minimum vectoring altitude
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minimum vectoring altitude (MVA)
The lowest altitude, expressed in feet AMSL (above mean sea level), to which a radar controller may vector aircraft, except as other-wise authorized for radar approaches, departures, and missed approaches. MVAs are established for use by ATC (air traffic control) when radar ATC is exercised. MVA charts are prepared by air traffic facilities at locations where there are numerous different minimum altitudes. Each MVA chart has sectors large enough to accommodate the vectoring of aircraft within the sector at the MVA. Each sector boundary is at least 3 miles from the obstruction determining the MVA. To avoid a large sector with an excessively high MVA because of an isolated prominent obstruction, the obstruction may be enclosed in a buffer area whose boundaries are at least 3 miles from the obstruction. This is done to facilitate vectoring around the obstruction. The minimum vectoring altitude in each sector provides 1000 ft above the highest obstruction in nonmountainous areas and 2000 ft above the highest obstacle in designated mountainous areas. The MVA is the lowest altitude that meets obstacle clearance requirements in the airspace specified.