View Full Version : RVSM in London Airspace

21st Apr 2001, 22:57
A polite request.
As I sure most European pilots are aware, we have brought in RVSM in London airspace. If you are entering our airspace above FL280 and are not RVSM compliant it would help us a great deal if you tell us on initial contact. This means we can provide the appropriate separation of 2000ft above FL290. This would negate lots of form filling by both us and you.

24th Apr 2001, 01:36
stumlfg or any other helpful soul...
one of our a/c has autopilot out - therefore no longer RVSM compliant. Can he still operate as non-compliant with 2000ft separation above 280?
yur 'tis

The Fat Controller
24th Apr 2001, 11:39
In a word, yes.
RVSM is not yet mandatory, but fitting you in with all those that are could be a bit difficult !!!!!!!!!


24th Apr 2001, 12:44

I flew from STN to PIK last week. We were not asked whether we were able to comply with RVSM but cruised at FL320. Can I presume that we were RVSM and if so, should we have been asked?

Goldfish Watcher
24th Apr 2001, 14:42
As the pilot - you should know whether you are RVSM approved/equipped/able. If you don't know what chance have we got?

When we get strips produced on your flight there are attention getters printed to highlight those which we are unsure of or have been told by the operators that they are not RVSM compliant. If you were given FL320, no questions asked, your operator must have confirmed that you are RSVM compliant.

If you have any doubts, tell us and normal separation can be applied - it's your lives and our licences!

24th Apr 2001, 18:45
Just to be clear: Your level does not dictate whether we are using RVSM or not. What does matter is the difference between your level and everybody else's. If you are at FL320 then all that means is you are probably westbound (since 310,350,390 are now eastbound levels). If you are not RVSM equipped then you will be separated by at least 2000 ft from everybody else. Count yourself lucky to be there as you are effectively blocking 3 RVSM levels (310,320,330). Come 24th Jan 2002 and you will be excluded from the airspace!

Also, please try and persuade your ops depts to file correct direction levels (ie FL 300, 320, 340, 360, 380 Westbound). It saves a lot of R/T time finding out whether the W/B a/c filed at 350 actually wants 360 or 340.

"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

24th Apr 2001, 21:39
Goldfish Watcher-

I think SkyClear's question was valid-
I did the same route at FL320 and declared 'NEGATIVE RVSM' which was acknowledged by the controller. I just assumed we would have 2000ft seperation
I wouldn't like to guess how many times I've been cleared to an opposite direction level, But when it happens I don't question the controller, I let him get on with his/her job.
The way I see it, YOU should know from our flight plans whether we are RVSM or not
If YOU don't know, what chance have we got? ;)

The Fat Controller
24th Apr 2001, 21:57
If we have any doubts, the individually filed plans are input with RVU = status unknown, so that's when we ask the question and we would expect an instant reply just like asking your minima etc, the pilot should know his status regarding RVSM.
The stored flight plans generally seem to be OK, however......
One point I would like to add is that if there is a late aircraft type change there can be the situation where the type is changed OK but the RVSM status remains the same as on the original plan regardless of the replacement type's status, everyone beware....
Regards to all,


[This message has been edited by The Fat Controller (edited 24 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by The Fat Controller (edited 24 April 2001).]

Goldfish Watcher
24th Apr 2001, 23:14

I think we are on abou the same thing. I might have confused the situation by assuming that FL320 was allocated as an RVSM level. I don't reall think however that FL320 would be allocated as a cruise level to non RVSM aircraft. Just causes too much hassle.

You are right - if we don't know then no one has a chance. So you must tell us if you are not. We don't seem to have completely up to date information.

Whether that is a fault on our part or just plain laziness on the part of some operators I don't know. However, whatever failings our systems have, we can still share the information on the RT.

My point still stands - if pilots don't know the RVSM status of the aircraft they are flying, they should still be on the ground doing some reading!!


250 kts
24th Apr 2001, 23:41
I couldn't agree more with the last sentence skywatcher. I asked last week on this page what briefings had been given to aircrews and was given , I think , a single reply referring to ROC/ROD.
The crews MUST be aware of the status of their aircraft BEFORE they attempt to get airborne or somebody ,probably sitting at LATCC, is going to get one almighty shock.
I for one would like to hear the crews who aren't equipped ask for below FL280 to cruise as a matter of course.

Dan Winterland
24th Apr 2001, 23:44
A question: When is ModeS/TCAS2 going to become mandatory for RVSM in Europe. Anyone know?

25th Apr 2001, 01:25
-Ops must file a flightplan indicating if the a/c is RVSM compliant.
-The a/c commander MUST know his RVSM status and advise ATC"Negative RVSM" well before entering RVSM airspace.
On my a/c type RVSM is indicated by yellow dashed rectangles around the static plates.No significant damage inside this area is acceptable for RVSM ops.Apart from that if there is nothing in the tech log we are compliant.

