Recreational Aviation Australia Incorporated was established in 1983 as the Australian Ultralight Federation. Since that event Australian light recreational and sport aviation has experienced pronounced growth, certainly there has been a considerable growth in the RA-Aus membership, the number of aircraft with RA-Aus registration, the capabilities of the aircraft types available and the number of training facilities and clubs but, far more importantly, there has been real growth in knowledge, efficiency, effectiveness and safety. Light recreational aviation is no longer purely the realm of dedicated recreational and sport afficionados; our growth has also established and supported a light recreational aircraft and engine manufacturing industry.

Operationally Recreational Aviation Australia Incorporated is a recreational aviation administration organisation [RAAO]. Legally it is a not-for-profit, member-based association incorporated under the Australian Capital Territory Associations Incorporation Act 1991 and consisting of individual members with voting rights and affiliated clubs.

Incorporation is the creation of a legal entity which has rights and liabilities (e.g. to enter into employment agreements and legal agreements, own assets or borrow money) that are separated from its members. This means that any financial claim against the Association could only be pursued up to the extent of the Association's assets rather than (if RA-Aus was not incorporated) all of the members being liable for any claims against RA-Aus; but see rule 8 of the constitution. There are no shareholders, no one 'owns' RA-Aus or any part of it. Surplus income is used to further the objectives of the association, not to provide personal gain for members. If the association should be wound up the surplus property will be distributed in accordance with rule 38 of the constitution.

An incorporated association must have a committee responsible for managing the association and for appointing a public officer responsible for lodging documents. In RA-Aus the elected state member representatives form a committee described as the 'Board'.

Because our operations are not confined to the Australian Capital Territory, RA-Aus comes under the jurisdiction of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission [ASIC], who regard it as a registrable Australian body whose internal governance operates under its own constitution. Registrable Australian bodies include bodies corporate that are not companies, recognised companies, exempt public authorities, foreign companies or financial institutions. ASIC has assigned RA-Aus an Australian Registered Body Number [ARBN 070 931 645]; it is not a 'business' number. ASIC's only interest in RA-Aus is to ensure proper governance.

RA-Aus is not required to provide financial statements to ASIC, only the personal details of current directors (i.e. 'board members' according to the constitution) as changes occur; plus updated, certified copies of the constitution, so that if complaints are received it can start calling on the directors.

Currently (February 2011) RA-Aus has 9640 ordinary members, most of whom hold, or have held, RA-Aus Pilot Certificates received after flight training at an RA-Aus approved flight training facility (FTF). The establishment and growth of the current 170 FTFs was nurtured, post 1985, by RA-Aus after contracting to do so and receiving delegation from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority's predecessor. RA-Aus and CASA have together put in place one of the best, if not the best, system of very light (750 kg or less) aircraft pilot training in the world.

RA-Aus itself doesn't particularly want to grow bigger but it certainly wants to grow better; and we want to re-instil in the hearts of our younger Australians, and indeed younger people all over the world, an enthusiasm for aircraft and for safe flying as a recreational sport.

This 'about us' section of the RA-Aus web service consists of three documents:


The following mission statement is an articulation of RA-Aus board members' and managers' views defining, to everyone within and without RA-Aus, the collective intent of RA-Aus — what we are and what we are trying to achieve, or what is our purpose in being. In doing so it also sets the boundaries of that intention and makes those boundaries visible to all and, hopefully, encourages all RA-Aus members to focus their efforts on the defined objectives. We use the initial capitalised term 'Recreational Aviation' when referring to that part of Australian sport and recreational aviation which is administered by RA-Aus.


Mission

To foster, encourage and develop safe Recreational Aviation in Australia with minimum bureaucracy* and minimum cost.

*Note: 'bureaucracy' implying excessive and/or unimaginative official routines, not routines required
to collect data that provide information for a valid purpose, such as safety improvement.



Vision

• To be recognised as a leader in the development, promotion and administration of sport and recreational aviation in Australia.

• In an alliance — both strategic and operational — with other aviation associations where resources, experience, technologies and skills are shared, with each organisation's development potential being protected and enhanced, so that Australian aviation is revived and encouraged and its future assured.

Values

These core values are those beliefs which RA-Aus members would generally hold in common, and dear to our hearts.

• Regulation specific to recreational aircraft must continue to exist which shall allow RA-Aus members to design and/or build and fly their own aircraft at their own risk and without undue supervision of the design/build process, but within the limits of regulatory categories. Such a concept nurtures knowledge, innovation and enterprise — all qualities which are important in Australia's future.

• Any appropriately qualified person should, with due care in observance of the flight rules, be able to fly recreational aircraft with minimum regulation.

• Recreational flying shall be affordable and accessible to the maximum number of Australians.

• The continued development of self-administration of our own affairs.

Objectives

1. To foster, encourage and continually improve the safe and responsible flight activities of powered sport and recreational aircraft within an easily-accessible and low-cost environment.

2. To revive, encourage and promote interest in Australian Recreational Aviation by encouraging participation in recreational flying.

3. To foster, encourage and continually improve the amateur aircraft construction in Australia of single-place and two-place recreational aircraft for educational, recreational and research purposes while promoting and maintaining a regulatory framework in which to do so.

4. To foster and maintain the concept of safe owner maintenance of single-place and two-place powered recreational aircraft.

5. To foster and encourage the formation and growth of Recreational Aviation clubs to provide the social impetus for the development of recreational aviation pilots and the nurture and care of inexperienced pilots.

6. To maintain self administration of recreational aviation operations with the complete confidence of the Australian public as the delegated administrative authority for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

7. To act as an information resource for counsel to organisations or individuals whose decisions may affect recreational aviation activities and our rights.