View Full Version : RVSM Airspace ROC limits

1st May 2004, 00:41
During line training recently, my TRG Capt insisted that during the last 1000ft of climb in RVSM airspace you MUST select V/S as your vertical mode and limit said v/s to a maximum of 1000fpm. I suggested that it seems like a reasonable idea but is it in fact a legal and/or ATC requirement, or is it simply HIS personal oppinion etc as opposed to an SOP, supported by air rules? He says it is a requirement, however I have scoured all available publications and have failed to find any reference to such a requirement. Can anybody enlighten me further?? thanks.PB

CJ Driver
1st May 2004, 21:24
Your training captain is not just expressing his opinion. It is highly likely that your Ops Manual has some wording like:

"To prevent unwanted TCAS/ACAS warnings or alerts when first approaching cleared flight level and/or when changing flight level in RVSM airspace, ensure that, when nearing such cleared flight level, vertical speed is not excessive. With about 1500 feet to go to a cleared flight level vertical speed should be reduced to a maximum of 1500 fpm and ideally between 500 and 1000 fpm. Ensure that the aeroplane does not undershoot or overshoot the cleared level, manually overriding if necessary."

This is from our Ops Manual, but if I recall correctly, it is almost verbatim copied from the CAA's AIC on RVSM Ops. Because RVSM is a specific approval, and you need an approved RVSM Ops Manual, what is says in your approved Ops manual is "regulatory" and is not just "a good idea".

1st May 2004, 22:17
Target of 1000 ft/min by 1000 ft to go is a good safe general vertical speed limit and well within RVSM rules. But remember that, within RVSM airspace, it applies in the descent as well as the climb.

It's what I used to teach in the Vickers FunBus!

2nd May 2004, 00:42
thats fine CJ, but our company OPS manual does not make ANY reference to any such requirement. I fly in south pacific RVSM but this should make no difference to the rules. can you point me to a website containing the said statement regarding ROC/D limits?? with respect to actual regulatory rules. thanks. PB

square leg
2nd May 2004, 01:53
Our book says: with 2000 ft to go, reduce V/S to 1500ft/min or less.

Now whether you use V/S or CLB(SPD) mode depends on A/C type & limits.

I prefer using a "safe" mode such as a speed mode (CLB/OP CLB or SPD), depending on A/C specifics. But depending on environmental conditions, the A/C might balloon a bit in speed mode as opposed to V/S mode. Some operators forbid V/S at high altitude (which I think is good), but if monitored well, works too. Use common sense and situational awareness + airmanship.

2nd May 2004, 08:48
yes, yes, there is no problem with IT IS GOOD AIRMANSHIP etc., but where is it laid down as an actual regulatory requirement ??thanks, PB.....

2nd May 2004, 10:27
Hi Prayboy, don't know about South Pacific region but in Europe there is NO specific regulation, only recommendations. I've pasted an extract from the faq section from the official eurocontrol site website below. Hope that's of some use.


Question P6: What are the Rates of Climb / Rates of Descent to be applied in RVSM airspace when being cleared from one RVSM level to another?
Answer: There is no specific regulation as to the vertical speeds within EUR RVSM airspace. The guidance to prevent over/undershooting and the triggering of TCAS alerts should be followed. It is recommended that a vertical speed of between 500 and 1000 fpm is applied between 1000 and 1500 feet from the Cleared Flight Level (CFL). Therefore, in the absence of a specific ATC instruction with regard to climb rates, a normal climb or descent rate appropriate to the profile should be carried out until approximately 1000 - 1500 ft before the CFL.

2nd May 2004, 11:55
I raised the same point last year in this (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=90169&highlight=do+you+reduce+your+rate+in+the+last) thread.

I think we really should reduce.

LOGIC thinks the same too...

2nd May 2004, 22:26
In addition to the foregoing, the recommendation regarding RVSM level-off was contained in AIC 80/2000, dated 24 Aug 2000. (RVSM was introduced in UK from April 2001 and implemented in Europe from Jan 2002).

The AIC states:
"When approaching cleared level, aim to keep vertical speed between 500-1000fpm. Do not exceed 1,500fpm and ensure that the aircraft neither overshoots nor undershoots the cleared level by more than 150 feet."

Most companies (including my own) recommend that V/S is monitored closely at 1,000' to level, and give guidance to intervene if the automatics are climbing/descending the a/c at greater than 500fpm. Common sense really.

The problem with spurious TAs has greatly reduced with ACASII, but closure rate TA/RAs are still apparent.

Hope that helps to clear it up.

3rd May 2004, 11:43
clear as mudd....

square leg
3rd May 2004, 12:52
We have to adapt continiously to the changing environment in which we fly.

Sometimes we have to adapt our strategy according to what the environment has in store for us.

Certain rules should by all means be "cemented in stone". (e.g. GPWS hard warnings at night or in IMC, all PULL UP warnings, stabilised final approach by 1000 ft IMC or latest 500 ft VMC, landing within the TDZ and so on and so forth).

But others are just recommendations allowing us to adapt our stategy accordingly and within the envelope and safety margins of our SOP's

3rd May 2004, 13:12
Let me play devil's advocate here.
Having read through all the threads I cannot see any conclusive and binding regulatory statement about ROC approaching a cleared level in RVSM airspace.
The closest thing said, following scallywag's link is ' ICAO IS DEVELOPING GUIDANCE ON REDUCING VERTICAL SPEED TO BELOW 1500FPM IN LAST 1000' BEFORE LEVEL OFF'.
Now, this to me does not seem like a mandatory requirement.
Personally, I don't see what the fuss is about , I would worry more in busy TMA's with a high rate of climb and descent. If there ever is going to be an accident, my bet is don't look for it in RVSM airspace where most of the airplane's energy is already spent . Typical ROC's are 2000fpm and less, and don't forget we have valid TCAS interrogation at those levels as well.
I say monitor your a/c at all times and even more in RVSM airspace.
Finally, Prayboy, you can hold your head high for asking this very valid question, the answer for which is still inconclusive.
I positively go along with you that there is so far no mandatory ROC or ROD in RVSM airspace, there are recommendations
Let the debate begin.........

