Use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out in Support of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Operations, 36697-36705 [2017-16197]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules 3. Are there categories of entities for which compliance program requirements should be reduced or eliminated? If so, please describe and include supporting data or other appropriate information. 4. How effective are the quantitative measurements currently required by the final rule? Are any of the measurements unnecessary to evaluate Volcker Rule compliance? Are there other measurements that would be more useful in evaluating Volcker Rule compliance? 5. How could additional guidance or adjusted implementation of the existing compliance program and metrics reporting provisions reduce the compliance burden? For example, should the rule permit banking entities to self-define their trading desks, subject to supervisory approval, so that banking entities report metrics on the most meaningful units of organization? 6. How could the final rule be revised to enable banking entities to incorporate technology-based systems when fulfilling their compliance obligations under the Volcker Rule? Could banking entities implement technology-based compliance systems that allow banking entities and regulators to more objectively evaluate compliance with the final rule? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using technologybased compliance systems when establishing and maintaining reasonably designed compliance programs? 7. What additional changes could be made to any other aspect of the final rule to provide additional clarity, remove unnecessary burden, or address any other issues? Dated: August 1, 2017. Keith A. Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the Currency. [FR Doc. 2017–16556 Filed 8–4–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–33–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No.: FAA–2017–0782; Notice No. 91–348] jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS RIN 2120–AK87 Use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B) Out in Support of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Operations Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). ACTION: This proposal would revise the FAA’s requirements for application to operate in RVSM airspace. The proposal would eliminate the requirement for operators to apply for an RVSM authorization when their aircraft are equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems and meet specific altitude keeping equipment requirements for operations in RVSM airspace. This proposal recognizes the enhancements in aircraft monitoring resulting from the use of ADS–B Out systems and responds to requests to eliminate the burden and expense of the current RVSM application process for operators of aircraft equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems. DATES: Send comments on or before September 6, 2017. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA–2017–0782 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590– 0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at (202) 493–2251. Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning this SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 36697 action, contact Madison Walton, Aviation Safety Inspector, Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, Flight Standards Services, AFS–400, Federal Aviation Administration, 470 L’Enfant Plaza, Suite 4102, Washington, DC 20024, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267–8850; email Madison.Walton@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA’s authority to issue rules with respect to aviation safety is found in Title 49, United States Code (49 U.S.C.). Sections 106(f), 40113(a), and 44701(a) authorize the FAA Administrator to prescribe regulations necessary for aviation safety. Under Section 40103(b), the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to enhance the efficiency of the national airspace. This proposed rulemaking is within the scope of these authorities as it removes regulatory requirements that the FAA no longer finds necessary for safe operations in RVSM airspace and establishes requirements for the use of qualified ADS–B Out systems to facilitate operations in that airspace. I. Executive Summary A. Summary of the Proposed Rule This proposal would permit an operator of an aircraft equipped with a qualified ADS–B Out system meeting altitude keeping equipment performance requirements for operations in RVSM airspace to operate in that airspace without requiring a specific authorization. Under this proposal the FAA would consider a qualified ADS–B Out system to be one that meets the requirements of § 91.227 of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). The requirement for operators to obtain a specific RVSM authorization was first promulgated in 1997 when most aircraft required significant design changes to qualify for an authorization. At that time, operators lacked familiarity with RVSM operations and were required to submit a detailed application to the FAA for review to obtain an RVSM authorization. This application included information on the operator’s compliance with RVSM equipment standards, a description of the operator’s RVSM maintenance program, and evidence of initial and recurrent pilot training. Since then, operators have become more familiar with RVSM operations, requirements, and procedures. Additionally, the height-keeping performance of aircraft E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 36698 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules equipped with ADS–B Out systems can be continually monitored to confirm that these aircraft are meeting RVSM performance standards. Based on the technological advances provided by ADS–B Out systems, detailed applications and specific authorizations for operators of these aircraft to conduct operations in RVSM airspace is no longer required. Accordingly, under this proposal, the requirement to submit applications for RVSM authorization would no longer be applied to operators of aircraft that are equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems and meet altitude-keeping equipment performance requirements for operations in RVSM airspace. By eliminating this application requirement, the proposal would reduce both operators’ costs and FAA workload, while maintaining the existing level of safety. Additionally, since RVSM airspace has been implemented worldwide, the proposal would also remove the detailed designations of where RVSM may be applied that are currently found in Appendix G of part 91. B. Summary of Costs and Benefits This proposal would not impose any costs on regulated entities. The FAA estimates that the proposal would result in approximately $35 million (30.8 million of 7% present value) in cost savings during the first 5 years of the rule’s implementation primarily resulting from the ability of operators to operate their aircraft at more fuel efficient RVSM altitudes. The FAA estimates that this proposed rulemaking would save each affected small entity operating aircraft equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems under parts 91 and 135 a total of $1,630. Savings would result from the benefit of not having to apply for RVSM authorizations and from reduced fuel costs associated with not being restricted from RVSM operations while the authorization is processed. II. Background jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS A. Statement of the Problem The current process for obtaining RVSM authorizations was developed when RVSM airspace was initially implemented in 1997 (62 FR 17487; Apr. 9, 1997). At that time, most aircraft were not manufactured to comply with RVSM performance requirements and needed significant modifications to meet the altimetry system performance requirements necessary for flight in RVSM airspace. Since the reduced vertical separation standards employed in RVSM airspace were new to most VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 pilots and air traffic controllers, validation of operational policies and procedures to operate in that airspace was necessary to ensure effective implementation of these reduced vertical separation standards. To assist in accomplishing this task, the FAA established systems to provide heightkeeping performance monitoring with the overall goal to ensure that aircraft airworthiness, maintenance, and operational approval requirements resulted in the level of safety and system performance necessary to operate in this airspace on a continuing basis. The technology originally used to monitor an aircraft’s performance was limited and capable of only a small number of aircraft observations during a flight. Since that time, RVSM technology has matured and most aircraft manufactured today that are capable of operating in RVSM airspace are delivered from the manufacturer as RVSM compliant. RVSM airspace has been implemented worldwide, familiarity with operational policy and procedures has significantly increased, and the vast majority of the RVSM capable fleet demonstrates excellent altimetry system performance.1 Additionally, the increasing equipage of aircraft with ADS–B Out systems makes the current process of obtaining RVSM authorizations for operation of those aircraft in RVSM airspace unnecessary, as ADS–B Out enables continual monitoring of aircraft height-keeping performance and rapid notification of altimetry system error (ASE). B. History of Vertical Separation Standards Vertical separation standards establish the minimum vertical distance between aircraft routes in the national airspace system. In the early 1970’s, increasing air-traffic volume and fuel costs sparked an interest in reducing vertical separation standards for aircraft operating above Flight Level (FL)290.2 At the time, the FAA required aircraft operating above FL290 to maintain a minimum of 2,000 feet of vertical separation between routes. Use of these high-altitude routes was desirable because the diminished atmospheric drag at high altitudes results in a 1 FAA analysis of 22,154 U.S. registered RVSM approved airplanes estimates that 99.9% of those aircraft operate within the ASE containment standards specified in part 91, Appendix G of part 91. The RVSM target level of safety in the national airspace has been met every year since 2003 when RVSM operations started. 2 Above 18,000 feet, FL are a measure of altitude assigned in 500-foot. increments; FL290 represents an altitude of 29,000 feet with standard atmospheric pressure of 29.92 inches in mercury (Hg). PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 corresponding increase in aircraft fuel efficiency. Operators sought, and continue to seek, not only the most direct routes, but also the most efficient altitudes for their aircraft. Increased demand for these high-altitude routes, however, has resulted in greater aircraft congestion in this airspace. In 1973, the Air Transport Association of America petitioned the FAA to reduce the vertical separation of high altitude routes from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet. The FAA denied the petition in 1977, in part because the technology to meet these more rigorous separation standards was neither generally available nor proven. Deficiencies included insufficient aircraft altitudekeeping standards, lack of maintenance and operational standards, and limited altitude correction technology. In mid-1981, the FAA initiated the Vertical Studies Program. This program, in conjunction with RTCA (formerly the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) Special Committee (SC)150 and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Review of General Concept of Separation Panel (RGCSP), determined: • RVSM is ‘‘technically feasible without imposing unreasonably demanding technical requirements on the equipment.’’ • RVSM could provide ‘‘significant benefits in terms of economy and enroute airspace capacity.’’ • Implementation of RVSM would require ‘‘sound operational judgment supported by an assessment of system performance based on: aircraft altitudekeeping capability, operational considerations, system performance monitoring, and risk assessment.’’ Following these determinations, the FAA began a two-phase implementation process for RVSM operations for aircraft registered in the United States (U.S.). During the first phase in 1997, the FAA added § 91.706 (Operations within airspace designed as RVSM Airspace) and Appendix G (Operations in RVSM Airspace) to part 91 (62 FR 17487; Apr. 9, 1997). Section 91.706 permits operators of U.S.