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ganflyer
Topic Author
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Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:14 pm

I hope this hasnt been discussed, I did not see it. I was reading this article regarding RVSM in corporate jets and it got me thinking about airliners. Are all airliners RVSM even the older airliners? I assume so but I didnt know. Also what exactly is required for an aircraft to be RVSM.

Here is the article if you care to read.

http://www.globalair.com/articles/co...cle.asp?msgID=2&submit=Get+Article
 
jamotcx
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:22 pm

To enter RVSM airspace you must meet these criteria:

- 2 independent altimeters
- One automatic altitude-control system (autopilot)
- Altitude alerting system
- SSR transponder with altitude info

The altimeters must also agree to within +- 200ft.

Just off the top of my head.

You must inform ATC if you cant maintain RVSM asap because of either systems failures or weather (mountain waves).

Hope this helps
 
KingAir200
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:41 pm



Quoting GANFlyer (Thread starter):
Are all airliners RVSM even the older airliners?

I don't know about all older airliners, but NWA's DC-9s are all RVSM capable.
 
ganflyer
Topic Author
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:06 pm

Thanks for the information. I know if NWA DC-9s are RVSM then most all airliners will be. haha. Isn't there a minimum for altitude hold while in RVSM airspace, like +-25ft
 
jamotcx
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:16 pm

Quoting GANFlyer (Reply 3):
Isn't there a minimum for altitude hold while in RVSM airspace, like +-25ft

Its +- 300ft (can anyone find a reference for it as I cant). The airbus alerts you if you stray more than 250ft from the selected level but in "soft-cruise" it will drift +- 100ft.

[Edited 2009-06-26 12:23:26]
 
ganflyer
Topic Author
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:27 pm

Excelent info. I didnt realize it was that much. +- 300 ft. I thought it was a lot less. It has to be computer flown above FL270 right? or is it FL280?
 
LHRjc
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:29 pm



Quoting Jamotcx (Reply 1):
Just off the top of my head.

Not bad off the top of your head, this is out of my ATPL notes:-

RVSM Minimum Equipment

The minimum equipment standard is embodied in the Minimum Aircraft Systems Performance Specification (MASPS) for RVSM operations. The MASPS require:

· Two fully serviceable independent primary altitude measurement systems;

· One automatic altitude-control system; and

· One altitude-alerting device.

A functioning Mode-C SSR Transponder is also required for flight through radar controlled RVSM transition airspace.

Airworthiness Approval for RVSM operations may be granted by the appropriate State Authority to individual aircraft, or to a group of aircraft which are nominally identical in aerodynamic design and in items of equipment contributing to height keeping accuracy.

When checking altimeters (pre-flight or in-flight), confirmation is necessary that all altitude indications are within the tolerances specified in the aircraft operating manual. At least two primary altimeters must at all times agree within plus or minus 200 feet.

MNPS approved aircraft that do not meet RVSM standards may climb and descend through RVSM levels, with clearance, and can in certain circumstances such as humanitarian flights be allowed to operate at RVSM levels.
 
ganflyer
Topic Author
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:37 pm

Now what exactly is MNPS aircraft and how would you climb or descend through RVSM. Isnt that FL 270 - FL 600 or am i mistaking?
 
powercube
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:39 pm

I'm not sure if this is a digression, but didn't former airline Jetsgo lose its ability to enter RVSM airspace shortly before their cease of operations?
 
LHRjc
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:07 pm



Quoting GANFlyer (Reply 7):
Now what exactly is MNPS aircraft and how would you climb or descend through RVSM. Isnt that FL 270 - FL 600 or am i mistaking?

Certain areas of the world are designated as only usable by aircraft meeting Required Navigation Performance (RNP). The area of the North Atlantic stretching from just north of the Canary Islands (27ºN) up to the north pole between FL285 and FL420 is one such area called the North Atlantic Track (NAT) Minimum Navigation Performance Specification Airspace (MNPSA).

The governing documentation for MNPS airspace is ICAO Document 7030.

Aircraft flying in MNPS airspace have to meet standards of navigation ability, crew training and procedures and be approved to operate in the airspace by their National Authority (this approval would be detailed on an operator’s AOC).

Certain levels within the MNPS area are designated as Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RSVM) levels. In the North Atlantic MNPS area these are FL290 to FL410 inclusive (virtually all of MNPS airspace. Aircraft, operators and crews must be additionally authorised by the National Authority to operate at RVSM levels.

Although the operator must obtain the approvals the final responsibility rests with the Captain to ensure the approvals are in place and the aircraft is equipped for the route.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:27 am



Quoting GANFlyer (Thread starter):
Are all airliners RVSM even the older airliners?

No not at all.

A few that come to my mind right away are the 747s from NASA, the entire fleet of Janet (not sure on the 737-600s), and Sky Kings 737s. I think there are also a good number of older corporate jets with RNP/MNPS certifications that will always fly above RVSM airspace so they don't need it/pay for certification either.

