In a recent move, the FAA has removed the prerequisite that requires aircraft operators who fly in RVSM airspace to have an FAA-approved RVSM Maintenance program.
The original FAA requirement, established in the late 1990s, required aircraft operators to create and get local FSDO approval for an RVSM Maintenance Program, as per a Part 91 operator’s Letter of Authorization (LOA), Part 91K operator’s Management Specifications (MSpecs), or Part 121 - 135 operator’s Operations Specifications (Ops Specs).
MROs like Duncan Aviation could only perform RVSM maintenance in accordance with these approved programs. The biggest issue that customers and maintenance providers struggled with was the inconsistent application and approval of these programs. Some local FAA offices would approve them, others would not.
This recent RVSM rule change was published on July 20, 2016, and became active August 19, 2016. It states an approved RVSM maintenance program is no longer required. Now RVSM maintenance can be performed in accordance to the aircraft’s OEM maintenance manual or other data acceptable to the administrator.
All operators must continue to operate and follow the provisions listed in their RVSM authorization, but are able request a change to their LOA removing the requirement for an FAA-approved maintenance program by using the revised OpSpec/Mspec/LOA template.
RVSM has been around for a long time and is well-established in the aviation industry. It no longer takes special FAA oversight. Aircraft are able to safely operate in RVSM airspace because they are being manufactured in accordance to RVSM standards.