-registered aircraft to operate in RVSM airspace outside of the U.S. in accordance with the provisions of Appendix G. Appendix G contains a set of operational, design, maintenance, and other standards applicable to operators seeking to operate in RVSM airspace. It specifies a detailed application process that requires operators to provide evidence that the operator’s aircraft design satisfies RVSM performance requirements and has policies and procedures for the safe conduct of RVSM operations. Until recently, it also required that the E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules operator have a specific program for the maintenance of RVSM systems and equipment. The FAA reviews the applications and grants authorizations to operate in RVSM airspace after finding that the applicable requirements are met. The second phase of RVSM implementation occurred in October 2003, with a second RVSM-related rulemaking action (68 FR 61304; Oct. 27, 2003). This rule introduced RVSM airspace in the U.S. and used the same authorization process previously established under Appendix G to part 91. As established in 2003, the FAA’s RVSM program allows for 1,000 feet of vertical separation for aircraft between FL290 and FL410. Before this final rule, air traffic controllers could only assign aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flying at FL290 and above to FL290, 310, 330, 350, 370, 390, and 410 since the existing vertical separation standard was 2,000 feet. After the rule changes went into effect, IFR aircraft could also fly at FL300, 320, 340, 360, 380, and 400—nearly doubling capacity within this particular segment of airspace. The FAA also implemented a performance monitoring program to support implementation of RVSM. This program includes Global Positioning System (GPS)-based height-keeping monitoring units (GMUs) capable of being deployed onboard aircraft during individual RVSM flights. Later, in 2005, the FAA deployed the first of five passive ground-based aircraft geometric height measurement element (AGHME) sites in the continental U.S. to conduct height-keeping performance monitoring of aircraft passing over each site. Other civil aviation authorities throughout the world have also developed similar height monitoring sites. In 2008, the FAA reviewed its RVSM program and operator authorization policies. At that time, there were more than 7,000 active RVSM authorizations, covering in excess of 15,000 U.S.registered aircraft. The FAA’s evaluation found the existing processes ensured compliance with the RVSM operating requirements. At the same time however, FAA representatives began meeting with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) to develop ways to streamline the RVSM application process to lower the burden on operators to obtain RVSM authorizations and reduce the FAA’s workload associated with processing and granting these authorizations. The parties formed the RVSM Process Enhancement Team (PET) within the Performance based Aviation Rulemaking Committee. The PET VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 submitted its final recommendations to the FAA in 2013. As a result the FAA revised existing policies and guidance to facilitate more efficient processing of requests to change existing authorizations and created a job aid to assist inspectors in standardizing review of operator applications. The FAA also completed rulemaking in 2016 to further reduce the burden on applicants by eliminating the requirement that RVSM applicants include an approved RVSM maintenance program as part of an application for an RVSM authorization. (81 FR 47009, Jul. 20, 2016) III. Discussion of the Proposal This proposed rulemaking would permit operators of qualified ADS–B Out equipped aircraft to operate without submitting an application for an RVSM authorization when operating where the FAA has ADS–B coverage sufficient to confirm RVSM height-keeping performance. The proposal would eliminate this process for aircraft equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems as a result of the agency’s ability to effectively and continually monitor the height-keeping performance of these aircraft. A. Specific Requirements for Aircraft Equipped With Qualified ADS–B Out Systems This proposal would add a new Section 9 (Aircraft Equipped with Automatic Dependent SurveillanceBroadcast Out) to Appendix G of part 91. The proposal would authorize operators of aircraft, equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems, (i.e. systems that meet the requirements of 14 CFR 91.227) that can be monitored by the FAA to conduct RVSM operations without submitting an application for an authorization to operate in RVSM airspace. The heightkeeping performance of these aircraft would be required to be equivalent to that achieved by individual aircraft approved under current provisions of Section 2 of Appendix G. To be eligible for operations in RVSM airspace an operator’s aircraft must meet strict height-keeping performance standards. Under this proposal, an operator would be authorized to conduct flight in airspace in which RVSM is applied when the operator’s aircraft complies with the provisions proposed in Section 9. These operations would be conducted in airspace where the FAA has ADS–B coverage sufficient to confirm RVSM height-keeping PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 36699 performance.3 No specific authorization would be necessary. However, an operator could still operate with an authorization issued under the provisions of Section 3 of Appendix G if its aircraft are not equipped with a qualified ADS–B Out system. The FAA also notes that if a foreign country requires a specific authorization to operate in RVSM airspace an operator may need to seek authorization under the provisions of Section 3, even if it meets the provisions of proposed Section 9. When RVSM was first established, the FAA and other international air traffic service organizations developed systems for monitoring aircraft altitude-keeping performance. The systems are used to measure Total Vertical Error (TVE), including ASE. The overall goal of height-keeping performance monitoring is to ensure that airworthiness, maintenance and operational approval requirements result in required system performance and level of safety in the flight environment on an ongoing basis. Aircraft equipped with qualified ADS– B Out systems continuously transmit aircraft geometric position information used to calculate their height-keeping performance. Operators wishing to take advantage of proposed Section 9’s provisions would be required to operate aircraft equipped with a qualified ADS–B Out system installed as specified in proposed Section 9(a)(5) which would allow the FAA to monitor the aircraft height-keeping performance in RVSM airspace where the FAA has ADS–B coverage. This monitoring capability enables the FAA to eliminate the application process for RVSM authorization. The ADS–B Out equipment requirement in proposed Section 9(a)(5) is necessary for aircraft height-keeping performance monitoring, but not for aircraft height-keeping capability. Accordingly, as proposed in Section 9(a)(5), an aircraft that the FAA has previously been found to be operating within required heightkeeping performance parameters may be authorized to operate in RVSM airspace when ADS–B Out is inoperable for a specific flight. The proposal also specifies, in Section 9(a), the essential aircraft equipment and capabilities, including altitude measurement systems; altitude control systems; and altitude alert systems, required to be operational for the 3 Airspace where the FAA has ADS–B coverage sufficient to confirm RVSM height-keeping performance is depicted at https://www.faa.gov/ nextgen/programs/adsb/coveragemap. This coverage area may include airspace in which ADS– B equipage is not required. E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 36700 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules aircraft to be eligible for RVSM. The proposed RVSM height-keeping equipment requirements in Section 9(a) are the same as those for non-ADS–B Out equipped aircraft in paragraph (c) of Section 2 of Appendix G. The FAA has determined the current fleet of RVSM approved aircraft consistently meet FAA established safety standards and accordingly has not proposed any changes to the current RVSM equipment standards for ADS–B Out equipped aircraft.4 The FAA notes that a Traffic Collision Avoidance Alert System (TCAS) is not specifically required for RVSM operations. Other FAA regulations specify when an aircraft must be equipped with a collision avoidance system. However, for operations in RVSM airspace, aircraft that are equipped with TCAS II must meet Technical Standards Order (TSO) C– 119b and be modified to incorporate software Version 7.0, or a later version. This requirement is specified as an aircraft approval requirement in current paragraph (g) of Section 2 of Appendix G. The proposed requirement for operators of ADS–B Out equipped aircraft seeking to operate in RVSM airspace that are also equipped with TCAS II must meet TSO C–119b (Version 7.0), or later, is necessary because earlier TCAS software versions did not incorporate revised alert thresholds for traffic alerts (TA) and resolution advisories (RA) for FL300 through FL420 that are compatible with RVSM operations. These provisions for TCAS II equipped aircraft in paragraph (a)(4) of proposed Section 9 are identical to current provisions for existing RVSM aircraft approval under Section 2 of Appendix G. Additionally, the FAA also proposes a single ASE containment requirement for aircraft equipped with ADS–B Out in proposed Section 9(b). This requirement corresponds to limits for ASE containment when RVSM was first established and is consistent with RVSM performance criteria used for aircraft approval in Section 2 of Appendix G. It allows performance monitoring to be applied to each aircraft without relying on aggregated data collected from many aircraft of the same RVSM monitoring group. For these operations, the FAA can rapidly detect when individual aircraft performance has deteriorated outside the proposed ASE tolerance. The proposal would require that aircraft continually meet this requirement to be eligible for RVSM 4 The RVSM target level of safety in the national airspace has been met every year since 2003 when RVSM operations started. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 operations under the provisions of this proposed section. B. Removal of Specific Airspace Designations As discussed in the ‘‘Background’’ section of this document, RVSM was implemented regionally in a phased approach. Section 8 (Airspace Designation) of Appendix G was initially designed to be updated whenever regions added RVSM airspace. The inability to rapidly update these designations caused discrepancies between the airspace listed in Section 8 of Appendix G and the airspace in which RVSM had been applied. Today, however, RVSM has been established between FL290 and FL410 in all flight information regions (FIRs) 5 and requirements have been harmonized throughout ICAO member States. Accordingly, there is no longer a need to update the airspace designations listed in Section 8. The proposed amendment to this section acknowledges RVSM is now applied worldwide 6 and removes the detailed RVSM airspace designations from that section. C. Conforming Amendments Additional amendments to Appendix G to part 91 are proposed to facilitate the addition of the approval requirements specified in Section 9 for ADS–B Out equipped aircraft. The proposed changes to Section 1 (RVSM definition), recognize that RVSM is no longer a new concept and that RVSM operations have become a standard operation between FL290 and FL410. Accordingly, the proposed changes to this section would remove the ‘‘special qualification’’ designation for RVSM airspace and references referring to operator specific approvals. Since RVSM has now been implemented worldwide, a reference to RVSM airspace identified in Section 8 is no longer needed and would be removed. The proposed changes in Section 2 (Aircraft Approval) and Section 3 (Operator Authorization) recognize that aircraft operators may either, use the current aircraft approval process specified in Section 2 and the operator authorization process specified in Section 3, or the authorization process proposed in new Section 9 for aircraft equipped with qualified ADS–B Out 5 A FIR is airspace of defined dimensions within which Flight Information Service and Alerting Service are provided. All U.S. airspace is contained with designated FIRs. 6 An operator may choose to review a State’s AIP for individual areas where RVSM is applied. