Zaner Aviation, LLC vs RCRAPA


Update 29 Jan 09

Last weekend I was back in the forum for a couple of days and got a few posts out before the RCAPA mafia banned me again. I had this post typed up and ready to post in the Double Standards thread but when I went to post it on 26 Jan 09 I discovered I had been banned again. I guess that makes them the only ones working this problem again.

I have consistently asked RCAPA for their position on some of the major issues relative to commercial and recreational SUAS. They have never done this and I really think this is because they have no position. They are just waiting to see what comes out of it and will claim credit for the good stuff.

I will now tell you my position on the issue of double standards and explain it as best I can. There is no guarantee that the FAA will implement the regulation just this way. This is my position and I consistently present it this way to the FAA and feel certain that some form of this will be in the final regulation.

I am sent this document to my focal point in the SUAS Program Office to make sure that I am not saying something completely out of line. The response I got was that they don't have any problem with it.

RCAPA has constantly admonished me for not working through them. I have chosen to work directly with the FAA rather than have my input reviewed by RCAPA and the committees they work through.

If they (RCAPA) have been working this issue so hard for so long why didn't they know this. If they knew it why didn't they say so and save a lot of useless discussion about double standards.

Why not get back to what the thread is supposed to address - Double standards

Commercial vs Recreational Aerial Photography:

The FAA is concerned about safety, both people and property. They are not concerned about whether you make a buck. It is easy to confuse the two. Let me cite a couple of examples to show what I mean.

The FAA does not care whether an airline makes a profit, or even charges for travel. They are concerned because an airline will serve the flying public and will fly over populated areas with heavy metal aircraft. There is also the requirement for pilot certification because the pilot is the ultimate safety factor. The recent landing on the Hudson River is a good example.

The FAA also does not care if you, the recreational flyer, makes a buck taking aerial photos with your Slow Stick providing you are flying from and AMA sanctioned field and following the safety rules of that field. The FAA is responsible for that type of flying but they have delegated the management responsibility to the AMA. The FAA does care if you are flying your Slow Stick away from an AMA sanctioned field whether you are doing it for hire or not, and whether you are taking photos or not.

The difference is risk, not money. There has been a recent surge in RC flying which is not on AMA sanctioned fields. Park flyers have brought about most of this activity but the development of FPV flying has also opened the way for high altitude and long distance flying. The FAA is rightfully concerned about these types of flying because they are not conducted in accordance with any published safety rules at all. I want to make it clear that there are many, many pilots who do this in a perfectly safe manner but it is because of their own concerns for safety and their own integrity. There are also many who fly with no concern for the safety of others. The FAA is responsible for all of them.

When the FAA does publish policy governing SUAS it will be concerned with location, population, weight, and speed. Keep in mind, if you are flying at an AMA sanctioned field, the field safety rules take all this into consideration. When you are not flying at an AMA sanctioned field there must be some guidelines (rules) which will mitigate the risk to people or property. This is what the SUAS regulation is all about and it doesn't matter one bit whether you are making money or not.

This is the position I have taken with the FAA SUAS Program Office and I am confident that the eventual regulations will be along these lines.

John Zaner



RCRAPA Update 12/24/08


It has been a while since I have posted an update to this page. Some interesting things are going on that warrant further discussion.


On (10/17/2008) I received an email from Rick Connelly (founder of RCAPA):

From: Rick Connolly    

Info: 'Joe Bennett'; texhills; duval; 'Ira Buckley'; 'Patrick Egan'


 Just wanted to tell you the RCAPA info you have on your site is a bunch of misinformed crap - If you really knew as much as you claimed.  You would know we have spent thousands of dollars and numerous man hours working to keep our industry from becoming regulated out of business. What you have written on your site is a disservice to all of us. You might take the time to research it a little and you'll find out the truth.

 Last time I ever talked to you was on a teleconference when you wanted to work with RCAPA. The last words you said were that you'd get back with us....that never happened.  Instead you never said anything and wrote that chicken crap piece on your site. Your overall ignorance is appalling.

