RVSM Flight Operations Manual

Apply for your RVSM LOA quickly with our RVSM Flight Operations Manual (Americas Edition).

The RVSM Flight Operations Manual (Americas Edition) is primarily intended for operators based in North America who will fly within the contiguous United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central / South America. The manual is designed to help you obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for RVSM operations.

Process Overview for Our RVSM Flight Operations Manual

We customize the manual to your operation and aircraft to ensure all necessary procedures are included. Both a hard copy and an electronic copy will be provided.

If revisions are required by the FAA, we will make those changes at no extra cost and usually within the same business day we receive notification.

To date, our RVSM Manual has never been rejected by the FAA.

Manual Outline

Preface

Standard control pages, including a Record of Reissue and List of Effective Pages.

Section 1 Organization and Compliance

An introduction to the manual design, responsible parties, and a list of compliance documents or applicable regulations to be met.

Section 2 Operating Procedures

General procedures for RVSM operations, including ATC Phraseology, required equipment, and TCAS procedures.

Section 3 Contingency Procedures

Procedures for loss of navigation / communication systems or reduction in aircraft performance or capabilities.

Section 4 RVSM Maintenance Policy

General maintenance considerations to ensure continued RVSM airworthiness. These considerations apply to all aircraft capable of RVSM operations and should not be construed as a model-specific maintenance program.

Section 5 Regional Supplementary Information

Additional information for Canada and Mexico.

Appendices

Supplemental forms and procedures are included as appendices, including preflight planning resources and FAA Flight Plan forms.

Next Step

Contact us for a quote!

Planning to fly outside the United States?

Try one of our other manual options!

Refer to the chart below for a detailed comparison:

RVSM Operations Manual: Americas Edition RVSM / International Operations Manual
Geographic Regions Covered North, South, and Central America Worldwide
RVSM Maintenance Program Add-on Available Add-on Available
RVSM Operations Procedures
RNP-10
RNP-4
PBN
B-RNAV / RNP-5
P-RNAV / RNP-1
NAT HLA
Oceanic Operations
Update Service Available?
CPDLC Add-on Available
ADS-B Add-on Available Add-on Available

Glossary

We know that the acronyms can get confusing, so there may be something you need without even knowing it.

ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast)

ADS-B systems broadcast your aircraft’s position to ATC and other appropriately equipped aircraft / vehicles using new avionics (usually tied to your transponder). There are two types of ADS-B transmissions: ADS-B Out, which are the transmissions going out from your plane, and ADS-B In, which are transmissions that your aircraft can copy if you have the proper equipment.

Virtually all corporate aircraft are required to be ADS-B Out capable in the United States by 2020. There is no requirement to obtain a Letter of Authorization for domestic ADS-B Out operations. A Letter of Authorization is required for international ADS-B Out operations or any ADS-B In operations.

ADS-C (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract)

This is a Data Link Communications application that allows the aircraft to form an automatic position reporting contract with ATC. When enabled, the aircraft will automatically provide data to ATC without further input from the pilots. Although it has some similarity with ADS-B (Broadcast), the two technologies are different systems and have entirely separate standards, mandates, and requirements.

ATN-B (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network – Baseline)

This is a type of Data Link Communications system that provides the aircraft with the capability to perform CPDLC. It is a digital-based system and it is frequently used in continental airspace. (See also “VDL-Mode 2.”)

B-RNAV (Basic Area Navigation)

Also known as “RNAV-5” or “RNP-5”, it refers to an aircraft’s RNP ability in the continental en-route area. An LOA is not strictly required, but is recommended in case you have a SAFA check.

CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications)

This is a Data Link Communications application that allows pilots to provide text reports to ATC in lieu of radio contact. In many airspaces where CPDLC is supported, the preference is for pilots to use CPDLC to send reports to ATC and to receive clearances, with HF radio used as a backup; this helps to alleviate radio congestion.

DLC (Data Link Communications)

This is an umbrella term that covers various technologies, systems, and mandates, including FANS, FANS 1/A, LINK-2000, and more. DLC refers to the aircraft’s ability to communicate with ATC using Data Link functions – specifically, CPDLC and ADS-C. Data Link Communications systems enhance efficiency and safety resulting in lower costs overall for civil and commercial aviation. Some areas of the world are already requiring that aircraft be DLC capable, and a Letter of Authorization is required for DLC operations.

FANS (Future Air Navigation Systems)

This is an analog system that provides CPDLC capability and is used in remote / oceanic airspace.

FANS 1/A

This is used to refer to a Data Link system that includes both analog (FANS) and digital (ATN-B) components, which is applicable in remote or continental airspace. It can be viewed as the broadest-reaching and most capable Data Link system.

LINK-2000

This is the European program that requires aircraft to be CPDLC capable by 2015. If you receive DLC authorization from the FAA, you will also meet the requirements for LINK-2000 and you do not need to obtain additional authorizations.

Note: LINK-2000 is the name of a government program only and does not refer to a specific set of avionics. A LINK-2000 compliant system is ultimately a CPDLC system.

NAT HLA (North Atlantic High Level Airspace)

This refers to the standards required to operate in the North Atlantic (NAT) region. A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is currently required for NAT operations.

Note: Much of this airspace was previously designated as “NAT Minimum Navigation Performance Specifications (MNPS)” airspace. Operators without a NAT HLA authorization but with MNPS authorization may operate in the NAT HLA until December 31, 2019.

PBN (Performance Based Navigation)

PBN is an umbrella term for RNAV / RNP specifications and was created to simplify the language used when listing requirements for different airspace. Eventually, Letters of Authorization will be issued based on the “PBN requirements” of an airspace.