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 systems to obtain authorization to conduct RVSM operations. Proposed changes to paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) in Section 3 (Operator Authorization) would not only allow for an operator to be authorized to conduct flight in airspace where RVSM is applied under the provisions of this section as is currently permitted but would also recognize that operators would be authorized to conduct RVSM operations under the provisions of proposed Section 9. Additionally, under the provisions of current Section 3 (Operator Authorization), each operator must provide evidence that each of its pilots has adequate knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and procedures when applying for an RVSM authorization. To better clarify the intent of the rule, current Section (3)(c) would be revised to state that ‘‘each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and procedures sufficient for the conduct operations in RVSM airspace’’. To ensure the pilots of aircraft of operators who have been authorized to conduct RVSM operations in accordance with proposed Section 9 have knowledge of the requirements, policies, and procedures sufficient for the conduct operations in RVSM airspace, proposed paragraph (b)(3) would be added to Section 4 (RVSM Operations). The new provision is identical to revised Section 3(c)(2). Knowledge sufficient to conduct RVSM operations includes, but is not limited to; RVSM FL protocols, flight planning requirements, inflight procedures, and contingency procedures for areas of intended operation. The FAA publishes applicable guidance material in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), and Advisory Circular (AC) 91–85. Proposed Section 4 has also been revised to specify that an operator may be authorized to conduct RVSM operations under the provisions of Section 3 (as is currently stated) or under proposed Section 9. Section 5 (Deviation Authority Approval) would be revised to eliminate the specific references to Section 3 since the Administrator may authorize deviations from the requirements in § 91.180 and § 91.706 for a specific flight in RVSM airspace for operators who may not meet the provisions of current Section 3 or proposed Section 9. This section would be revised to address the inclusion of proposed Section 9 in Appendix G. Currently Section 7 (Removal or Amendment of Authority) states that the Administrator may revoke or restrict an E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS RVSM authorization or RVSM letter of authorization. This section would be revised to eliminate specific references to the revocation or restriction of RVSM authorizations and letters of authorization and replace those provisions with a more general provision stating that the Administrator may prohibit or restrict operation in RVSM airspace if an operator fails to comply with certain specified provisions. This revision is necessary as the current section only addresses the removal or amendment of authority through operations specifications, management specifications, and letters of authorization. As the proposal would permit RVSM operations to be conducted without a specific authorization document issued by the Administrator, this section has been revised to indicate that the Administrator may prohibit or restrict an operator’s ability to operate in RVSM airspace even if that authorization is not specified in operations specifications, management specifications, or a letter of authorization. D. Implementing Information The FAA would perform heightkeeping performance monitoring on ADS–B Out equipped flights operating at RVSM altitudes for all airspace defined in § 91.225. This monitoring capability is the result of the FAA having access to ADS–B data from flights in RVSM airspace which would be obtained during normal operations. ADS–B Out systems, meeting the performance requirements of § 91.227, transmit the necessary aircraft position information to allow the FAA to perform height-keeping performance monitoring on a continual basis. This level of monitoring was not previously available due to the limited number and range of AGHME systems or special effort required to fly with a GPS–based monitoring unit (GMU) on board an aircraft for an individual flight. The continual monitoring enabled by ADS– B Out provides increased heightkeeping performance data on an individual aircraft basis and enables the FAA to identify poor ASE performance sooner, allowing quicker mitigation of any risk posed by poor performing aircraft. Additionally, in airspace where the U.S. performs ADS–B monitoring, operators of ADS–B Out aircraft would be able to begin RVSM operations immediately. This ability to operate immediately would lower costs and eliminate the delay caused during the processing of an application for authorization. For operations outside U.S. airspace, where ADS–B height monitoring may VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 36701 not be available, an aircraft that has recently been monitored by the FAA and found to be operating normally could be safely operated outside of FAA-monitored airspace with a high degree of confidence that the performance requirements would continue to be met. The FAA has developed and maintains guidance for operators, based on statistical performance analysis, on the time interval that aircraft should return to airspace with FAA ADS–B monitoring capability or obtain a traditional RVSM approval to ensure that the aircraft meets applicable performance requirements. Advisory Circular AC 91–85, Authorization of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace, includes the initial criteria which would be revised with ongoing monitoring experience. The FAA may also expand the airspace in which we collect ADS–B data, through collaboration with other air navigation service providers or operators. The FAA will maintain a database of aircraft that have been monitored and are performing within the required performance as specified in proposed Section 9. When a new aircraft is entered into service, the operator must have the initial flight in airspace that can be monitored by the FAA in order to take advantage of proposed Section 9. For a new aircraft that is entered into service and cannot be monitored by the FAA (such as manufactured and delivered outside the U.S.), the operator should obtain an approval in accordance with section 3 before operating in RVSM airspace. In addition, the FAA intends to transition current approvals, issued under section 3, to monitored operations under the provisions of section 9, in order to reduce the operator and FAA administrative burden of maintaining the section 3 approval. Once an operator’s fleet of aircraft have been monitored, the FAA intends to notify the operator that the section 3 approval will be terminated and their authority to operate in RVSM transferred to the provisions of section 9. The FAA will allow operators to maintain their section 3 approval if the operator notifies the FAA that a specific authorization is required for operations in another country. The FAA also plans to share ADS–B performance concepts and monitoring techniques with ICAO, so that other States can perform their own RVSM performance monitoring.7 The FAA would publish guidance material addressing the frequency, durability, and coverage of our ADS–B monitoring that we find acceptable and work with ICAO to develop guidance applicable to RVSM capable aircraft equipped with ADS–B Out systems. The FAA would make aircraft performance summaries available to operators to assist them in assuring compliance with the RVSM performance requirements. The FAA believes that the implementing actions described in this proposal would reduce operator and FAA workload and expense, with no additional risk. 7 Currently Australia, Thailand, China, and Hong Kong utilize ADS–B Out for RVSM height-keeping performance monitoring. Eurocontrol, Japan, Russia, and other States are considering its use. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses A. Regulatory Evaluation Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995; current value is $155 million). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed rule. We suggest readers seeking greater detail read the full regulatory evaluation, a copy of which we have placed in the docket for this rulemaking. In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this proposed rule: (1) Has benefits that justify its costs, (2) is not an economically ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as defined in Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, (3) is ‘‘nonsignificant’’ as defined in DOT’s E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 36702 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) would not have a significant economic impact on small entities; (5) would not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the U.S.; and (6) would not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the threshold identified above. These analyses are summarized below. i. Who is potentially affected by this rule? All operators intending to conduct operations between FL290 and FL410 (RVSM designated Airspace) and have 1,000 feet vertical separation applied. This applies to operations conducted under parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135. ii. Assumptions • Present value estimates based on OMB guidance using a 7% discount rate. • This proposed rule would become effective in 2018. • The analysis period is 5 years from 2018 to 2022. The average equipage rate of ADS–B Out in RVSM airspace will be 83% in 2018, 95% in 2019, and reach 100% on January 1, 2020. B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) (RFA) establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation.’’ To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration. The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for- profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it would, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, Section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. The FAA estimates that this proposed rulemaking would save each affected small entity operating aircraft equipped with qualified ADS–B Out systems under Part 91 and Part 135 $1,630 8 from not having to apply for an RVSM authorization and from reduced fuel cost associated with not being restricted from RVSM operations while the authorization is processed. The FAA then compared this cost saving with a weighted average aircraft value of representative aircraft that would potentially be affected by this rule (See following table). Owners of new turbojet or turboprop airplanes would receive a benefit of $1,630 per new airplane. But, for new turbojet or turboprop airplanes whose value exceeds $3 million, the cost savings of less than $2,000 is not economically significant. If an agency determines that a rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, the head of the agency may so certify under Section 605(b) of the RFA. Therefore, as provided in Section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. C. International Trade Impact Assessment 8 Total relief of $1,630 for each Part 91 and Part 135 aircraft seeking authorization equipped with ADS–B Out is the sum of the estimated $214 per application preparation relief, plus the per aircraft fuel savings estimate of $1,416. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39), as amended by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103–465), prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 EP07AU17.022</GPH> jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS iii. Benefits and Cost Savings of This Rule The proposal would permit an operator of an aircraft meeting equipment requirements for operations in RVSM airspace and equipped with a qualified ADS–B Out system to operate in RVSM airspace without requiring application for a specific authorization. This rulemaking proposes to eliminate this application requirement, thereby reducing both operators’ costs and FAA workload, while maintaining the existing level of safety. The biggest savings comes not from the paperwork savings but from fuel savings. Currently operators without RVSM approval must operate their airplane at lower altitudes. Total savings during the first 5 years of the rule’s implementation would be approximately $35.3 million ($30.8 million present value at 7%). Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules commerce of the United States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the U.S., so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards, and where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this proposed rule and determined that it would have the same impact on domestic and international entities and thus has a neutral trade impact. D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any 1 year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155 million in lieu of $100 million. This proposed rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS E. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this proposed rule. F. International Compatibility In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has reviewed the corresponding ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and has identified no differences with these proposed regulations. G. Environmental Analysis FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 5–6.6 and involves no extraordinary circumstances. V. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs Executive Order 13771 titled ‘‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,’’ directs that, unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed. In addition, any new incremental costs associated with new regulations shall, to the extent permitted by law, be offset by the elimination of existing costs. Only those rules deemed significant under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review,’’ are subject to these requirements. This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action. Details on the estimated costs savings of this proposed rule can be found in the rule’s economic analysis. B. Executive Order 13132, Federalism The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have Federalism implications. C. