Vision of excellence for recreational aviators –

The Recreational Aviation Foundation offers recommendations to advance flight safety, airmanship, professionalism, consideration and courtesy toward the people and wildlife who share the recreational environment. Each of us is an ambassador to the non-flying public, and to the landowners or managers responsible for the airstrips we enjoy. We want to be the friendliest and most helpful recreational users working with land owners and managers.

Significant negotiation and work go into protecting backcountry airstrips and trust is earned through fulfilling our commitments to the land managers and owners. Honoring these agreements can go a long way towards these efforts, and even opening new airstrips. A few rogue pilots can destroy this trust and set our backcountry efforts backwards for years.

This Code of Conduct presents a vision of excellence for recreational aviators.  Its principles complement and underscore legal requirements and agreements for land use.


• Make safety your highest priority, acting with responsibility and courtesy.

• Develop the skills necessary for safe backcountry aviation. Use instructors and knowledgeable pilots to seek excellence in airmanship through training and practice.

• Establish and adhere to personal minimums based on objective evaluation of ability.

• Research and practice prudent operating practices for the area and airfield you wish to explore. i.e, reporting points and altitudes.

• Anticipate, recognize, share with passengers, and manage risks using sound principles of risk management and aeronautical decision making.

• Maintain a comprehensive awareness of and consideration for all in the flying environment, avoiding all operations that may alarm, disturb, or endanger passengers, people or wildlife on the surface.


• Use an aircraft that is capable and maintained for the intended mission.

• Be competent in the use of appropriate technologies for navigation, communication, and emergency rescue.

• Carry redundant transceivers and navigational equipment.

• Equip with proper water, food, clothing, shelter, first aid and tools. Prepare for an extended time on the ground if necessary.

• Secure your aircraft.


• Use “Pack it in / Pack it out” and “Leave No Trace” practices.

• Keep your aircraft/seaplane clean of weed traces and seed to prevent the spread of invasive vegetation.

• Recognize and minimize the environmental impact of aircraft operations.

• Go beyond applicable agreements, laws and regulations in being considerate stewards of the environment and others who may be sharing it.

• Act with courtesy to other recreators. Maintain reasonable distance and altitude and reduce your noise signature to a safe minimum.

• Know wildlife refuge boundaries and seasonal areas of wildlife congregation to avoid low level overflights.

• Minimize discharge of fuel and oil during refueling, preflight preparations, servicing and flight operations.

• Avoid very early morning departures unless safety of flight requires a deviation.

• Do not use sensitive backcountry airstrips for training. Stay long enough to enjoy their special recreational benefits.

Submitted on April 21, 2016.

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