Have a nice day, Rick



I responded in kind:


To: Rick Connolly           10/17/2008 

Info: 'joe bennett; 'texhills’; 'duval; 'RealIra; 'patrickeagan; 'generobinson’

Hi Rick (zoomzoom),

How nice of you to notice my website. I will have to update that page with more recent information, including copies of these messages. Don’t be surprised if they also end up on the forums for all to see.

As for your allegations, I am well aware of how much money you guys have spent and how many man hours you put in. However, that doesn’t mean beans if you don’t produce results. Besides, you are not the only ones who have spent a bunch of money and put in lots of man hours. You are just the only ones that I know of who solicit donations to help subsidize their self-serving efforts.

I have claimed from the outset, and still do that not one of you  has ever had an original idea about how to keep our industry from being “over” regulated. You just keep that chair warm Patrick. 

The great disservice has been done by you my friends in keeping the muzzle on others who are working hard to help resolve this regulatory mess. You browbeat and spread lies to drum people out of business or get them constantly banned so you can appear to be the “only” group working to help this industry. THAT is the load of crap. Your whole association (how many real members are there now?) could disappear today and the regulatory effort would not suffer at all for your absence.

Maybe you should get your faithful RCAPA members who are also the moderators to stop banning people from RCGroups for no reason other than your recommendation. A little competition is usually a healthy thing; unless you are not sure of yourself. 

As for the teleconference; it is true I made the overture to attempt working with RCAPA to share information (emphasis on share). During the teleconference you guys just tried to glean information about what I was doing without disclosing anything. I soon realized that this was because you didn’t know anything.

It wouldn’t work out now anyway because my association with the FAA and my contractual efforts all require non-disclosure. You will have to wait until the evaluations are over and the results are made public by the FAA to find out more.

You all have a nice day too. 

John Zaner



I have also noticed that there are threads on at least two different forums where RCAPA, their motives, accomplishments, and methods are being discussed. I read posts in both these threads with interest until my name was mentioned a couple of times in a very unfavorable way. That action was what prompted this update.

There are now several people who have recognized that the RCAPA minions do not have the credentials or experience to successfully accomplish the task they have set out for themselves. It is interesting to note that I brought up these very questions four years ago and nobody seemed to care. RCAPA started the character assassination posts against me and lots of folks joined in the fun. Not one bothered to check my credentials and experience against theirs, either individually or collectively. I wound up getting banned for life which played right into their hands. 

The interesting part is that I did not need the forums or RCAPA to accomplish what I had set out to do and I have been doing it steadily. I have been working directly with the FAA SUAS Program Office for the past four years and have had considerable success in getting my ideas and techniques and proposals seriously considered. I now know what the FAA objective is and basically how they intend to achieve it. Granted, they are using the ARC to provide user input but, trust me, the FAA SUAS has a good idea which way they would like to proceed.

One of the primary daggers RCAPA used to assassinate me was the charge that I was trying to get the FAA to approve my training school so everyone would have to come to me for training and I would get rich. First of all, this really shows how ignorant they are to think that anyone could get rich teaching R/C piloting. I did work with the training people but they were not part of my organization and I could never have made any money from their training. I became associated with them to support a contractual agreement to provide training that I did not want my organization bogged down with.

RCAPA took up the chant that I was trying to line my pockets with this training deal and a number of idiots worldwide joined in the chorus with them. Even today, Patrick Eagan posted that my motives were to line my pockets when, in actuality, I have spent thousands of dollars of my own money on this work over the past four years. I have conducted research and provided the results to the FAA free of charge. I now have several thousand dollars invested in equipment which I will never use again and cannot be sold for anywhere near what I have invested. I have donated much of it to charitable organizations that work with disadvantaged or chronically ill children. I do not get a tax break from these donations. 

If anyone is interested, check the RCAPA gurus credentials (experience and qualifications) for successfully accomplishing what they claim as their mission. I have not seen an original thought put forth by any of them in the past four years. They are constantly putting out feelers trying to get others to put together concepts, plans, and strategies that they can then present to these groups they belong to and look halfway intelligent. They are actually stupid enough to think this could work. If they can’t convince a bunch of amateurs like those who populate these forums how in the world will they ever fool real experts? The obvious answer – they won’t.

Next, if anyone cares, check my credentials. Then see who you believe.

