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3 Answers

RVSM auto pilot rules

Asked by: 4298 views FAA Regulations

is there a requirement to engage the autopilot when entering RVSM airspace. And are the airlines exempt from this rule

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3 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Nov 25, 2011

    Appendix G of Part 91 has your answer.  I am about 90% sure the airlines are also required to use the autopilot in RVSM airspace.  You probably already know that RVSM (reduced vertical separation minimum) begins at FL290 and ends at FL410.  The old separation required 2000′ vertical separation above FL290 due to the errors associated with an altimeter at those higher altitudes.
    As a result, studies were done and the national aviation authorities realized they could reduce the vertical separation with some additional requirements.  One of these requirements mandate the airplane stays with 65′ or 130′ of their assigned altitude depending on the approval date of the type certificate.  This strict requirement for altitude requires the use of the autopilot.  It also requires the on-side transponder to be selected to transmit the altitude to the ARTCC facility.w

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  2. Abdel Shabazz on Nov 26, 2011

    I can recall that anytime we had a deferred autopilot system or something deferred related to the functionality of the autoflight system, that we were limited to altitudes less than FL290.

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  3. Matthew Waugh on Nov 28, 2011

    My recollection is that we didn’t have a requirement that we engage the auto-pilot in RVSM airspace (although if you liked your job I’d recommend it), but certainly we needed a working auto-pilot to fly in RSVM space.
    However – my GOM was returned to the airline and I don’t have any regulation to point you to abut auto-pilot engagement.

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