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What is RVSM?

RVSM, when the term is spelled out, stands for reduces vertical separation minimum. It is the reduction of the standard vertical separation that is required to be met between any aircraft that is flying between certain levels. Those levels are generally anywhere from 29,000 to 41,000 feet or from 2,000 to 1,000 feet. The device can increase the amount of aircrafts that can fly in that volume of airspace at one time.

Over the history of flying, the vertical separation that was considered to be both standard and safe was 1,000 feet because the accuracy of the altimeter, which is used to help determine altitude, often decreases the farther up the planes fly. As technology got better, the air data computers were added to the altimeters and they have helped the aircrafts gauge a much more accurate reading. Autopilots are also better at maintaining a certain level and the old safety separation was then deemed too cautious.

RVSM is an ideal that was created and implemented in many different countries between the years of 1997 and 2005. Other countries began to implement it as late as 2011. Only aircrafts with certain altimeters can fly into RVSM airspace. Otherwise, the planes have to fly lower than that given airspace, or they have to have a special exemption from the requirement. The planes also have to have special approval from their state of origin in order to conduct any operations within the RVSM airspace. Any aircraft that has not been approved may go through the airspace as long as they are continuously climbing while going through the space.

State aircrafts, which are generally those used in the military, and police and customs services are not required to be approved through the RVSM process. States that participate have adapted their aircrafts to get automatic approval so they do not have to go through the process with every item they use.

The RVSM was created as a simply air safety ideal that helps flights coordinate with one another so there are no accidents in the sky. Through these regulations as well as various levels of training, aircrafts are now safer than they ever have been before. Also because of RVSM, more aircrafts can fly between certain levels at a time due to the other safety devices that have been added over the years.

Those training to be pilots will hear a lot about RVSM and the various changes it has gone through over the years. The term will become common knowledge and something that is utilized every time a flight takes off for a destination. It may not be as easy to understand for those who do not fly on a regular basis, but just knowing it exists helps the feeling of safety.

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