Quoting Jamotcx (Reply 1):

- 2 independent altimeters
- One automatic altitude-control system (autopilot)
- Altitude alerting system
- SSR transponder with altitude info

One thing that is not required is TCAS but usually the MELs for TCAS will always include being locked out of RVSM, so its pretty much an "unwritten" rule IMO.

Quoting GANFlyer (Reply 5):
It has to be computer flown above FL270 right? or is it FL280?

Some airlines might have the limit but there is no "law" that the autopilot has to come entering RVSM airspace as I know it. You can could hand fly the entire flight if you wanted at United.

Quoting GANFlyer (Reply 7):
Now what exactly is MNPS aircraft and how would you climb or descend through RVSM. Isnt that FL 270 - FL 600 or am i mistaking?

What I think that means is ATC must give you a direct climb or descent through those levels (270-410) without stopping you.

Also I think I know where your getting FL600 from. US TERPS class A airspace goes up to FL600 so that might be what you were thinking?
 
VMCA
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:42 am



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 10):
Some airlines might have the limit but there is no "law" that the autopilot has to come entering RVSM airspace as I know it. You can could hand fly the entire flight if you wanted at United.

Not quite true. The aircraft's MMEL will require the autopilot altitude hold function to be operative for flights into RVSM airspace. I am not sure about the FAA, but there are other governing agencies that require the autopilot to be used while in cruise in RVSM airspace. I am almost positive the FARs require the same.
 
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jetmech
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:54 am



Quoting GANFlyer (Thread starter):
Are all airliners RVSM even the older airliners?

No necessarily, but they can be qualified as such. Apart from the requirements mentioned by others, on the 747 classics, certain physical criteria need be met with respect to the pitot-static probe installation.

The skin in the vicinity of the probes needs to meet certain minimum waviness criteria. This is established by measuring the skin using a special micrometer depth gauge tool. The area around the probes is broken up into small squares of IIRC, 1" by 1".

At each of these points, a depth measurement is taken. When a few hundred or so of these readings have been taken, you perform several averaging operations on the data to see if it is within limits or not. If not, thin shims need to be placed between the skin and stringers / frames until the waviness is within limits.

Regards, JetMech
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:24 am



Quoting VMCA (Reply 11):

But on that same token...... the ALT HOLD function is still active when just using the flight directors. But checking our MMELs for inop autopilot and it does say no RVSM operations so I guess that does have some warrant.

I do know people will hand fly for a bit a cruise everyonce in a while. Their is even a cockpit stories website on the internet where a guy talked about doing it on a transcon for about 30 minutes.
 
VMCA
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:43 am



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 13):
But on that same token...... the ALT HOLD function is still active when just using the flight directors. But checking our MMELs for inop autopilot and it does say no RVSM operations so I guess that does have some warrant

The ALT HOLD function is very different than the autopilot engaged. The whole issue around the mandatory use of the A/P during RVSM operations is because of the reduced separation. The tolerance of the A/P ensure the separation is maintained, while hand flying, even though the FD is commanding level flight, could result in excursions that would jeopardize safety.

In addition, a specific airline won't have a MMEL, they will have their own MEL which uses the MMEL (Master Minimum Equipment List). The airline specific MEL can not be any less restrictive than the MMEL but can be more restrictive.

Quoting DescendVia (Reply 13):
I do know people will hand fly for a bit a cruise everyonce in a while. Their is even a cockpit stories website on the internet where a guy talked about doing it on a transcon for about 30 minutes.

They must enjoy playing you bet your ticket!
 
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tb727
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:03 am

RVSM airspace over the US is anything above FL280 to FL410. I've seen non-RVSM jets get up to FL430+ before and as they are stepped up through RVSM they tell ATC they are non-RVSM probably to get proper separation. We are told by our company and I am pretty sure it is mandatory to fly the airplane on autopilot and use the altitude hold function.

All but 1 of the planes I fly were not RVSM'd when the change over happened domestically and it sucks for the most part, especially in summer when we can't top bad weather and are stuck at FL280.

Oh yeah, what they did to make the planes RVSM. I only have experience with the change over on Learjet's and Falcon's. What they did in a nutshell was add 2 Air Data computers, new altimeters including a standby and updated the autopilot. The old pitot tubes were replaced with more modern Rosemont ones and the airplanes skin around the static ports and pitot tubes were smoothed out to take out any airflow disturbances that could cause even the smallest anomalies. It cost about $150k when we had them done per airplane and we took them out on test flights with equipment and an engineer on board to test the accuracy of the new systems. They were really cool, I did our first RVSM certification flight at my company back at the change!

[Edited 2009-06-27 19:12:28]
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:20 pm

About 15 years ago we coverted the Transwede B757s here at ARN to RVSM. I remember that after they were all measured and calibrated, they had to go on a flight. They flew down to the Cnaries and back while something was measuring the altitude keeping ability. Then they were passed as RVSM aircraft.
Anyone know what this was? I really can't remember how it was done.
What did the measuring. It was before GPS, so it must have been ground based.
 
VMCA
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:46 pm

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:53 pm



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 16):
Anyone know what this was?

Height measuring units (HMU). They were located in Linz, Austria, Nattenheim, Germany, Geneva and Strumble, UK (for NATS ops).