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it would not be a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under the executive order and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. VI. Additional Information A. Comments Invited The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 36703 views. The agency also invites comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time. The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in light of the comments it receives. Proprietary or Confidential Business Information: Commenters should not file proprietary or confidential business information in the docket. Such information must be sent or delivered directly to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document, and marked as proprietary or confidential. If submitting information on a disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM, and identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is proprietary or confidential. B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the Internet by— 1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); 2. Visiting the FAA’s Regulations and Policies Web page at http:// www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or 3. Accessing the Government Printing Office’s Web page at http:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/. Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM–1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267–9677. Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this rulemaking. All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 36704 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item (1) above. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91 Aircraft, Air traffic control, Aviation safety. The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the FAA proposes to amend Chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows: PART 91—OPERATION AND FLIGHT RULES GENERAL 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506–46507, 47122, 47508, 47528–47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11) 2. Amend Appendix G to part 91 by: a. Revising the definition of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace in Section 1; ■ b. Revise paragraph 2(a) in Section 2; ■ c. Revise paragraphs 3(a), 3(b) introductory text, 3(c) introductory text, and 3(c)(2) in Section 3; ■ d. Revise paragraphs 4(b)(1) and 4(b)(2) and add paragraph 4(b)(3) in Section 4; ■ e. Revise the introductory text and paragraph 5(b) in Section 5; ■ f. Revise the introductory text in Section 7; ■ g. Revise Section 8; ■ h. Add Section 9. The revisions and additions read as follows: ■ ■ Section 1. Definitions Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace. Within RVSM airspace, air traffic control (ATC) separates aircraft by a minimum of 1,000 feet vertically between FL 290 and FL 410 inclusive. Air-traffic control notifies operators of RVSM airspace by providing route planning information. * * * * * jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Section 2. Aircraft Approval (a) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, an operator may be authorized to conduct RVSM operations if the Administrator finds that its aircraft comply with this section. * * * * * to conduct flight in airspace where RVSM is applied is issued in operations specifications, a Letter of Authorization, or management specifications issued under subpart K of this part, as appropriate. To issue an RVSM authorization under this section, the Administrator must find that the operator’s aircraft have been approved in accordance with Section 2 of this appendix and the operator complies with this section. (b) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, an applicant seeking authorization to operate within RVSM airspace must apply in a form and manner prescribed by the Administrator. The application must include the following: (1) * * * (2) * * * (3) * * * (c) In a manner prescribed by the Administrator, an operator seeking authorization under this section must provide evidence that: (1) * * * (2) Each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and procedures sufficient for the conduct of operations in RVSM airspace. Section 4. RVSM Operations (a) * * * (b) * * * (1) The operator is authorized by the Administrator to perform such operations in accordance with Section 3 or Section 9 of this appendix, as applicable. (2) The aircraft— (i) Has been approved and complies with Section 2 of this appendix; or (ii) Complies with Section 9 of this appendix. (3) Each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and procedures sufficient for the conduct of operations in RVSM airspace. Section 5. Deviation Authority Approval The Administrator may authorize an aircraft operator to deviate from the requirements of § 91.180 or § 91.706 for a specific flight in RVSM airspace if— (a) * * * (b) At the time of filing the flight plan for that flight, ATC determines that the aircraft may be provided appropriate separation and that the flight will not interfere with, or impose a burden on, RVSM operations. * * * * * Section 3. Operator Authorization Section 7. Removal or Amendment of Authority (a) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, authority for an operator The Administrator may prohibit or restrict an operator from conducting VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 operations in RVSM airspace, if the Administrator determines that the operator is not complying, or is unable to comply, with this appendix or subpart H of this part. Examples of reasons for amendment, revocation, or restriction include, but are not limited to, an operator’s: * * * * * Section 8. Airspace Designation RVSM may be applied in all ICAO Flight Information Regions (FIRs). Section 9. Aircraft Equipped With Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast Out An operator is authorized to conduct flight in airspace in which RVSM is applied provided: (a) The aircraft is equipped with the following: (1) Two operational independent altitude measurement systems. (2) At least one automatic altitude control system that controls the aircraft altitude— (i) Within a tolerance band of ±65 feet about an acquired altitude when the aircraft is operated in straight and level flight under nonturbulent, nongust conditions; or (ii) Within a tolerance band of ±130 feet under nonturbulent, nongust conditions for aircraft for which application for type certification occurred on or before April 9, 1997 that are equipped with an automatic altitude control system with flight management/ performance system inputs. (3) An altitude alert system that signals an alert when the altitude displayed to the flight crew deviates from the selected altitude by more than— (i) ±300 feet for aircraft for which application for type certification was made on or before April 9, 1997; or (ii) ±200 feet for aircraft for which application for type certification is made after April 9, 1997. (4) A TCAS II that meets TSO C–119b (Version 7.0), or a later version, if equipped with TCAS II, unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator. (5) Unless authorized by ATC or the foreign country where the aircraft is operated, an ADS–B Out system that meets the equipment performance requirements of § 91.227 of this part. The aircraft must have its heightkeeping performance monitored in a form and manner acceptable to the Administrator. (b) The altimetry system error (ASE) of the aircraft does not exceed 200 feet when operating in RVSM airspace. E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 150 / Monday, August 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40103(b), 40113(a), and 44701(a) in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2017. John Barbagallo, Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service. Hammond, Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504–7923. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2017–16197 Filed 8–4–17; 8:45 am] [CPSC Docket No. CPSC–2015–0022] Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants; Notice of Opportunity for Oral Presentation of Comments Consumer Product Safety Commission. ACTION: Notice of opportunity for oral presentation of comments. AGENCY: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or Commission) announces that there will be an opportunity for interested persons to present oral comments on the petition requesting that the Commission initiate rulemaking under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) to declare several categories of products containing additive organohalogen flame retardants to be ‘‘banned hazardous substances.’’ DATES: The meeting will begin at 10 a.m., September 14, 2017. Requests to make oral presentations and the written text of any oral presentations must be received by the Office of the Secretary not later than 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 31, 2017. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814. Requests to make oral presentations, and texts of oral presentations, should be captioned: ‘‘Organohalogen Flame Retardants Petition; Oral Presentation’’ and submitted by email to cpsc-os@cpsc.gov, or mailed or delivered to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, not later than 5 p.m. EDT on August 31, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the purpose or subject matter of this meeting, contact Michael Babich, Division of Toxicology & Risk Assessment, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 5 Research Place, Rockville, MD 20850; telephone (301) 987–2606. For information about the procedure to make an oral presentation, contact Rockelle jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:26 Aug 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 On July 1, 2015, the Commission received a petition requesting that the Commission initiate rulemaking under the FHSA to declare several categories of products containing additive organohalogen flame retardants to be ‘‘banned hazardous substances.’’ The petition was filed by Earthjustice and the Consumer Federation of America, which are joined by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Women’s Association, Consumers Union, Green Science Policy Institute, International Association of Fire Fighters, Kids in Danger, Philip Landrigan, M.D., M.P.H., League of United Latin American Citizens, Learning Disabilities Association of America, and Worksafe. CPSC staff has prepared a briefing package in response to the petition; the briefing package, which includes the petition in its entirety, is available at https:// www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/ PetitionHP15– 1RequestingRulemakingon CertainProductsContaining OrganohalogenFlameRetardants. pdf?aTsa_sSaCiSMf1Z_ 2CfvISjMHFEdWKZ7. B. The Public Meeting The Commission is providing this forum for oral presentations concerning the petition. See the information under the headings DATES and ADDRESSES at the beginning of this notice for information on making requests to give oral presentations at the meeting. Participants should limit their presentations to approximately 10 minutes, exclusive of any periods of questioning by the Commissioners. To prevent duplicative presentations, groups will be directed to designate a spokesperson. The Commission reserves the right to limit the time further for any presentation and impose restrictions to avoid excessive duplication of presentations. Dated: August 2, 2017. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. [FR Doc. 2017–16588 Filed 8–4–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 39 CFR part 3050 [Docket No. RM2017–11; Order No. 4024] Postal Regulatory Commission. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: BILLING CODE 4910–13–P 16 CFR Chapter II POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION Periodic Reporting A. Background CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 36705 Sfmt 4702 ACTION: The Commission is announcing a recent filing requesting that the Commission initiate an informal rulemaking proceeding to consider changes to an analytical method for use in periodic reporting (Proposal Seven). This document informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps. DATES: Comments are due: September 15, 2017. ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically via the Commission’s Filing Online system at http:// www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202–789–6820. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Proposal Seven III. Notice and Comment IV. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction On July 28, 2017, the Postal Service filed a petition pursuant to 39 CFR 3050.11 requesting that the Commission initiate an informal rulemaking proceeding to consider changes to an analytical method relating to periodic reports.1 The Petition identifies the proposed analytical method changes filed in this docket as Proposal Seven. II. Proposal Seven The Postal Service explains that for many years it has calculated the ‘‘USPS Marketing Mail’’ dropship passthroughs for flats and parcels rate categories only with reference to the per-pound price element above the piece-pound breakpoint. For greater accuracy it proposes to include the per-piece price element below the breakpoint in the calculation. Petition, Proposal Seven at 1. 1 Petition of the United States Postal Service for the Initiation of a Proceeding to Consider Proposed Changes in Analytical Principles (Proposal Seven), July 28, 2017 (Petition). E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 150 (Monday, August 7, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36697-36705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-16197]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 91