25th Apr 2001, 22:02
The question was not really concerned with whether we were RVSM approved/equipped/able. We were on that day.
The point being, should we have been asked our RVSM status? Or everytime we are cleared to a none standard level or any other cruise level, for that matter, should we be announcing 'affirm RVSM'. I understood it from the 'Phraseology' section of the syllabus that that was the response to the question 'confirm RVSM approved'.

27th Apr 2001, 12:33
As I said earlier, the level you were given was probably not governed by whether you were RVSM approved or not. That is up to the controller. If he/she wanted to put you at 320 westbound and provide 2000 ft separation then that is his choice. We are not legally allowed to exclude traffic from RVSM airspace because it is not equipped until 24/1/02. We can however limit it due to traffic...

To answer your question precisely: It is up to YOU to tell us if you are NOT RVSM equipped and you are requesting a level above 280 for cruise. We will probably have the strips to confirm that, but there is always the possibility that the flight plan info is wrong. There should be no need to confirm you are RVSM approved unless requested.


"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

[This message has been edited by eyeinthesky (edited 27 April 2001).]

one four sick
27th Apr 2001, 13:11
Am I missing something here??????
I was under the impression that RVSM airspace is open to everyone until January 2002. This is only a "setting up" period and you only need to be RVSM Approved form next year - RIGHT????

28th Apr 2001, 00:52
One Four Sick:- At least the 146's can't get up to RVSM airspace - well done BAe - so there has to be some good in it. Now if we could only get the cockroaches off the approaches with their 95 kt speeds we might be able to use the other airspace a bit better.

28th Apr 2001, 01:15
RVSM is a great idea, i`ve found that complying with the rod/roc requirements(max1500ftpm)climbing thro FL250 and the same until descent below FL280 a real pain, and in practice you have to start your descent earlier, and you get to your cruise later, so you use more fuel!! and it doesn`t leave an awfull long time for lunch!!!

Edited for typo

[This message has been edited by INKJET (edited 27 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by INKJET (edited 27 April 2001).]

one four sick
28th Apr 2001, 11:03

I agree with you. I think the 146 is the worst thing BAe have ever made, in order to sabotage proper aviation. The other day I was asked to fly at 270kts all the way into BHX, following a Crossair 146 who could JUST give us 295kts at a push in the descent.
In my opinion there should be a slow and a fast lane created, in order that we could all fly at the speeds that we're meant to.
Just think, I was (737) 60kts slower than I would have been otherwise on an already late schedule.

Background Noise
28th Apr 2001, 13:10
Surely the changes in levels to odds/evens between 290 and 390 applies to everybody, RVSM compliant or not. You can't have NONRVSM going west at 350 and RVSM coming the other way at the same level. So you will be at 320 going west whether you're compliant or not.

The point is that if both aircraft are RVSM compliant they can be 1000 ft apart. If either or both are non-compliant/exempt/unknown then they must be kept 2000 ft apart.

RVSM status must be included in the flt plan.

You're fortunate if you fly an aircraft which can cruise above RVSM at max weight.

There's good info at:

www.eur-rvsm.com (http://www.eur-rvsm.com) and

www.nats.co.uk/operational/rvsm.html (http://www.nats.co.uk/operational/rvsm.html)

28th Apr 2001, 13:48
INKJET - u don't need max 1500 fpm throughout rvsm climb/descents.... Only in the last 2000ft before level off (if leveling off in RVSM). And then really only if there is proximate TCAS traffic to you that will be 1000 vertically from your level.

[This message has been edited by dayoff (edited 28 April 2001).]

29th Apr 2001, 11:31

Not really relevant to this thread, but you display a surprising lack of awareness of the wider situation. I imagine you were routing through LAM from COA/REFSO direction on the occasion you mention. Depending on your relative positions it is likely that you were given speed contol because even if you had flown at he 330 kts you say you wanted you would not have got far enough past the 146 in time to present to the next sector. We are funnelling traffic into a narrowing corridor which makes a 40 degree right turn, so the presentation of traffic is not easy. Your suggestion of a fast and a slow lane is unworkable since there is not enough airspace.

Having said that, it does seem that the speed restriction of 270 kts behind 295 was a little restrictive (why not 290 kts also?), and I certainly try and get faster traffic past if I can. Sometimes it's just not possible. Bit like the M25 at times...

Back to the original topic: RVSM is actually VERY simple:
If you are equipped you can fly above 280 with only 1000 ft separation from other traffic. If you are NOT equipped you might also be given a level above 280 but you will be provided with 2000 ft separation from other traffic. The use of 340/350/360 in whichever direction you are flying is ultimately the choice of the controller, but GENERALLY 300,320,340,360 etc are the new Westbound levels.

