AWES that are rotorcraft might rub with PRA
- August 31, 2012We're pleased to pass on this news from CFI Tim O'Connor, Vice President of PRA and Chairman of the PRA Regulatory Committee.
On August 21st the FAA and the PRA signed a Letter of Understanding making the PRA an FAA Safety Team Industry Member, creating a high-level relationship between the two organizations. This agreement between the FAA and the PRA puts in place formal contacts and responsibilities to share information, promote education and safety awareness between both organizations.
The PRA is a 50-year-old organization and is the only major U.S. organization representing personal rotorcraft such as Light Sport (LSA) Rotorcraft, Experimental Amateur Built (EAB) Rotorcraft, Ultralight Rotorcraft and Certified Personal Rotorcraft.
The PRA is currently the sole organization representing not only personal rotorcraft but also experimental and ultralight aircraft of any kind as a FAASTeam Industry Member. The Helicopter Association International (HAI) is also a FAASTeam Industry Member; however, they represent primarily industrial use of helicopters. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is not currently a FAASTeam Industry member nor is any other organization that primarily promotes the rights and safety of LSA, EAB and Ultralight aircraft.
The PRA partners with and supports the work of, the EAA whenever possible and hopes that they will join the PRA in becoming a FAASTeam member in the future. It is important to keep in mind that even if the EAA does join the FAA Safety Team they do not primarily represent the interests of personal rotorcraft. In over a decade, the EAA publication Sport Pilot has only run three major articles on personal rotorcraft, two of which were written by PRA officers. The EAA represents warbirds, small jets, fixed wing aircraft that are not homebuilt and a large array of homebuilt aircraft of which personal rotorcraft make up only a very small percentage.
The PRA has a long history of interacting with the FAA over the last 50 years, including being the seminal constituent of the EAB rules and Part 103 regulations. PRA members have been branch managers employed by the FAA but these employees retired years ago. Recently the PRA has represented the membership in regulatory meetings, assisted new instructors with LODA applications, promoted comments from members against potentially harmful rules during FAA comment periods, founded the only live nationwide gyroplane ground school and several other initiatives.
This new agreement between the FAA and the PRA will expand the scope of interaction with the FAA beyond what has been available since the time of Igor Bensen.
During talks with FAA representatives about the PRA's hosting of online WINGS programs and safety programs hosted at the 2012 national convention the PRA learned some important information about the FAA's position on experimental aircraft. Because of the continuing high accident rate of EAB aircraft, representatives are under increased pressure to monitor and regulate the EAB community. However, the representatives are also under stress from reduced budgets. The representatives indicated that industry self-monitoring by organizations demonstrating an effective push to increase safety awareness and safety culture allows the FAA to concentrate efforts elsewhere on parts of the EAB community that do not exhibit efforts to promote an internal safety culture.
To address these critical issues, the PRA officers and Board of Directors is strongly urging all personal rotorcraft owners, pilots and student pilots to join the WINGS and FAASTeam programs (www.FAAsafety.gov) as well as the PRA (www.PRA.org). Doing so will enable our community to not only be better recognized by the FAA but also ensure that educational programs, safety programs and other important information can be shared improving safety for the entire sport. Membership in the PRA and WINGS program gives the FAA direct and quantitative data on the "safety health" of our sport. Dues from PRA members fund the only live on-line gyroplane ground school, gyroplane CFI programs, online archives of all types of rotorcraft, the FAA relationship documented in this article and many other programs and initiatives.
If you are a pilot, builder or fan of personal rotorcraft your paid membership in the PRA is the critical element to sustaining our sport. Please join or renew your membership today.
If you know of a safety or regulatory issue that needs to be brought to the attention of the PRA Regulatory Committee, please email praglobalsupportteam@... .
- Progress: HPR... and an opportunity for reverse calculations for AWES rotorcraft projects:http://www.eaa.org/news/2012/2012-08-29_students-claim-two-human-powered-helicopter-sikorsky-prize-requirements.aspStudents may be a ripe arena for AWES projects around the world.