P-RNAV (Precision Area Navigation)

Also known as “RNAV-1” or “RNP-1”, it refers to an aircraft’s RNP ability in the terminal area (approaches / departures). An LOA is required for P-RNAV operations, especially when operating in Europe.

RNP (Required Navigation Performance)

This is the aircraft’s ability to meet navigation requirements within a specified margin of error, usually indicated by a number (e.g., RNP-10, RNP-4, etc.). It is similar to “RNAV” and will eventually be referred to by the term “PBN.” Aircraft are required to have an RNP-10 Letter of Authorization to operate on many oceanic routes, and some areas mandate a Letter of Authorization for RNP-4.

RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum)

This is a standard for vertical separation that is usually applied between FL290 and FL410. It requires aircraft to meet certain equipment and performance standards, and a Letter of Authorization is required for RVSM operations.

VDL – Mode 0/A

This is the technical specification for an analog-based Data Link Communications system, also known as FANS.

VDL – Mode 2

This is the technical specification for a digital-based Data Link Communications system, or ATN-B.

Frequently Asked Questions

You created our RVSM Manual for domestic operations, but now we need international support. Can we upgrade?

Yes. We will ask you to fill out one of our questionnaires to provide us with additional information. When we prepare the new manual, we will preserve as much of your existing RVSM maintenance program as we can. You will need to resubmit it to the FAA, but generally it is a faster review compared to a new application.

I thought I was going to get worldwide RVSM approval, but my manual only mentions “Domestic RVSM.” What’s going on?

If you are operating only within the domestic US, you may have a manual or guidance that refers specifically to “Domestic RVSM.” However, the FAA does not issue a “United States RVSM” LOA. They only issue a standard “RVSM LOA” that is applicable worldwide.

Do I need a Letter of Authorization for Data Link / CPDLC / FANS / ADS-C / Link-2000?

Yes. These types of operations are referred to by various terms, but they all fall under the umbrella of “Data Link Communications” (DLC). Authorization from your state authority is required for DLC prior to use. In the United States, DLC is controlled by Advisory Circular 120-70.

I have a CPDLC system, but it is only used over land (VHF / VDL). I heard that authorization is only needed for oceanic operations. Do I still need an LOA?

Yes. Any CPDLC operation is a form of Data Link Communications and still requires authorization from the state of registry prior to use. The FAA’s Advisory Circular 120-70 addresses VDL configurations as well as oceanic and hybrid installations.

Is ADS-B the same thing as or a more advanced version of ADS-C?

No. Although there are some similarities in terms of purpose and implementation, ADS-B and ADS-C are two different technologies that utilize separate avionics. Each one has its own set of mandates for operations throughout the world. We offer support services to obtain LOAs for both systems.

Will you apply to the FAA on my behalf?

Because the FAA is providing an operational authorization, they require the Operator or its authorized agent to apply for the LOA. Although we do not formally serve as an agent, we actively advise and support our customers to ensure a successful submission.

Can you send my manual directly to the FAA?

The FAA typically will not accept a manual if it is not sent by the Operator or their Agent for Service. In some cases, we can send documents to a specific inspector if you have already spoken with them and they are expecting a shipment from us.

What happens if my FSDO doesn’t like the manual?

To date, we have not had any of our manuals denied by the FAA. There may be differences between the various FSDOs and sometimes they will return your application with an expectation for changes to be made. In those situations, we will make all requested changes at no additional charge. We can usually provide the updated manual within 1 to 2 business days.

How long will it take to get my LOA?

It depends on your local FSDO or IFO. We can prepare a manual and application package for you in approximately 2-3 business days or less. However, each individual FAA Office and Inspector has a different workload and process. It may take anywhere between 2 weeks or up to 6 months in some cases for the FAA to approve the application. We recommend that you contact your FSDO directly to obtain the most accurate estimate.

Do you ever provide eBulletins for RVSM (Americas Edition) or RVSM / WATRS manuals?

Not yet, although we may in the future. The content in the RVSM (Americas) and RVSM / WATRS manuals does not change as frequently as that of the RVSM / International Operations Manual. However, we do offer an on-demand service to update your RVSM (Americas) or RVSM / WATRS Manual in the event that you need to re-submit it to the FAA or if you want to update the content to the most current standards and best practices.

Do I need to re-submit my manual to the FAA when it is Reissued?

We carry forward any pages approved by the FAA in each Reissue, so there typically are not any changes that the FAA would need to approve. If you are adding or removing any aircraft, or making other changes to previously-approved pages, then you will need to resubmit to the FAA. In addition, if you are a Part 135 operator, any change to your manual will need to be recorded and approved by the FAA, including Reissues.

My manual is very old. Is my LOA expired?

Please check your LOA to see if an expiration date is listed. Prior to 2008, some LOAs were issued with expiration dates. If all the information on your original LOA is still the same (e.g., company name, aircraft model / registration / serial, aircraft equipment, etc.) and there is no expiration date listed, then you may continue operations with your existing LOA.

I need to make changes to my RVSM Manual. Can you send me a Word document or post it to the Manual Builder Application?

We are not able to release an editable version of the manual because it is copyrighted. However, you can send your changes to us by email at iom@aviationmanuals.com or fax at +1.240.546.4031. If you need to make changes because of an FAA request, there will not be any charge and the turnaround time will usually be within the same day, and no later than 1-2 business days. If you want to make other changes, we will need to review the desired changes first to provide an estimate of the time and cost.

Apply for your RVSM LOA quickly with our RVSM Flight Operations Manual

Our RVSM Flight Operations Manual for LOA or otherwise to meet RSVM requirements. We offer three excellent coverage levels to choose from. Learn more.