RVSM, One Week In...

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Smooth Transition Reported

Domestic RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums) took effect in the airspace above the U.S. one week ago, today, and (so far) the transition seems to have gone without glitches and even (which is harder to believe) with hardly any griping. "Everything went pretty smoothly. It was basically a non-event," National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) spokesman Dan Hubbard told AVweb on Tuesday. "We're satisfied with how RVSM has gone into effect." At 0401 EST last Thursday, aircraft that had not complied with FAA requirements for equipment and authorization were transitioned out of the airspace between Flight Levels 290 and 410. Aircraft in compliance were transitioned to make use of the six new high-altitude routes. The changes took effect at the same time above Canada, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. RVSM allows properly equipped and FAA-authorized aircraft to fly at vertical separations of 1,000 feet instead of 2,000 feet, in RVSM airspace. The FAA says the change will save the airlines $5.3 billion over the next decade. The International Civil Aviation Organization said the transition was without incident across the hemisphere. The NBAA reminded pilots that equipment suffix changes for FAA flight plans took effect with the implementation of RVSM. Check the FAA's Notice to Airmen to see if you're a Q or a W.