry system be reported as defective and
notified to ATC;
·               The usual scan of flight deck instruments should suffice for
altimeter cross-checking on most flights.
·               Before entering RVSM airspace, the initial altimeter cross check of
primary and standby altimeters should be recorded
Note: Some systems may make use of automatic altimeter comparators.
·               In normal operations, the altimetry system being used to control
the aircraft should be selected for the input to the altitude reporting
transponder transmitting information to ATC.
·               If the pilot is advised in real time that the aircraft has been
identified by a height-monitoring system as exhibiting a TVE greater
than ±90 m (±300 ft) and/or an ASE greater than ±75 m (±245 ft) then
the pilot should follow established regional procedures to protect
the safe operation of the aircraft. This assumes that the monitoring
system will identify the TVE or ASE within the set limits for
·               If the pilot is notified by ATC of an assigned altitude deviation
which exceeds ±90 m (±300 ft) then the pilot should take action to
return to cleared flight level as quickly as possible.
4.14        Post Flight
·               In making technical log entries against malfunctions in height
keeping systems, the pilot should provide sufficient detail to enable
maintenance to effectively troubleshoot and repair the system. The
pilot should detail the actual defect and the crew action taken to try
to isolate and rectify the fault.
The following information should be recorded when appropriate:
·               Primary and standby altimeter readings.
·               Altitude selector setting.
·               Subscale setting on altimeter.
·               Autopilot used to control the aeroplane and any differences when
an alternative autopilot system was selected.
·               Differences in altimeter readings, if alternate static ports selected.
·               Use of air data computer selector for fault diagnosis procedure.
·               The transponder selected to provide altitude information to ATC
and any difference noted when an alternative transponder was
5.            PHRASEOLOGY

RVSM Booklet                                        Date 01.02.19sb                                   Page 22 of 22