RTCA Special Committees (SCs) leverage the expertise of the best and the brightest in the aviation community to generate recommendations in response to requests from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address technical topics. Special Committees develop Safety Performance Requirements (SPR), Operational Services and Environment Definitions (OSED), Interoperability Requirements (INTEROP), Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS), Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS), reports and guidelines. These documents shape the certification of the safety and efficiency of new equipment and provide a competitive market for the implementation of these technologies. MASPS and MOPS are frequently referred to by the FAA in Technical Standard Orders and Advisory Circulars and, thereby, provide a partial basis for the certification of equipment. RTCA documents are also used by the private sector for development, investment and other business decisions.

Performance Standards

MASPS specify characteristics that are useful to designers, installers, manufacturers, service providers and users of systems intended for operational use within a defined airspace. Where the systems are global in nature, international applications are taken in to consideration (often working with European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) and/or International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)). MASPS describe the system (subsystems / functions) and provide information needed to understand the rationale for system characteristics, operational goals, requirements and typical applications. Definitions and assumptions essential to proper understanding of MASPS are provided as well as minimum system test procedures to verify system performance compliance (e.g., end-to-end performance verification).

Compliance with RTCA MASPS is recommended as one means of assuring that the system and each subsystem will perform its intended function(s) satisfactorily under conditions normally encountered in routine aeronautical operations for the environments intended. MASPS may be implemented in part or in total.

MOPS provide standards for specific equipment(s) useful to designers, manufacturers, installers and users of the equipment. The word "equipment" used in MOPS includes all components and units necessary for the system to properly perform its intended function(s). MOPS provide the information needed to understand the rationale for equipment characteristics and requirements stated, describe typical equipment applications and operational goals, and establish the basis for required performance under the standard. Definitions and assumptions essential to proper understanding are provided as well as installed equipment tests and operational performance characteristics for equipment installations.

Compliance with RTCA MOPS is recommended as one means of assuring the equipment will perform its intended function(s) satisfactorily under all conditions normally encountered in routine aeronautical operations. MOPS may be implemented by one or more regulatory documents and/or advisory documents and may be implemented in part or in total.

Other RTCA Documents

An SPR is used to capture the operational, safety, and performance objectives and allocate requirements for different approval types. It is developed using an operational safety assessment (OSA) and an operational performance assessment (OPA) of the functions, performance expectations, and characteristics of operational environments needed to support the Air Traffic Service (ATS) identified in the OSED.

An INTEROP provides adequate assurance that the appropriate aspects of the relevant Communication Navigation Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) capabilities, when operating together, will perform their intended function in an acceptably safe manner for the defined operations.

An OSED captures requirements that have been derived and/or validated as being necessary for a particular operational service and is used as the basis for assessing and establishing operational, safety, performance, and interoperability requirements for the related CNS/ATM system.