RVSM airspace was introduced throughout Europe in January 2002. It has also been implemented in North America, South America, Australia, Middle East, Africa, Parts of Asia and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
RVSM means Reduced Vertical Separation Minima - or in plain english the reduction of the vertical separation required between FL290 and FL410 from 2000ft to 1000ft. By doing this you double the amount of airspace available, therefore doubling the traffic capacity. With the skies getting busier and busier every day the need for more room has become more and more important.
In the real world aircraft must have the following equipment aboard to be RVSM certified and therefore take advantage of the reduced separation minimum:
- Two primary altitude reporting systems;
- One automatic altitude-keeping device;
- One altitude-alerting device.
- In addition, while changing altitudes, the altitude holding device must not overshoot an assigned level by more than 150 feet.
- Also, to gain certification for RVSM, each aircraft must overfly a stationary Height Monitoring Unit (HMU) or a portable Ground Monitoring Unit (GMU) unless flight test evidence can be supplied to the regulator that the airframe is compliant with Altimeter System Error (ASE) targets.
Aircraft who do not meet the standards are excluded from RVSM airspace except for the purpose of climbing or descending to/from the CVSM airspace above FL410. (Exceptions do exist though, see bottom of page for complete listing.)
In the real world this was a costly affair for operators who still had older aircraft in their fleet. On IVAO there isn't much to it, as any aircraft can be considered RVSM, or non-RVSM. There are however a few important procedures for pilots and ATC to follow. They are detailed below.
Pilots flying through RVSM airspace continue using the Odd-East / West-Even rule up to FL410, after which the airspace becomes CVSM.
Use the following table for reference: