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User avatar
By NMERider
#379405
rmsmith wrote:
NMERider wrote:Now, more than ever the sports of PG and HG need to consolidate their resources for mutual survival.
IMHO, all of the aero sports, e.g., ballooning, skydiving, paragliding, etc., need to band together and lobby toward an immunity from liability similar to that enjoyed by the skiing industry.
Thanks. I didn't even know about this situation with the ski industry. Here is a very informative article about it: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22813161/c ... aw-waivers

It would be great if free-flight could team up with other forms of recreational airsports but we all tend to use different facilities and even if we combined everything together there is only negligible tax revenue generated for the state's treasuries. In other words we are not part of a tourist industry that creates jobs and brings revenue in to a state. So we have little if any lobbying power for state legislatures. This is not to say that we can't try it and see what our state senators say about it.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#379411
NMERider wrote:There is nothing about insurance in the December issue which is now available online...
The December issue is poly-bagged with several inserts which we've been working on post-print-run. Things are moving pretty fast and we couldn't make the print deadline so they're separately included.

MGF
User avatar
By NMERider
#379414
mgforbes wrote:
NMERider wrote:There is nothing about insurance in the December issue which is now available online...
The December issue is poly-bagged with several inserts which we've been working on post-print-run. Things are moving pretty fast and we couldn't make the print deadline so they're separately included.

MGF
ah so desu ka. :thumbsup:
User avatar
By mgforbes
#379415
rmsmith wrote: IMHO, all of the aero sports, e.g., ballooning, skydiving, paragliding, etc., need to band together and lobby toward an immunity from liability similar to that enjoyed by the skiing industry.
We've discussed this, but there are practical obstacles. First, we're VERY small compared to the ski industry, and we have essentially zero political clout. Colorado passed this law in response to a Vermont lawsuit and subsequent threats to insurance coverage. Skiing tourism is a major economic factor in Colorado so it commands attention from legislators.

Second, this only applies to Colorado; there are still 49 other states. This law was passed over 30 years ago, and it has come under increasing pressure from personal injury claimants, just as we have. The law still does not prevent lawsuits, but it helps to get them dismissed early. Our waiver does the same thing. But just like the law, the waiver does not PREVENT THE FILING of lawsuits, It just makes them harder to win. That assumes that you have the money to hire a lawyer to defend the suit, which is where our insurance comes into it.

The same dilemma applies to state recreational use statutes, which release landowners from liability for the use of their property so long as they're not charging a fee for access. While the law gives landowners a powerful tool to have a lawsuit dismissed, it does not prevent a plaintiff from filing a claim, and the landowner still has to "lawyer up" to defend. Just doing that much is going to cost $20K or so, assuming everything goes in the landowner's favor.

If you are sued, even if it's utterly ridiculous and something that no reasonable person would consider "your fault", you still have to defend yourself. You can't just blow it off because it's ludicrous. If you don't show up and defend yourself in the court-required way, you will lose a default judgment and be forced to pay whatever award the court makes. Defending yourself is non-trivial, and almost certain to fail without the assistance of a professional attorney. That costs real money...$400 per hour is not out of line....and preparation, filing, argument and negotiation could easily burn a week's time. That's $16,000 right there, cash out of your pocket, and it assumes that everything goes your way and the case is dismissed. If it goes to trial, add a zero and multiply by two.

I wish we could just call up somebody in Congress and have them pass a law that makes these stupid lawsuits go away. I wish I had a hoverboard like in Back To the Future! Both are unlikely, but I'm betting on the hoverboard first.

MGF
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#379418
Just wondering .... have any hang or para pilots, who are also lawyers, thrown their hats in the ring to represent USHPA at minimal costs? Not asking for names, just wonder if that happens.
User avatar
By rmsmith
#379422
mgforbes wrote:Second, this only applies to Colorado; there are still 49 other states.
Many skiing sites are constructed on federal lands that allowed clear-cutting of trees, etc., and operate only a few months each year; it adds up to a huge subsidy no matter how you look at it. Skiing started out small, but it couldn't grow (attract investment) without adequate liability protection. Compulsory liability insurance is the mother's milk of tort lawyers and their frivolous lawsuits.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#379430
ChattaroyMan wrote:Just wondering .... have any hang or para pilots, who are also lawyers, thrown their hats in the ring to represent USHPA at minimal costs? Not asking for names, just wonder if that happens.
Our corporate attorney, Tim Herr, is a hang glider pilot. He's not free, but he gives us a very good rate for his work. While he is sometimes called on by our insurers to advise on litigation, the claims management company has the final say on who will be retained to defend a claim. That might be Tim, or some other firm.

Some USHPA members who have specialized legal/financial/governmental experience have provided assistance in the past on various projects. That's not for general legal needs, more for specialty projects.

