The Regional Monitoring Agencies (RMA) Coordination Group met in Brazil for the 13th edition of its annual meeting. Members of 11 of the 13 airspace monitoring agencies worldwide—representing 188 countries—participated in the event held June 11th–15th, in the Brazilian Air Force’s Military Convention Center and Lodgings, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), RMAs monitor compliance and operational safety in the Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace. RVSM, implemented at altitudes of 29,000 feet to 41,000 feet—where most commercial aircraft travel—reduced the standard vertical separation between aircraft from 2,000 to 1,000 feet, increasing airspace capacity. RMAs are responsible for the control and oversight of operations in RVSM airspace.
In Brazil, the Caribbean and South American Regional Monitoring Agency (CARSAMMA), responsible for the area between the Gulf of Mexico and Patagonia, fulfills this role. CARSAMMA covers 38 countries.
Standardization of procedures
The 13th edition of the meeting was hosted by CARSAMMA and sponsored by the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA, in Portuguese), a division of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) that provides administrative support to the agency. Jose Luis Perez, head of RVSM Monitoring Program of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, led the discussions.
According to FAB Major Marcio Rodrigues Ribeiro Gladulich, head of CARSAMMA, the meeting enabled the standardization of procedures performed by monitoring agencies worldwide. “The meetings are crucial to develop efficient work,” he said.
For Nonjabulo Gumede, member of the Africa and Indian Ocean Regional Monitoring Agency, integration among agencies is crucial to strengthen traffic patterns. “The constant implementation of new technologies further highlights this need, so that all agencies can speak the same language and act according to efficient and safe parameters,” he told FAB’s press agency.
On the 2018 agenda: new altitude monitoring systems, security and vertical collision risk assessment and evaluation methods, RVSM airspace operational performance, compliance regulations, and the exchange of statistical data and information among RMAs. “The meeting also allowed for the improvement of metrics used in safety assessments and incident increase alerts for certain types of aircraft,” Maj. Gladulich said.
According to FAB Colonel Luiz Roberto Barbosa Medeiros, head of Planning and Control of the International Air Navigation Studies Commission, the DECEA division that organized the meeting, the functions performed by monitoring agencies are fundamental for international aviation. The officer also highlighted the importance of such meetings for efficient work practices. “Technical adjustments and exchange of experience for RVSM operational safety worldwide take place during these meetings,” he said.
Improvement in air operations
Other important points discussed during the meeting were the implementation of a global bulletin addressing non-certified aircraft using RVSM; the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast; the implementation of the Performance-Based Communications and Surveillance Monitoring System; and solutions for data exchange, among other topics. Brazil held the first RMA Coordination Group meeting in 2017.
The meeting enabled a category change for different aircraft models. “By re-evaluating the minimum monitoring requirements, we were able to redistribute aircraft among various standard categories, increasing their reliability and reducing the number of certification flights,” explained Maj. Gladulich. “This will result in savings for the aviation community.” The South Atlantic Regional Monitoring Agency will host the 2019 meeting to be held in Spain.