Down...2 greens
3rd May 2004, 13:17
Only reference I'm aware of is this one.

From text on Jeppesen AT(H/L) 1/2:

'Climb and descent in RVSM airspace and Transition areas should be limited to 1,000 fpm when operating within five (5) NM and 2,000 ft of other aircraft to minimise the generation of TAs ... and RAs...'

3rd May 2004, 22:23
UNEASY, thank you. that is exactly the sort of answer I was looking for. I am a religous person. My religion being the church of SOP. I find it hard to swallow a Trainer telling me you MUST do it this way etc., when it is a recommendation not a rule.I am all for safe practices, but this 1000fpm limit at altitude seems a bit over the top all else being equal. cheers...PB

4th May 2004, 07:48
prayboy, why do you find it so hard to accept this recommended practice?

What your Training Captain has told you is what you will do. It isn't something that's been rushed out without thought - it's company policy and eminently sensible and pragmatic.

Perhaps you'll be told "Look, you WILL do it this way in this company. If you want to ignore that, go ahead - but you'll have to do so in another company. Your choice....."

Lucky Strike
4th May 2004, 10:24
Dear prayboy,

It's clear from the wisdom expressed in these forgoing posts, and this is also backed up by references to technical recommendations from various sources, that aircraft in RVSM need to use reduced climb and descent rates to avoid TCAS TA's/RA's. People have adopted 1000FPM as the norm it would seem, and indeed in one of my previous companies this was the figure quoted in the operations manual. Your trainer was correct all along.

Would it be impolite to suggest it may not be career enhancing trying to prove your trainer may not be correct?

If you had spent as much time reading the aircraft technical reference manual as you have trying to prove this trainer wrong, you might be a trainer yourself..

4th May 2004, 11:29
Dear Bat.man and Beagle,

You both seem to be missing the point Prayboy is trying to make.
I don't think he has any problem understanding that it is recommended to reduce ROC when approaching cleared level to approx. 1000fpm.
His main point was the training captain's insistence on the use of the V/S mode to to achieve it.
The use of the V/S mode in this regime is not treated lightly in many companies and a requirement of a clear announcement and acknowledgement of it's use by both pilots is mandatory.
This insistence of it's mandatory use approaching cleared altitude, at high altitude, is a DANGEROUS PRACTISE.
I particularly notice that this mode is now being used as a comfortable mode automatically by inexperienced pilots.
You will find that most companies' SOP even in RVSM airspace, remind you of the speed protection problems of this mode and hence recommend LVL CHG ( increase speed just prior to level off).
Without further ado and in the light of these extra facts, will you two now apologise to Prayboy

4th May 2004, 13:50
UNEASY, you are a mindreader, thank you. I am inherently unhappy with this V/S stuff at 36000ft. Why are we using these strange and possibly dangerous vert modes when we have a perfectly servicable TCAS and 2 alert pilots to keep an eye on things.? leave well enough alone. It worked fine for a long time previuosly, so just up the awareness perhaps. thats my way of looking at it rather than some dogmatic YOU WILL DO THIS mentality. cheers ....PB.....anyway thanks to you all for the various thoughtfull inputs.

4th May 2004, 17:19
Prayboy, the answer is very simple: as stated before, there are recommendations only, not legal requirements!

One more point: I always laugh when people say they religiously believe in SOP and not in Captain X or Y: who do you think wrote the SOP?

The two are often THE SAME, and one day the new boss in charge will implement - in writing in the SOP - his own personal habits, ignorance and defects!

... and there will always be new guys ready to sware that's THE Bible, only because that's on paper!


Always think with your own head, my friend, and don't forget Adolf Heichmann was a PERFECT rule follower.

4th May 2004, 18:55
Hands up anybody who has a worry of level excedance of 150' plus at 39000' in RVSM....
Hands up those who fear it is only a matter of time in the busier TMA's of today.....
Guess what? I hear some LOCO companies are encouraging their pilots to speed up above 250kts soon after flap retraction in the London TMA.
The gain would be quick exit of the busy TMA but this tendency for quick and immediate high speed poses more threat to safety than approach to cleared altitude in RVSM.
Verily I say unto thee,
It is the commercial pressure of today that is going to record us the next incident.
ATC could help by not automatically giving free speed soon after t/o but just work with the constraint of flying 250kts to FL100, like everywhere else. After all, no speed can be fast enough unless you are travelling at mach 6 or so.

4th May 2004, 22:52
Apologies if it was your concern over being told to use VS which prompted your post. I misunderstood and thought that your concern was at being told to limit Vertical Speed at 1000 ft to cleared levels in RVSM airspace to 1000 ft/min.

What was it Ernest K Gann wrote? "Rule books are only paper; they will never cushion an impact between stone and metal" (Or words to that effect)

If you have legitimate concerns about the safe AFS mode to use, perhaps you should use an anonymous reporting system such as CHIRP to air such concerns?

Airmanship always outvotes dogma!

5th May 2004, 00:26
Two concerns really. Is it a hard and fast rule to limit ROC/ROD below 1000fpm over the last 1000ft to go?(apparently not, going on the various posts here). AND Im not a happy chappy with respect to using V/S as a pitch mode at say 38000ft., for reasons that have been discussed to death previously and where the consensus is that said mode has safety concerns.