See http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/cate...pe-How-It-Was-Developed_12567.html
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:01 pm



Quoting VMCA (Reply 17):
Height measuring units (HMU)

Yes thats it. But as I remember it we had to operate flights that were pre-notified so they could be tracked by the system. Remember a lot of hassle getting the right planes to the right place on the right day.
Anyway doesn't seem to be a problem nowadays, until you get a dent in the critical area!
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:52 am

Quoting VMCA (Reply 14):
In addition, a specific airline won't have a MMEL

Understood but that certain MEL item comes right from the MMEL so.....

Quoting Tb727 (Reply 15):
We are told by our company and I am pretty sure it is mandatory to fly the airplane on autopilot and use the altitude hold function.

I will say this, after further investigation I found this on the fleet monthly questions.

Q: Is use of the autopilot required in RVSM airspace?
A: The autopilot "should" be used in RVSM airspace.

The key is the " " around should. So I guess that is where my confusion arose.

[Edited 2009-06-28 20:53:49]
 
VMCA
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:46 pm

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:42 am



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 19):
Understood but that certain MEL item comes right from the MMEL so.....

So, the airline will not have a MMEL. It will have their own MEL which has been approved for only them by the regulatory authorities. There is a very big difference. Everything in the MMEL is in the airline specific MEL. And, the airline MEL is more restrictive, but not less restrictive than the MMEL.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:02 pm



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 19):
I will say this, after further investigation I found this on the fleet monthly questions.

Q: Is use of the autopilot required in RVSM airspace?
A: The autopilot "should" be used in RVSM airspace.

The key is the " " around should. So I guess that is where my confusion arose.

Checking our ops man it says, among the other required items mentioned, "an AUTOMATIC altitude control system (autopilot with alt hold)". "If required RVSM equip fails before entering, or during flight within, RVSM airspace, the crew must inform ATC immediately." no autopilot no RVSM. Of course we have 2 so all you need is 1.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:21 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 21):

Yeah exactly.... we have similar wording but like I said, the " " is the key to my thinking. Its like "must" wear corrective glasses, you should have them on but unless your getting a checkride your the only one there to police you.

I'm not saying myself or anyone else makes it a point to bust the regs, I'm simply referencing the material I have on the issue.

[Edited 2009-06-29 11:37:10]
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:09 pm



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 22):
I'm not saying myself or anyone else makes it a point to bust the regs, I'm simply referencing the material I have on the issue

I know what you mean but for us No A/P No RVSM. I wouldn't begin to "press to test" that button. Class II Nav is pretty serious here and I wouldn't want to stand there trying to explain why I ....! LOL!
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:20 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 23):

Yeah same..... like I said above the MEL for all autopilots inop (3 available on this plane) is no RVSM.

One way looking at it is this, guy/gal is getting close to or is on his/her retirement flight. I wouldn't expect him to be using "otto" for his/her final leg if he/she can help it IMO.

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 23):
I wouldn't begin to "press to test" that button

 checkmark  same here pal  Smile
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:41 pm



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 24):
I wouldn't expect him to be using "otto" for his/her final leg if he/she can help it IMO.

I would say and what I plan on doing on my final flight is to do everything right by the book. I'll shoot for the perfect flight but since it hasn't happened yet I don't keep my fingers crossed!

Here's a portion of the MEL re: both A/Ps inop.

Two may be inoperative provided:
a) LSAS is operative,
b) Scheduled flight time does not exceed
1.5 flight hours per leg. No more than
two (2) legs will be flown during any
pilot’s duty period with an inoperative
autopilot. Scheduled flight time may be
extended to a single leg, not to exceed
three (3) flight hours with Duty Officer
approval and Captain’s concurrence,
c) Aircraft remains at or below 25,000 ft.

DO NOT conduct RVSM operations.
2. DO NOT conduct operations above 78° N Latitude.
3. DO NOT operate aircraft above 25,000 ft. MSL.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:06 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 25):

Great insight.....
Here is the jist for the 757/767 at my airline with all 3 inop.

Flight Planning Restrictions:
A) Airplane Removed From CAT II and CAT III
B) ETOPS Not Authorized
C) RVSM Operations Are Not Authorized
D) For ATC The Aircraft Equipment Code Must Be Changed To /E
E) One Flight Director Must Be Operative For Dispatch If The Destination Weather Will Be Below RVR 4000 Or 3/4 Mile Visibility And A CAT I ILS Approach Is Planned

F) Dispatch Not Authorized To An Airport Where A Non-Precision Approach Is The Only Approach Available And Weather Conditions Are Forecast To Be Less Than 1000 Foot Ceiling Or Visibility Less Than 3 Miles, Or Published Minimums, Whichever Is Greater

Flight Crew:
A) Number And Duration Of Flight Segments Must Be Acceptable To Pilots
E) Approach Minimums Must Not Require Autopilot Use. Refer To XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
NOTE: Consider Impact On ILS, PRM, SOIA, and Non-Precision Approaches, Etc.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2528
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Rvsm - Are All Airliners Rvsm

Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:32 pm

yep about the same. good luck CC

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