[Docket No.: FAA-2017-0782; Notice No. 91-348]
RIN 2120-AK87


Use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out in 
Support of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Operations

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This proposal would revise the FAA's requirements for 
application to operate in RVSM airspace. The proposal would eliminate 
the requirement for operators to apply for an RVSM authorization when 
their aircraft are equipped with qualified ADS-B Out systems and meet 
specific altitude keeping equipment requirements for operations in RVSM 
airspace. This proposal recognizes the enhancements in aircraft 
monitoring resulting from the use of ADS-B Out systems and responds to 
requests to eliminate the burden and expense of the current RVSM 
application process for operators of aircraft equipped with qualified 
ADS-B Out systems.

DATES: Send comments on or before September 6, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2017-0782 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, 
West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at (202) 493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this action, contact Madison Walton, Aviation Safety Inspector, Flight 
Technologies and Procedures Division, Flight Standards Services, AFS-
400, Federal Aviation Administration, 470 L'Enfant Plaza, Suite 4102, 
Washington, DC 20024, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-8850; email 
Madison.Walton@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules with respect to aviation safety 
is found in Title 49, United States Code (49 U.S.C.). Sections 106(f), 
40113(a), and 44701(a) authorize the FAA Administrator to prescribe 
regulations necessary for aviation safety. Under Section 40103(b), the 
FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to enhance the efficiency 
of the national airspace. This proposed rulemaking is within the scope 
of these authorities as it removes regulatory requirements that the FAA 
no longer finds necessary for safe operations in RVSM airspace and 
establishes requirements for the use of qualified ADS-B Out systems to 
facilitate operations in that airspace.

I. Executive Summary

A. Summary of the Proposed Rule

    This proposal would permit an operator of an aircraft equipped with 
a qualified ADS-B Out system meeting altitude keeping equipment 
performance requirements for operations in RVSM airspace to operate in 
that airspace without requiring a specific authorization. Under this 
proposal the FAA would consider a qualified ADS-B Out system to be one 
that meets the requirements of Sec.  91.227 of Title 14, Code of 
Federal Regulations (14 CFR).
    The requirement for operators to obtain a specific RVSM 
authorization was first promulgated in 1997 when most aircraft required 
significant design changes to qualify for an authorization. At that 
time, operators lacked familiarity with RVSM operations and were 
required to submit a detailed application to the FAA for review to 
obtain an RVSM authorization. This application included information on 
the operator's compliance with RVSM equipment standards, a description 
of the operator's RVSM maintenance program, and evidence of initial and 
recurrent pilot training. Since then, operators have become more 
familiar with RVSM operations, requirements, and procedures. 
Additionally, the height-keeping performance of aircraft

[[Page 36698]]

equipped with ADS-B Out systems can be continually monitored to confirm 
that these aircraft are meeting RVSM performance standards. Based on 
the technological advances provided by ADS-B Out systems, detailed 
applications and specific authorizations for operators of these 
aircraft to conduct operations in RVSM airspace is no longer required.
    Accordingly, under this proposal, the requirement to submit 
applications for RVSM authorization would no longer be applied to 
operators of aircraft that are equipped with qualified ADS-B Out 
systems and meet altitude-keeping equipment performance requirements 
for operations in RVSM airspace. By eliminating this application 
requirement, the proposal would reduce both operators' costs and FAA 
workload, while maintaining the existing level of safety. Additionally, 
since RVSM airspace has been implemented worldwide, the proposal would 
also remove the detailed designations of where RVSM may be applied that 
are currently found in Appendix G of part 91.

B. Summary of Costs and Benefits

    This proposal would not impose any costs on regulated entities. The 
FAA estimates that the proposal would result in approximately $35 
million (30.8 million of 7% present value) in cost savings during the 
first 5 years of the rule's implementation primarily resulting from the 
ability of operators to operate their aircraft at more fuel efficient 
RVSM altitudes. The FAA estimates that this proposed rulemaking would 
save each affected small entity operating aircraft equipped with 
qualified ADS-B Out systems under parts 91 and 135 a total of $1,630. 
Savings would result from the benefit of not having to apply for RVSM 
authorizations and from reduced fuel costs associated with not being 
restricted from RVSM operations while the authorization is processed.

II. Background

A. Statement of the Problem

    The current process for obtaining RVSM authorizations was developed 
when RVSM airspace was initially implemented in 1997 (62 FR 17487; Apr. 
9, 1997). At that time, most aircraft were not manufactured to comply 
with RVSM performance requirements and needed significant modifications 
to meet the altimetry system performance requirements necessary for 
flight in RVSM airspace. Since the reduced vertical separation 
standards employed in RVSM airspace were new to most pilots and air 
traffic controllers, validation of operational policies and procedures 
to operate in that airspace was necessary to ensure effective 
implementation of these reduced vertical separation standards. To 
assist in accomplishing this task, the FAA established systems to 
provide height-keeping performance monitoring with the overall goal to 
ensure that aircraft airworthiness, maintenance, and operational 
approval requirements resulted in the level of safety and system 
performance necessary to operate in this airspace on a continuing 
basis. The technology originally used to monitor an aircraft's 
performance was limited and capable of only a small number of aircraft 
observations during a flight.
    Since that time, RVSM technology has matured and most aircraft 
manufactured today that are capable of operating in RVSM airspace are 
delivered from the manufacturer as RVSM compliant. RVSM airspace has 
been implemented worldwide, familiarity with operational policy and 
procedures has significantly increased, and the vast majority of the 
RVSM capable fleet demonstrates excellent altimetry system 
performance.\1\ Additionally, the increasing equipage of aircraft with 
ADS-B Out systems makes the current process of obtaining RVSM 
authorizations for operation of those aircraft in RVSM airspace 
unnecessary, as ADS-B Out enables continual monitoring of aircraft 
height-keeping performance and rapid notification of altimetry system 
error (ASE).
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    \1\ FAA analysis of 22,154 U.S. registered RVSM approved 
airplanes estimates that 99.9% of those aircraft operate within the 
ASE containment standards specified in part 91, Appendix G of part 
91. The RVSM target level of safety in the national airspace has 
been met every year since 2003 when RVSM operations started.
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B. History of Vertical Separation Standards

    Vertical separation standards establish the minimum vertical 
distance between aircraft routes in the national airspace system. In 
the early 1970's, increasing air-traffic volume and fuel costs sparked 
an interest in reducing vertical separation standards for aircraft 
operating above Flight Level (FL)290.\2\ At the time, the FAA required 
aircraft operating above FL290 to maintain a minimum of 2,000 feet of 
vertical separation between routes. Use of these high-altitude routes 
was desirable because the diminished atmospheric drag at high altitudes 
results in a corresponding increase in aircraft fuel efficiency. 
Operators sought, and continue to seek, not only the most direct 
routes, but also the most efficient altitudes for their aircraft. 
Increased demand for these high-altitude routes, however, has resulted 
in greater aircraft congestion in this airspace.
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    \2\ Above 18,000 feet, FL are a measure of altitude assigned in 
500-foot. increments; FL290 represents an altitude of 29,000 feet 
with standard atmospheric pressure of 29.92 inches in mercury (Hg).
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    In 1973, the Air Transport Association of America petitioned the 
FAA to reduce the vertical separation of high altitude routes from 
2,000 feet to 1,000 feet. The FAA denied the petition in 1977, in part 
because the technology to meet these more rigorous separation standards 
was neither generally available nor proven. Deficiencies included 
insufficient aircraft altitude-keeping standards, lack of maintenance 
and operational standards, and limited altitude correction technology.
    In mid-1981, the FAA initiated the Vertical Studies Program. This 
program, in conjunction with RTCA (formerly the Radio Technical 
Commission for Aeronautics) Special Committee (SC)-150 and the 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Review of General 
Concept of Separation Panel (RGCSP), determined:
     RVSM is ``technically feasible without imposing 
unreasonably demanding technical requirements on the equipment.''
     RVSM could provide ``significant benefits in terms of 
economy and en-route airspace capacity.''
     Implementation of RVSM would require ``sound operational 
judgment supported by an assessment of system performance based on: 
aircraft altitude-keeping capability, operational considerations, 
system performance monitoring, and risk assessment.''
    Following these determinations, the FAA began a two-phase 
implementation process for RVSM operations for aircraft registered in 
the United States (U.S.). During the first phase in 1997, the FAA added 
Sec.  91.706 (Operations within airspace designed as RVSM Airspace) and 
Appendix G (Operations in RVSM Airspace) to part 91 (62 FR 17487; Apr. 
9, 1997). Section 91.706 permits operators of U.S.-registered aircraft 
to operate in RVSM airspace outside of the U.S. in accordance with the 
provisions of Appendix G. Appendix G contains a set of operational, 
design, maintenance, and other standards applicable to operators 
seeking to operate in RVSM airspace. It specifies a detailed 
application process that requires operators to provide evidence that 
the operator's aircraft design satisfies RVSM performance requirements 
and has policies and procedures for the safe conduct of RVSM 
operations. Until recently, it also required that the

