Kuwait Division

International Virtual Aviation Organization

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RVSM - Reduced Vertical Separation Minima

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.

Altitudes

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:

RVSM airspace (the new way)
West track (180°-359°)
Even Altitudes
  East track (000°- 179°)
Odd Altitudes
4,000 ft
6,000 ft
8,000 ft
10,000 ft
12,000 ft
14,000 ft
16,000 ft
FL 180
...
FL 280
-------------
FL 300
FL 320
FL 340
FL 360
FL 380
FL 400

FL 430
FL 470
FL 510
...
  5,000 ft
7,000 ft
9,000 ft
11,000 ft
13,000 ft
15,000 ft
17,000 ft
FL 190
...
FL 290
-------------
FL 310
FL 330
FL 350
FL 370
FL 390
FL 410

FL 450
FL 490
FL 530
...
CVSM airspace (the old way)
West track (180°-359°)
Even Altitudes
  East track (000°- 179°)
Odd Altitudes
4,000 ft
6,000 ft
8,000 ft
10,000 ft
12,000 ft
14,000 ft
16,000 ft
FL 180
...
FL 280
-------------
FL 310
FL 350
FL 390

FL 430
FL 470
FL 510
...
  5,000 ft
7,000 ft
9,000 ft
11,000 ft
13,000 ft
15,000 ft
17,000 ft
FL 190
...
FL 290
-------------
FL 330
FL 370
FL 410

FL 450
FL 490
FL 530
...