Rotorcraft Organization Pushes For Ban
Edition: The Popular Rotorcraft Association, the enigmatic
group of homebuilt helicopter and gyroplane enthusiasts, announced
a new publicity policy.
The Stealth Publicity Policy is meant to arrest the
association's multi-year decline in membership and public
visibility. "We've been doing everything we can," a board member,
who asked to be called Mr Anonymous, said dispiritedly. "We run a
good fly-in and publish a good magazine, and have chapters in
several states and foreign countries. But for all the attention we
get, we might as well be using the Maxwell Smart Cone of
"So now we're taking a contrarian approach. We're going to try
to keep gyros and homebuilt helos a secret and see how that goes.
It can't do any worse than the approach we have now."
A key component of the policy is a lobbying effort, seeking a
Federal gyroplane ban. "It worked for drugs. If the stuff wasn't
illegal, teenagers wouldn't be so excited about it and insistent on
trying it. So we're hoping to start small with a gyroplane
The theory is that underground gyro activity would be so
attractive to young people who would enjoy the natural freedom of
rotary-winged flight, that the current instructor-student shortage
conundrum would reverse itself. "Then, once the growth rate in the
sport is positive again, we can lobby to have it legalized. Look,
going outlaw is no big deal. I mean, we're already halfway there.
Have you seen where Sun n Fun parks our planes? No? Neither has
anybody else, it's halfway to Daytona."
There are additional
potential benefits to the new approach. "If we try to keep it
secret, maybe the New York Times will put it on the front page. It
seems to work that way for the CIA," he mused.
Asked if the PRA would at least start by banning the most
hazardous gyroplanes, like old, high-thrust-line Air Commands, the
insider demurred. "No we can't have any of that playing favoritism
stuff, not us, no way."
Another change is that new members, who previously only have had
to pay dues and fill out a form, now must swear out a statement in
front of a notary public. The secrecy oath required of members, the
Code of Omerta, has been successfully used by other
The organizers of Sun-n-Fun quickly reacted by adding "PRA Gang
Colors" to their lengthy list (book) of banned items, along with
sandwiches from home and Jim Campbell.
A PRA Spokesman gave us a statement for this article, but in
accordance with the new policy directed us not to print it.