[[Page 36699]]

operator have a specific program for the maintenance of RVSM systems 
and equipment. The FAA reviews the applications and grants 
authorizations to operate in RVSM airspace after finding that the 
applicable requirements are met.
    The second phase of RVSM implementation occurred in October 2003, 
with a second RVSM-related rulemaking action (68 FR 61304; Oct. 27, 
2003). This rule introduced RVSM airspace in the U.S. and used the same 
authorization process previously established under Appendix G to part 
91. As established in 2003, the FAA's RVSM program allows for 1,000 
feet of vertical separation for aircraft between FL290 and FL410. 
Before this final rule, air traffic controllers could only assign 
aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flying at FL290 
and above to FL290, 310, 330, 350, 370, 390, and 410 since the existing 
vertical separation standard was 2,000 feet. After the rule changes 
went into effect, IFR aircraft could also fly at FL300, 320, 340, 360, 
380, and 400--nearly doubling capacity within this particular segment 
of airspace.
    The FAA also implemented a performance monitoring program to 
support implementation of RVSM. This program includes Global 
Positioning System (GPS)-based height-keeping monitoring units (GMUs) 
capable of being deployed onboard aircraft during individual RVSM 
flights. Later, in 2005, the FAA deployed the first of five passive 
ground-based aircraft geometric height measurement element (AGHME) 
sites in the continental U.S. to conduct height-keeping performance 
monitoring of aircraft passing over each site. Other civil aviation 
authorities throughout the world have also developed similar height 
monitoring sites.
    In 2008, the FAA reviewed its RVSM program and operator 
authorization policies. At that time, there were more than 7,000 active 
RVSM authorizations, covering in excess of 15,000 U.S.-registered 
aircraft. The FAA's evaluation found the existing processes ensured 
compliance with the RVSM operating requirements. At the same time 
however, FAA representatives began meeting with the National Business 
Aviation Association (NBAA) to develop ways to streamline the RVSM 
application process to lower the burden on operators to obtain RVSM 
authorizations and reduce the FAA's workload associated with processing 
and granting these authorizations. The parties formed the RVSM Process 
Enhancement Team (PET) within the Performance based Aviation Rulemaking 
Committee. The PET submitted its final recommendations to the FAA in 
2013. As a result the FAA revised existing policies and guidance to 
facilitate more efficient processing of requests to change existing 
authorizations and created a job aid to assist inspectors in 
standardizing review of operator applications.
    The FAA also completed rulemaking in 2016 to further reduce the 
burden on applicants by eliminating the requirement that RVSM 
applicants include an approved RVSM maintenance program as part of an 
application for an RVSM authorization. (81 FR 47009, Jul. 20, 2016)

III. Discussion of the Proposal

    This proposed rulemaking would permit operators of qualified ADS-B 
Out equipped aircraft to operate without submitting an application for 
an RVSM authorization when operating where the FAA has ADS-B coverage 
sufficient to confirm RVSM height-keeping performance. The proposal 
would eliminate this process for aircraft equipped with qualified ADS-B 
Out systems as a result of the agency's ability to effectively and 
continually monitor the height-keeping performance of these aircraft.

A. Specific Requirements for Aircraft Equipped With Qualified ADS-B Out 
Systems

    This proposal would add a new Section 9 (Aircraft Equipped with 
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out) to Appendix G of part 
91. The proposal would authorize operators of aircraft, equipped with 
qualified ADS-B Out systems, (i.e. systems that meet the requirements 
of 14 CFR 91.227) that can be monitored by the FAA to conduct RVSM 
operations without submitting an application for an authorization to 
operate in RVSM airspace. The height-keeping performance of these 
aircraft would be required to be equivalent to that achieved by 
individual aircraft approved under current provisions of Section 2 of 
Appendix G.
    To be eligible for operations in RVSM airspace an operator's 
aircraft must meet strict height-keeping performance standards. Under 
this proposal, an operator would be authorized to conduct flight in 
airspace in which RVSM is applied when the operator's aircraft complies 
with the provisions proposed in Section 9. These operations would be 
conducted in airspace where the FAA has ADS-B coverage sufficient to 
confirm RVSM height-keeping performance.\3\ No specific authorization 
would be necessary. However, an operator could still operate with an 
authorization issued under the provisions of Section 3 of Appendix G if 
its aircraft are not equipped with a qualified ADS-B Out system. The 
FAA also notes that if a foreign country requires a specific 
authorization to operate in RVSM airspace an operator may need to seek 
authorization under the provisions of Section 3, even if it meets the 
provisions of proposed Section 9.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Airspace where the FAA has ADS-B coverage sufficient to 
confirm RVSM height-keeping performance is depicted at https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/adsb/coveragemap. This coverage area 
may include airspace in which ADS-B equipage is not required.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When RVSM was first established, the FAA and other international 
air traffic service organizations developed systems for monitoring 
aircraft altitude-keeping performance. The systems are used to measure 
Total Vertical Error (TVE), including ASE. The overall goal of height-
keeping performance monitoring is to ensure that airworthiness, 
maintenance and operational approval requirements result in required 
system performance and level of safety in the flight environment on an 
ongoing basis. Aircraft equipped with qualified ADS-B Out systems 
continuously transmit aircraft geometric position information used to 
calculate their height-keeping performance.
    Operators wishing to take advantage of proposed Section 9's 
provisions would be required to operate aircraft equipped with a 
qualified ADS-B Out system installed as specified in proposed Section 
9(a)(5) which would allow the FAA to monitor the aircraft height-
keeping performance in RVSM airspace where the FAA has ADS-B coverage. 
This monitoring capability enables the FAA to eliminate the application 
process for RVSM authorization. The ADS-B Out equipment requirement in 
proposed Section 9(a)(5) is necessary for aircraft height-keeping 
performance monitoring, but not for aircraft height-keeping capability. 
Accordingly, as proposed in Section 9(a)(5), an aircraft that the FAA 
has previously been found to be operating within required height-
keeping performance parameters may be authorized to operate in RVSM 
airspace when ADS-B Out is inoperable for a specific flight.
    The proposal also specifies, in Section 9(a), the essential 
aircraft equipment and capabilities, including altitude measurement 
systems; altitude control systems; and altitude alert systems, required 
to be operational for the

[[Page 36700]]

aircraft to be eligible for RVSM. The proposed RVSM height-keeping 
equipment requirements in Section 9(a) are the same as those for non-
ADS-B Out equipped aircraft in paragraph (c) of Section 2 of Appendix 
G. The FAA has determined the current fleet of RVSM approved aircraft 
consistently meet FAA established safety standards and accordingly has 
not proposed any changes to the current RVSM equipment standards for 
ADS-B Out equipped aircraft.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The RVSM target level of safety in the national airspace has 
been met every year since 2003 when RVSM operations started.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA notes that a Traffic Collision Avoidance Alert System 
(TCAS) is not specifically required for RVSM operations. Other FAA 
regulations specify when an aircraft must be equipped with a collision 
avoidance system. However, for operations in RVSM airspace, aircraft 
that are equipped with TCAS II must meet Technical Standards Order 
(TSO) C-119b and be modified to incorporate software Version 7.0, or a 
later version. This requirement is specified as an aircraft approval 
requirement in current paragraph (g) of Section 2 of Appendix G. The 
proposed requirement for operators of ADS-B Out equipped aircraft 
seeking to operate in RVSM airspace that are also equipped with TCAS II 
must meet TSO C-119b (Version 7.0), or later, is necessary because 
earlier TCAS software versions did not incorporate revised alert 
thresholds for traffic alerts (TA) and resolution advisories (RA) for 
FL300 through FL420 that are compatible with RVSM operations. These 
provisions for TCAS II equipped aircraft in paragraph (a)(4) of 
proposed Section 9 are identical to current provisions for existing 
RVSM aircraft approval under Section 2 of Appendix G.
    Additionally, the FAA also proposes a single ASE containment 
requirement for aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out in proposed Section 
9(b). This requirement corresponds to limits for ASE containment when 
RVSM was first established and is consistent with RVSM performance 
criteria used for aircraft approval in Section 2 of Appendix G. It 
allows performance monitoring to be applied to each aircraft without 
relying on aggregated data collected from many aircraft of the same 
RVSM monitoring group. For these operations, the FAA can rapidly detect 
when individual aircraft performance has deteriorated outside the 
proposed ASE tolerance. The proposal would require that aircraft 
continually meet this requirement to be eligible for RVSM operations 
under the provisions of this proposed section.

B. Removal of Specific Airspace Designations

    As discussed in the ``Background'' section of this document, RVSM 
was implemented regionally in a phased approach. Section 8 (Airspace 
Designation) of Appendix G was initially designed to be updated 
whenever regions added RVSM airspace. The inability to rapidly update 
these designations caused discrepancies between the airspace listed in 
Section 8 of Appendix G and the airspace in which RVSM had been 
applied. Today, however, RVSM has been established between FL290 and 
FL410 in all flight information regions (FIRs) \5\ and requirements 
have been harmonized throughout ICAO member States. Accordingly, there 
is no longer a need to update the airspace designations listed in 
Section 8. The proposed amendment to this section acknowledges RVSM is 
now applied worldwide \6\ and removes the detailed RVSM airspace 
designations from that section.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ A FIR is airspace of defined dimensions within which Flight 
Information Service and Alerting Service are provided. All U.S. 
airspace is contained with designated FIRs.
    \6\ An operator may choose to review a State's AIP for 
individual areas where RVSM is applied.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Conforming Amendments

    Additional amendments to Appendix G to part 91 are proposed to 
facilitate the addition of the approval requirements specified in 
Section 9 for ADS-B Out equipped aircraft.
    The proposed changes to Section 1 (RVSM definition), recognize that 
RVSM is no longer a new concept and that RVSM operations have become a 
standard operation between FL290 and FL410. Accordingly, the proposed 
changes to this section would remove the ``special qualification'' 
designation for RVSM airspace and references referring to operator 
specific approvals. Since RVSM has now been implemented worldwide, a 
reference to RVSM airspace identified in Section 8 is no longer needed 
and would be removed.
    The proposed changes in Section 2 (Aircraft Approval) and Section 3 
(Operator Authorization) recognize that aircraft operators may either, 
use the current aircraft approval process specified in Section 2 and 
the operator authorization process specified in Section 3, or the 
authorization process proposed in new Section 9 for aircraft equipped 
with qualified ADS-B Out systems to obtain authorization to conduct 
RVSM operations.
    Proposed changes to paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) in Section 3 
(Operator Authorization) would not only allow for an operator to be 
authorized to conduct flight in airspace where RVSM is applied under 
the provisions of this section as is currently permitted but would also 
recognize that operators would be authorized to conduct RVSM operations 
under the provisions of proposed Section 9.
    Additionally, under the provisions of current Section 3 (Operator 
Authorization), each operator must provide evidence that each of its 
pilots has adequate knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and 
procedures when applying for an RVSM authorization. To better clarify 
the intent of the rule, current Section (3)(c) would be revised to 
state that ``each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, 
and procedures sufficient for the conduct operations in RVSM 
airspace''.
    To ensure the pilots of aircraft of operators who have been 
authorized to conduct RVSM operations in accordance with proposed 
Section 9 have knowledge of the requirements, policies, and procedures 
sufficient for the conduct operations in RVSM airspace, proposed 
paragraph (b)(3) would be added to Section 4 (RVSM Operations). The new 
provision is identical to revised Section 3(c)(2). Knowledge sufficient 
to conduct RVSM operations includes, but is not limited to; RVSM FL 
protocols, flight planning requirements, inflight procedures, and 
contingency procedures for areas of intended operation. The FAA 
publishes applicable guidance material in the Aeronautical Information 
Manual (AIM), Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), and Advisory 
Circular (AC) 91-85. Proposed Section 4 has also been revised to 
specify that an operator may be authorized to conduct RVSM operations 
under the provisions of Section 3 (as is currently stated) or under 
proposed Section 9.
    Section 5 (Deviation Authority Approval) would be revised to 
eliminate the specific references to Section 3 since the Administrator 
may authorize deviations from the requirements in Sec.  91.180 and 
Sec.  91.706 for a specific flight in RVSM airspace for operators who 
may not meet the provisions of current Section 3 or proposed Section 9. 
This section would be revised to address the inclusion of proposed 
Section 9 in Appendix G.
    Currently Section 7 (Removal or Amendment of Authority) states that 
the Administrator may revoke or restrict an

[[Page 36701]]

RVSM authorization or RVSM letter of authorization. This section would 
be revised to eliminate specific references to the revocation or 
restriction of RVSM authorizations and letters of authorization and 
replace those provisions with a more general provision stating that the 
Administrator may prohibit or restrict operation in RVSM airspace if an 
operator fails to comply with certain specified provisions. This 
revision is necessary as the current section only addresses the removal 
or amendment of authority through operations specifications, management 
specifications, and letters of authorization. As the proposal would 
permit RVSM operations to be conducted without a specific authorization 
document issued by the Administrator, this section has been revised to 
indicate that the Administrator may prohibit or restrict an operator's 
ability to operate in RVSM airspace even if that authorization is not 
specified in operations specifications, management specifications, or a 
letter of authorization.

D. Implementing Information

    The FAA would perform height-keeping performance monitoring on ADS-
B Out equipped flights operating at RVSM altitudes for all airspace 
defined in Sec.  91.225. This monitoring capability is the result of 
the FAA having access to ADS-B data from flights in RVSM airspace which 
would be obtained during normal operations. ADS-B Out systems, meeting 
the performance requirements of Sec.  91.227, transmit the necessary 
aircraft position information to allow the FAA to perform height-
keeping performance monitoring on a continual basis. This level of 
monitoring was not previously available due to the limited number and 
range of AGHME systems or special effort required to fly with a GPS-
based monitoring unit (GMU) on board an aircraft for an individual 
flight. The continual monitoring enabled by ADS-B Out provides 
increased height-keeping performance data on an individual aircraft 
basis and enables the FAA to identify poor ASE performance sooner, 
allowing quicker mitigation of any risk posed by poor performing 
aircraft. Additionally, in airspace where the U.S. performs ADS-B 
monitoring, operators of ADS-B Out aircraft would be able to begin RVSM 
operations immediately. This ability to operate immediately would lower 
costs and eliminate the delay caused during the processing of an 
application for authorization.
    For operations outside U.S. airspace, where ADS-B height monitoring 
may not be available, an aircraft that has recently been monitored by 
the FAA and found to be operating normally could be safely operated 
outside of FAA-monitored airspace with a high degree of confidence that 
the performance requirements would continue to be met.
    The FAA has developed and maintains guidance for operators, based 
on statistical performance analysis, on the time interval that aircraft 
should return to airspace with FAA ADS-B monitoring capability or 
obtain a traditional RVSM approval to ensure that the aircraft meets 
applicable performance requirements. Advisory Circular AC 91-85, 
Authorization of Aircraft and Operators for Flight in Reduced Vertical 
Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace, includes the initial criteria which 
would be revised with ongoing monitoring experience. The FAA may also 
expand the airspace in which we collect ADS-B data, through 
collaboration with other air navigation service providers or operators.
    The FAA will maintain a database of aircraft that have been 
monitored and are performing within the required performance as 
specified in proposed Section 9. When a new aircraft is entered into 
service, the operator must have the initial flight in airspace that can 
be monitored by the FAA in order to take advantage of proposed Section 
9. For a new aircraft that is entered into service and cannot be 
monitored by the FAA (such as manufactured and delivered outside the 
U.S.), the operator should obtain an approval in accordance with 
section 3 before operating in RVSM airspace.
    In addition, the FAA intends to transition current approvals, 
issued under section 3, to monitored operations under the provisions of 
section 9, in order to reduce the operator and FAA administrative 
burden of maintaining the section 3 approval. Once an operator's fleet 
of aircraft have been monitored, the FAA intends to notify the operator 
that the section 3 approval will be terminated and their authority to 
operate in RVSM transferred to the provisions of section 9. The FAA 
will allow operators to maintain their section 3 approval if the 
operator notifies the FAA that a specific authorization is required for 
operations in another country.
    The FAA also plans to share ADS-B performance concepts and 
monitoring techniques with ICAO, so that other States can perform their 
own RVSM performance monitoring.\7\ The FAA would publish guidance 
material addressing the frequency, durability, and coverage of our ADS-
B monitoring that we find acceptable and work with ICAO to develop 
guidance applicable to RVSM capable aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out 
systems. The FAA would make aircraft performance summaries available to 
operators to assist them in assuring compliance with the RVSM 
performance requirements. The FAA believes that the implementing 
actions described in this proposal would reduce operator and FAA 
workload and expense, with no additional risk.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Currently Australia, Thailand, China, and Hong Kong utilize 
ADS-B Out for RVSM height-keeping performance monitoring. 
Eurocontrol, Japan, Russia, and other States are considering its 
use.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. 
L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of 
regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act 
(Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create 
unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In 
developing U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider 
international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis 
of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of 
the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that 
include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, 
local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with 
base year of 1995; current value is $155 million). This portion of the 
preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this 
proposed rule. We suggest readers seeking greater detail read the full 
regulatory evaluation, a copy of which we have placed in the docket for 
this rulemaking.
    In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this 
proposed rule: (1) Has benefits that justify its costs, (2) is not an 
economically ``significant regulatory action'' as defined in Section 
3(f) of Executive Order 12866, (3) is ``nonsignificant'' as defined in 
DOT's

[[Page 36702]]

Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) would not have a significant 
economic impact on small entities; (5) would not create unnecessary 
obstacles to the foreign commerce of the U.S.; and (6) would not impose 
an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal governments, or on the 
private sector by exceeding the threshold identified above. These 
analyses are summarized below.
i. Who is potentially affected by this rule?
    All operators intending to conduct operations between FL290 and 
FL410 (RVSM designated Airspace) and have 1,000 feet vertical 
separation applied. This applies to operations conducted under parts 
91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135.
ii. Assumptions
     Present value estimates based on OMB guidance using a 7% 
discount rate.
     This proposed rule would become effective in 2018.
     The analysis period is 5 years from 2018 to 2022.
    The average equipage rate of ADS-B Out in RVSM airspace will be 83% 
in 2018, 95% in 2019, and reach 100% on January 1, 2020.
iii. Benefits and Cost Savings of This Rule
    The proposal would permit an operator of an aircraft meeting 
equipment requirements for operations in RVSM airspace and equipped 
with a qualified ADS-B Out system to operate in RVSM airspace without 
requiring application for a specific authorization. This rulemaking 
proposes to eliminate this application requirement, thereby reducing 
both operators' costs and FAA workload, while maintaining the existing 
level of safety. The biggest savings comes not from the paperwork 
savings but from fuel savings. Currently operators without RVSM 
approval must operate their airplane at lower altitudes.
    Total savings during the first 5 years of the rule's implementation 
would be approximately $35.3 million ($30.8 million present value at 
7%).

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation.'' To achieve this principle, agencies are 
required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to 
explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals 
are given serious consideration. The RFA covers a wide-range of small 
entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and 
small governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule would 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it would, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.
    However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, Section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the 
agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. The certification must include a statement providing the 
factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be 
clear. The FAA estimates that this proposed rulemaking would save each 
affected small entity operating aircraft equipped with qualified ADS-B 
Out systems under Part 91 and Part 135 $1,630 \8\ from not having to 
apply for an RVSM authorization and from reduced fuel cost associated 
with not being restricted from RVSM operations while the authorization 
is processed. The FAA then compared this cost saving with a weighted 
average aircraft value of representative aircraft that would 
potentially be affected by this rule (See following table).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Total relief of $1,630 for each Part 91 and Part 135 
aircraft seeking authorization equipped with ADS-B Out is the sum of 
the estimated $214 per application preparation relief, plus the per 
aircraft fuel savings estimate of $1,416.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07AU17.022

    Owners of new turbojet or turboprop airplanes would receive a 
benefit of $1,630 per new airplane. But, for new turbojet or turboprop 
airplanes whose value exceeds $3 million, the cost savings of less than 
$2,000 is not economically significant. If an agency determines that a 
rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, the head of the agency may so 
certify under Section 605(b) of the RFA. Therefore, as provided in 
Section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will 
not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign

[[Page 36703]]

commerce of the United States. Pursuant to these Acts, the 
establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to 
the foreign commerce of the U.S., so long as the standard has a 
legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and 
does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this 
objective. The statute also requires consideration of international 
standards, and where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. 
standards. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this proposed 
rule and determined that it would have the same impact on domestic and 
international entities and thus has a neutral trade impact.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any 1 year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155 million in lieu of $100 
million. This proposed rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, 
the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that 
there is no new requirement for information collection associated with 
this proposed rule.

F. International Compatibility

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to ICAO 
Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. 
The FAA has reviewed the corresponding ICAO Standards and Recommended 
Practices and has identified no differences with these proposed 
regulations.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical 
exclusion identified in paragraph 5-6.6 and involves no extraordinary 
circumstances.

V. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs

    Executive Order 13771 titled ``Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs,'' directs that, unless prohibited by law, whenever an 
executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment 
or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least 
two existing regulations to be repealed. In addition, any new 
incremental costs associated with new regulations shall, to the extent 
permitted by law, be offset by the elimination of existing costs. Only 
those rules deemed significant under section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' are subject to these 
requirements.
    This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory 
action. Details on the estimated costs savings of this proposed rule 
can be found in the rule's economic analysis.

B. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has 
determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect 
on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and 
the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have 
Federalism implications.

C. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
would not be a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order 
and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy.

VI. Additional Information

A. Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The agency 
also invites comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, 
or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in 
this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion 
of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and 
include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain 
duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written 
comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should 
submit only one time.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well 
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA 
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this 
proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before 
the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed 
after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without 
incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in 
light of the comments it receives.
    Proprietary or Confidential Business Information: Commenters should 
not file proprietary or confidential business information in the 
docket. Such information must be sent or delivered directly to the 
person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document, and marked as proprietary or confidential. If submitting 
information on a disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD 
ROM, and identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific 
information that is proprietary or confidential.

B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the 
Internet by--
    1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or
    3. Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677. 
Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this 
rulemaking.
    All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, 
including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from

[[Page 36704]]

the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item 
(1) above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

    Aircraft, Air traffic control, Aviation safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the FAA proposes to amend 
Chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 91--OPERATION AND FLIGHT RULES GENERAL

0
1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 
40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 
44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 
47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the 
Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 
Stat. 11)

0
2. Amend Appendix G to part 91 by:
0
a. Revising the definition of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum 
(RVSM) Airspace in Section 1;
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b. Revise paragraph 2(a) in Section 2;
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c. Revise paragraphs 3(a), 3(b) introductory text, 3(c) introductory 
text, and 3(c)(2) in Section 3;
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d. Revise paragraphs 4(b)(1) and 4(b)(2) and add paragraph 4(b)(3) in 
Section 4;
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e. Revise the introductory text and paragraph 5(b) in Section 5;
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f. Revise the introductory text in Section 7;
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g. Revise Section 8;
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h. Add Section 9.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:

Section 1. Definitions

    Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Airspace. Within RVSM 
airspace, air traffic control (ATC) separates aircraft by a minimum of 
1,000 feet vertically between FL 290 and FL 410 inclusive. Air-traffic 
control notifies operators of RVSM airspace by providing route planning 
information.
* * * * *

Section 2. Aircraft Approval

    (a) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, an operator 
may be authorized to conduct RVSM operations if the Administrator finds 
that its aircraft comply with this section.
* * * * *

Section 3. Operator Authorization

    (a) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, authority 
for an operator to conduct flight in airspace where RVSM is applied is 
issued in operations specifications, a Letter of Authorization, or 
management specifications issued under subpart K of this part, as 
appropriate. To issue an RVSM authorization under this section, the 
Administrator must find that the operator's aircraft have been approved 
in accordance with Section 2 of this appendix and the operator complies 
with this section.
    (b) Except as specified in Section 9 of this appendix, an applicant 
seeking authorization to operate within RVSM airspace must apply in a 
form and manner prescribed by the Administrator. The application must 
include the following:
    (1) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (c) In a manner prescribed by the Administrator, an operator 
seeking authorization under this section must provide evidence that:
    (1) * * *
    (2) Each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and 
procedures sufficient for the conduct of operations in RVSM airspace.

Section 4. RVSM Operations

    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) The operator is authorized by the Administrator to perform such 
operations in accordance with Section 3 or Section 9 of this appendix, 
as applicable.
    (2) The aircraft--
    (i) Has been approved and complies with Section 2 of this appendix; 
or
    (ii) Complies with Section 9 of this appendix.
    (3) Each pilot has knowledge of RVSM requirements, policies, and 
procedures sufficient for the conduct of operations in RVSM airspace.

Section 5. Deviation Authority Approval

    The Administrator may authorize an aircraft operator to deviate 
from the requirements of Sec.  91.180 or Sec.  91.706 for a specific 
flight in RVSM airspace if--
    (a) * * *
    (b) At the time of filing the flight plan for that flight, ATC 
determines that the aircraft may be provided appropriate separation and 
that the flight will not interfere with, or impose a burden on, RVSM 
operations.
* * * * *

Section 7. Removal or Amendment of Authority

    The Administrator may prohibit or restrict an operator from 
conducting operations in RVSM airspace, if the Administrator determines 
that the operator is not complying, or is unable to comply, with this 
appendix or subpart H of this part. Examples of reasons for amendment, 
revocation, or restriction include, but are not limited to, an 
operator's:
* * * * *

Section 8. Airspace Designation

    RVSM may be applied in all ICAO Flight Information Regions (FIRs).

Section 9. Aircraft Equipped With Automatic Dependent Surveillance--
Broadcast Out

    An operator is authorized to conduct flight in airspace in which 
RVSM is applied provided:
    (a) The aircraft is equipped with the following:
    (1) Two operational independent altitude measurement systems.
    (2) At least one automatic altitude control system that controls 
the aircraft altitude--
    (i) Within a tolerance band of 65 feet about an 
acquired altitude when the aircraft is operated in straight and level 
flight under nonturbulent, nongust conditions; or
    (ii) Within a tolerance band of 130 feet under 
nonturbulent, nongust conditions for aircraft for which application for 
type certification occurred on or before April 9, 1997 that are 
equipped with an automatic altitude control system with flight 
management/performance system inputs.
    (3) An altitude alert system that signals an alert when the 
altitude displayed to the flight crew deviates from the selected 
altitude by more than--
    (i) 300 feet for aircraft for which application for 
type certification was made on or before April 9, 1997; or
    (ii) 200 feet for aircraft for which application for 
type certification is made after April 9, 1997.
    (4) A TCAS II that meets TSO C-119b (Version 7.0), or a later 
version, if equipped with TCAS II, unless otherwise authorized by the 
Administrator.
    (5) Unless authorized by ATC or the foreign country where the 
aircraft is operated, an ADS-B Out system that meets the equipment 
performance requirements of Sec.  91.227 of this part. The aircraft 
must have its height-keeping performance monitored in a form and manner 
acceptable to the Administrator.
    (b) The altimetry system error (ASE) of the aircraft does not 
exceed 200 feet when operating in RVSM airspace.


[[Page 36705]]


    Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40103(b), 
40113(a), and 44701(a) in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2017.
John Barbagallo,
Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-16197 Filed 8-4-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P