As from 24/1/02 you will be EXCLUDED from RVSM airspace if you do not have RVSM approval.


"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

29th Apr 2001, 11:54
One For Sick--
Being stuck behind a slower aircraft is a real pain. In the TriStar I find that following a ScareBus is bad news, we can cruise at .86 and the French wonder can only do .81, if that.

one four sick
29th Apr 2001, 13:09
eyeinthesky - It's more like wishful thinking than lack of awareness, we were coming in from BIG - Grove 1C direction. The speed restriction was actually removed by BHX as soon as we changed freq. to them and we nearly caught up with the offender!!!!!

411A - I do sympathise mate, I too get stuck behind minibuses and the rest. I just don't understand why some jets are being flown like Ford Fiestas.

29th Apr 2001, 13:31
One of the problems of ATC can be a lack of consistency, in that one person's plan is not the same as the next, and our aim of a seamless exchange sometimes falls over. This seems to be one of those cases. You might say of course that the earlier speed control was so effective that BHX approach were then able to allow you free speed as the distance between you and the flying brick was enough.

The question of Mach restrictions in the cruise is one of those which RVSM might help to resolve, as there are twice as many levels available.

Again, it depends on the controller. I will usually offer you a choice between speed control and a lower level, and most of us don't try to speed 747s behind 737s etc. I consider 747s to be impossible to speed behind anything other than another 747, A340s are OK in front of 767s or other Airbuses, A320s etc are OK with 757s but not 737s, and 737s and CRJs/EMBs are OK once the RJs get levelled off and build speed.

Then of course you have the rpoblem you have mentioned of different operators of the same type having a differen speed schedule.

Never simple, is it??

"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

29th Apr 2001, 19:14
14sick, to reply to a much earlier question, we cannot 'exclude' non-RVSM traffic, however we can refuse clearence into RVSM airspace due to traffic loads, a safety issue really.

As for the speed control, the guy funnelling you into Hemel from BIG is also putting in traffic feeding from MID and CLN, so it wasnt definately your CRX 146, and could have been slotted in between you. Your lucky that you were only speeded, I'm sorry to the Mearskair I had to give an orbit to around Tiger for the same reason!!!!

Background Noise
29th Apr 2001, 19:35
Re exclusion from RVSM airspace,

State aircraft (eg military) will be exempt and will be permitted to operate in RVSM airspace but only with 2000' separation.

29th Apr 2001, 21:42
BN I think its not just them, you'll find its any a/c that can be afforded CAT A-E priority.

30th Apr 2001, 13:55

From January next year, the following applies in European RVSM airspace, regardless of the flight category. It comes direct from Eurocontrol. So Background Noise is correct.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">As a civil aircraft operator, operating in EUR RVSM airspace, it is not possible to obtain an exemption from the RVSM approval requirement. Non-approved flights intending to cross the EUR RVSM area will be required to flight plan below (or above) RVSM airspace. Climbing and descending through EUR RVSM airspace without being RVSM approved is also not possible, although for aircraft requiring to climb or descend to/from above NAT MNPS/RVSM airspace there will be special procedures in place. </font>

10 West
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by 10W (edited 30 April 2001).]

250 kts
30th Apr 2001, 16:37
zonoma, are you really serious that you orbited a EGBB inbound at TIGER??? . I know it's preferable to stream if you can, but spinning one that far back is just ridiculous. That's just the reason BB has a holding fix to the south. What will you do during the summer - get Rheims/Paris to hold em for you ?

30th Apr 2001, 17:56
An ops point of view here (cannot speak for all ops controllers/dispatchers, but I guess 90% do the same :)

RVSM compliant aa/cc shows letter "W" in ATC fpl (section 10), this should help ATC'ers.

I've read here about ops that should plan the right level. What ops normally do is to let their flight planning system choosing the best level, then we care about SRS's, CDR's, CRAM's, AIM's etc...In poor words, we file an ATC fpl prying to get an "ack" from Eurocontrol at the first attempt.
In addition, when RPL's (repetitive flight plans) apply, they are checked by Eurocontrol the first time, then generated automatically by the system...we suppose they are filed according to all existing regulations.
Anyway my experience is that what ops file, Eurocontrol receipt and ATC applies are three different worlds...Then there's a fourth world: pilots, but this is another story :)

Now my question is: when RVSM will be fully implemented in the whole europe, they should indicate some sort of gates from where you are not RVSM anymore: i.g. the routes to/from Brazil, at a certain point the levels used in the SAM area are exactly the opposite to european (and general) semi-circular levels.