The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed action intended to streamline the process for granting reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) authorization to operators with aircraft equipped with certain automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) out systems.
The proposal, published this week in the Federal Register, says operators would not be required to obtain specific authorization to fly their aircraft in RVSM airspace if the aircraft have ADS-B Out systems and meet other altitude-keeping requirements.
RVSM airspace, in which vertical separation between aircraft flying above 29,000 ft is reduced from a minimum of 2,000 ft to 1,000 ft, was first introduced in 1997 in an effort to increase airspace capacity and save fuel.
Under current requirements, operators must “prove their aircraft design satisfied RVSM performance requirements and that they have policies and procedures for the safe conduct of RVSM operations before the FAA approves their RVSM authorization,” the FAA said. “Until recently, they also had to have a separate program to maintain RVSM systems and equipment.”
The FAA said its proposed changes would allow the agency to “leverage the technology in ADS-B Out systems to monitor altitude-keeping performance on RVSM-capable aircraft whenever they fly in U.S. ADS-B airspace.”
The FAA said it would accept public comments on the proposed change until Sept. 6.