RCAPA Policy 2-13-08

Clarification of RCAPA policy regarding FAA regulation

RCAPA Notice of Policy Clarification 2-13-08

The board of RCAPA and the majority of members after a lengthy process of review have determined that a change in organizational philosophy is over due.

RCAPA has always maintained that members could and should self regulate their aerial operations and perform commercial operations in a safe and controlled fashion. When it became apparent that FAA regulation was looming, we pressed for as little regulation as possible. This is still our position. When the February 13th, 2007 “clarification” was issued by the FAA, the board of RCAPA recommended that membership abide by the NPR based on our communications with management within the FAA who told us that these issues would be resolved in as little as 3 to 6 months. All indications led us to believe that we would be kept informed of progress and new developments by the FAA but unfortunately we have been failed by that agency both in the schedule for rulemaking and the lack of communication with RCAPA.

RCAPA has been working diligently behind the scenes for this past year to adhere to and use the regulatory/legislative avenues available to organizations involved in operations controlled by the federal government. As these methods have broken down and failed to produce results, we are compelled to make our efforts public and to make the move toward a new dynamic for the process. RCAPA will now provide detailed information concerning the activities of the FAA beginning from our initial involvement. We will continue to report on the activities of the FAA and make Freedom of Information Act requests so that facts can be properly presented. We will also provide the means for those members who desire to participate in future actions we wish to take.

Of great concern is that the present situation has not only caused significant financial damage to proven safe business operations but has resulted in a situation where many continue to operate with no clear guidance or standards whatsoever. In many cases this operation is with the tacit or even direct verbal approval of the local FAA field office in direct contradiction to the February 13th document. From a legal standpoint, this uneven and imprecise guidance is a disaster waiting to happen.

RCAPA has been the only organization to recommend adherence to the FAA’s NPR on 2/13/07 and the purpose of this document to announce a change in that position. The regulatory situation has become too unclear and the guidance too uneven and imprecise for RCAPA to continue taking a position regarding members and others continuing their business operations. Each operator will need to consider the situation with care and draw their own conclusions with regard to continuing operations.

As always, RCAPA will continue to make every effort to extend the hand of cooperation and partnership to the FAA with the goal of finding workable solutions that meet the needs of RCAP business owners and most importantly, public safety.