Mission & History
At RTCA, we are passionate about ensuring the health of the air transportation system. We are equally passionate about ensuring all voices are heard.
Chartered by the FAA to operate Federal advisory committees, RTCA employs a consensus-driven process to generate minimum performance standards for CNS/ATM systems and equipment; to forge recommendations on key aviation policies, and identifying and developing mitigation on issues affecting air traffic management operations. Our performance standards form the basis for FAA regulatory requirements; our policy advice informs the FAA’s prioritization and investment decisions; and our tactical advice helps resolve real-world impediments to air transportation today.
Founded as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics in 1935, RTCA has provided the foundation for virtually every modern technical advance in aviation. RTCA’s products serve as the basis for government certification of equipment used by the tens of thousands of aircraft flying daily through the world’s airspace. A private, not-for-profit corporation utilized as a Federal advisory committee, RTCA works in response to requests from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop comprehensive, industry-vetted and endorsed recommendations for the government on issues ranging from technical performance standards to operational concepts for air transportation.
RTCA’s historic role in aviation has been to provide the forum for government/industry cooperation on concepts of operations for the air traffic control system along with the standards and guidelines needed for implementing new systems in aircraft. As technological advances leading to improved safety and efficiency of the NAS grew to require deployment of integrated operational capabilities with components both in the cockpit and on the ground, the need for enhanced public-private partnership has grown. As a Federal advisory committee, the unique institutional mechanism that is RTCA enables the government to convene private sector participants consistent with U.S Antitrust laws to work together in an open, fair and balanced partnership via the development of policy recommendations, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS), Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) and guidelines that shape the certification of the safety and efficiency of new equipment and provide a competitive market for the provision of these technologies.
It is the fundamental effectiveness of the RTCA mechanism for developing system standards and for forging agreement on related issues such as ATC policies and procedures that provide the explanation for RTCA's longevity and continued effectiveness. RTCA products support essential continuing evolution of the U.S. aviation system, an indispensable service to both government and industry. The products of the committees lead to tangible results.