Last, I am not soliciting new members for my association, MACO. Membership is by invitation only and has intentionally been kept to a minimum. The reasons for all this will become known when the FAA sets out the new policies and regulations. The only individuals who have been invited to join have proven themselves to be competent and capable in the SUAS industry. I do not want to be involved in training so only those who do not need it will be invited. So far, none of the RCAPA hierarchy have been invited. 

On a personal note: I am now 70 years young and have been fully retired from my Systems Engineering profession for eighteen years. I am reasonably well off and do not ever need additional income. I have no profit motives in what I do. I am, and have always been passionate about aviation and will work till I die around some form of flying machines. I also have many skills that complement what I am doing. I have plenty of flying experience in both fixed and rotary wing, models and full size. I am a licensed pilot. I have been an FAA licensed Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic for 35 years. I have years of program management experience dealing with multi-million dollar research and development programs. I also have years of public speaking experience including an award for an IT presentation I made at the National Academy of Science in Wash, DC.

I now have had my first science fiction novel published and am halfway through the second book of the trilogy. Check out or look up “The Circle of Hope” at,, or Barnes & So, as you can see, I manage to stay active of several fronts and I certainly don’t need to stay involved in the p**sing contest with the idiots at RCRAPA. Now that the forums are wising up they will take care the problem quite nicely.

Regards, John Zaner



RCAPA What is it and what has it done in the past 4 years?


That’s the short answer - The long answer follows:

RCAPA and it’s minions keep spewing out the same mantra:

“RCAPA is and has been the only thing that is fighting the mighty FAA in the quest for approval to fly Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS)”.

That statement is about as pure as bullsh-t can get!

Way back 4 years ago, when RCAPA was just setting up, there were at least two other organizations working the same problem. One of them was me (Zaner Aviation, LLC) and the other was called helicam which became RAPA and then I joined both immediately because the more people we have working this problem the better off we will be. I joined so soon that I was member #3 right behind the two founders.

In the first few weeks of implementation I received much more support from the helicam organization than I did RCAPA. The other site gave me leads which got my first paying jobs and also references that got my first insurance policy. During that early development period I couldn’t even log into RCAPA and they couldn’t spell my name right.

When I pointed out these problems Gene Robinson explained how it was all my own fault that I couldn’t log in. This tactic has continued to this day. If you go through any threads which deal with the RCAPA mafia you will find that they go to great lengths to defend themselves and belittle anyone who questions them.

This approach has worked well for RCAPA and they succeeded in getting the other site discredited and getting me banned from RCGroups under several different names. Yet they still claim to be the only ones who have ever tried to present a unified voice. Their tactics are aimed at ensuring that situation continues.

Look closely at what these guys have contributed over the years. They attend committee meetings and they got other peoples Concept of Operations presented to some of these committees. None of this required any creativity or original thought from any of them. Even now they just sit back and tell everyone what they already know.

The last time they got me banned was when I asked them what their position would be when they attended the upcoming ARC meetings in Washington. They have no position. In fact, they don’t even know they should have one. They will attend the ARC and parrot what someone else says. Then they can claim to have contributed to the solution. Baloney, it is time their constituency had more than a bunch of chair warmers.

While this last banning was going on, the last post I made was a notice that if I suddenly disappeared it was not by choice. Shortly after that I did disappear and not one person questioned it. I didn’t even get a warning, just booted out. The fact that all the moderators are members of RCAPA may have something to do with that.

I have been working directly with Hq FAA for the past four years and am making progress. When things do break free you will see what I mean. The RCAPA mafia cannot tell you what any of this is because they are not involved in any of it, or even aware of it.

The position they (RCAPA) have taken is that individuals should not do anything and we should trust in an association (RCAPA) because individuals cannot do anything. I say tell that to Burt Rutan with his Spaceship One or Maynard Hill with his Trans-Atlantic Model. If you look at any of the great accomplishments throughout history you will find that they were accomplished through individual effort. One person can make a difference – if it is the right person. That leaves RCAPA out of it.

The ONLY reason RCAPA is billed as the only group doing anything is because they have worked very hard at silencing anyone else. Just ask them how many members they really represent.




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