Are You Ready For DRVSM?

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Ready or not, domestic RVSM (DRVSM) is coming soon, to a flight level near you. In this case, “soon” means Jan. 20, 2005, at 901 UTC and, despite what you might have heard, the FAA’s postponement of this date isn’t likely. After Jan. 20, your aircraft must be RVSM-compliant if you want to use major chunks of the high-altitude airspace. Most turboprops and just about all piston-powered FLIBs need not apply. The goal of RVSM is to reduce the vertical separation between FL290 and FL410 inclusive from the current 2000-foot minimum to 1000 feet in airspace over the continental U.S., Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic High Offshore Airspace (including Houston and Miami Oceanic airspace) and the San Juan FIR. On the same date and time and at the same flight levels, Canada and Mexico will implement RVSM. Canada implemented RVSM in its Northern Domestic Airspace in April 2002 and plans to expand it into Canadian Southern Domestic Airspace. RVSM was first implemented in North Atlantic Airspace in 1997. It is now implemented in other major airspaces such as Europe, the Pacific Ocean and Australia. The FAA’s (and the airlines’…) goal in implementing DRVSM is to make six additional flight levels available for operations. According to the FAA, implementing DRVSM will allow aircraft to safely fly more optimum profiles, gain fuel savings and increase airspace capacity. We’ll see.