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When Exactly is the RVSM Manual Required?

October 2009

In the September Duncan Intelligence, it was stated, “If your aircraft is RVSM certified, you are required to carry an RVSM manual on board the aircraft at all times.” We fielded a few customer calls asking for clarification on this issue. Carrying the RVSM manual on board is only a regulatory requirement when the Operations Specifications, Letter Of Authorization or the FAA-approved RVSM maintenance manual states that you must have it on board. Having the RVSM manual on board, however, can be quite valuable in certain situations and is always a good idea.


The RVSM manual is critical for providing instructions on how to maintain the RVSM capability of your aircraft. It also gives your maintenance provider the requirements for technical data and training so your aircraft can be properly approved for return to service.

If you are flying an aircraft that came RVSM-equipped straight from the OEM, your maintenance facility will be able to find the necessary technical data in the aircraft maintenance manual. However, in our experience, operators flying aircraft that became RVSM-compliant under an STC rarely have the required technical data on board nor have easy access to it. Without easy access to this approved data, operators could find themselves in a situation where the necessary test and inspections are required but unable to be accomplished, causing unnecessary delays.

If the RVSM maintenance manual is a standalone document, the FAA must indicate FAA approval of the document by placing the date of approval, inspector’s signature, office name, office number and stamp on the cover page of the document, plus the district office stamp on each succeeding page with the date and inspector's initials OR, (d) by any other means. It's usually the latter.

Below is the FAA order: 8900.1, Vol 4, Chapter 10, Section 1, para 4-1240:

  • b) Indicate approval of RVSM maintenance program elements that will be incorporated into an existing accepted or approved program for each element or group of elements by the inspector’s signature, date of approval, office name, number, and location.
  • c) Indicate approval of RVSM maintenance programs submitted as standalone on the cover page of the program together with the date of approval, inspector’s signature, office name, number and location. Stamp each succeeding page with the district office stamp, and date and initial it.
  • d) Other approval controls may be used.