[Avionics Today January 28, 2014] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a new policy to allow for a more flexible approval process for General Aviation (GA) pilots using Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM). The new process will be based on operator and aircraft experience, the agency says.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the new changes to the RSVM policy during the General Aviation Safety Summit, stating that the new policy allows the agency to customize its evaluation for RVSM "based on the circumstances of the applicant."
The FAA first implemented RVSM in 2005 to allow pilots in domestic airspace to fly with 1,000 feet of vertical separation, rather than the previous 2,000 feet at cruising altitudes. GA industry representatives and the FAA formed the Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) in 2012 to make changes to the RSVM policy first implemented, which required an extended waiting period for authorization due to the lengthy regulatory process.
Under the new policy, the agency will consider operator and aircraft experience in determining the extent of the evaluation required to obtain RSVM.
We believe this will allow a significant shift in an inspector's predisposition when conducting a review, particularly when handling relatively simple administrative changes for existing operators," said Mark Larsen, senior manager, safety and flight operations for the National Business Aviation Association. "Whereas earlier guidance dictated that an inspection had to always begin at square one — even for something as minor as a tail-number change — now the inspector may accept an operator's demonstration of unchanged items and focus their time on reviewing the actual changes made."