MGF
User avatar
By Tontar
#379432
mgforbes wrote:
ChattaroyMan wrote:Just wondering .... have any hang or para pilots, who are also lawyers, thrown their hats in the ring to represent USHPA at minimal costs? Not asking for names, just wonder if that happens.
Our corporate attorney, Tim Herr, is a hang glider pilot. He's not free, but he gives us a very good rate for his work. While he is sometimes called on by our insurers to advise on litigation, the claims management company has the final say on who will be retained to defend a claim. That might be Tim, or some other firm.

Some USHPA members who have specialized legal/financial/governmental experience have provided assistance in the past on various projects. That's not for general legal needs, more for specialty projects.

MGF
So what you're saying is that our USHPA board members are not bumbling idiots who don't have the wherewithal to manage things without first being told how to run things by people who have never been to a board meeting before? ;-)
By JackieB
#379433
mgforbes wrote: If you are sued, even if it's utterly ridiculous and something that no reasonable person would consider "your fault", you still have to defend yourself. You can't just blow it off because it's ludicrous. If you don't show up and defend yourself in the court-required way, you will lose a default judgment and be forced to pay whatever award the court makes. Defending yourself is non-trivial, and almost certain to fail without the assistance of a professional attorney. That costs real money...$400 per hour is not out of line....and preparation, filing, argument and negotiation could easily burn a week's time. That's $16,000 right there, cash out of your pocket, and it assumes that everything goes your way and the case is dismissed. If it goes to trial, add a zero and multiply by two.
This is the "most likely" concern for me. I am as safe as I possibly know how to be, and am considered to have good judgment, but everyone should know that even getting a completely frivolous lawsuit dismissed is expensive and very stressful. And a plaintiff's attorney will always cast the net "far and wide" and sue as many people/entities as possible.

Insurance is completely a non-starter for me. As much as I love hang gliding, I'd return to flying sailplanes (insured by Costello through the SSA) if we ever lost insurance coverage. And it's not because I'm concerned about being at fault in a hang gliding accident. I do everything I can to reduce the chances of that happening. It's the litigious world we live in and the fact that I've worked hard for almost 40 years now to save a little bit for retirement.
User avatar
By Tontar
#379434
danmoser wrote:It's bizarre that nobody wants to address my suggestion to insure individual flying sites, rather than the entire pool USHPA member pilots.
I think that Mark has addressed your question quite beautifully. He's actually been answering that question continuously here and in other threads, and in a good number of club forums across the country. He's had his hands full doing his best to disseminate the insurance information as broadly and as effectively as possible. I haven't even had to go looking for the information, and have seen the explanations more times than I can count.

And don't forget, site insurance is a bit different from individual member insurance. Our insured sites? They are not just wrapped up in the blanket of membership fees, we have to pay extra for each site. Our membership insurance covers us no matter if we fly at insured or uninsured sites. That's not a hard one to remember.

danmoser wrote:Instead, they'd rather talk about when I let my membership lapse, and how much a Star Wars movie ticket cost in 1975.. seriously?? :crazy:
Perhaps you don't think it is relevant, but I don't see it as at all irrelevant for someone with no skin in the game to be complaining how an organization runs that he isn't even a member of. It'd be like me going off and complaining about how the sky divers run their organization, how much they charge their members, and what I suspect their board members do in smoke filled rooms behind closed doors. I don't belong to the sky diving association anymore, so I really don't have a stake in how they run things.

danmoser wrote: As if it were any of your business, I did indeed let my USHPA membership temporarily lapse in March for medical/workload reasons, and had planned to renew it by now, but am having second thoughts lately.
I didn't see where anyone asked WHY you dropped your membership, nor why you don't fly much, if at all anymore. The question I saw had to do with why you were complaining about the cost of membership when you aren't even a paying member. Your private affairs are your own, and so be it. Sorry to hear that your health is causing you to fly less, or stop altogether. I hope that changes and you can get back to it more vigorously, if that's what you really want to do. :-)

danmoser wrote: I don't know why that should bother anyone, or affect the merit my flying site insurance suggestions.
Perhaps it simply was not clear what you were talking about, site insurance or membership fees. I think those are two different things. It sounded like you were complaining about how much money the association was trying to suck out of members, but then on the other hand you were also talking about site insurance. Two different things, so I was also confused what your point actually was.

danmoser wrote: The increasing amount of money that USHPA and local clubs keep squeezing out of hapless members year after year is not the only factor.
Hapless members? Squeezing money out of them? I'm sure you are not oblivious to the connotation you are tossing out there. You're accusing the board members of unfairly charging members more money than is necessary to keep our sport afloat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of money we pay as members is nothing compared to other sports, sports that often don't even provide liability insurance of any kind!

Land owners, unlike some HG pilots, generally live in the 21st century. It's 2015, and not 1975 (as referenced above). Most businesses are pretty hip these days, with the program, knowledgable about the litigation risks they carry when they allow people to enjoy high risk sports on their property. They want rules, they want insurance, and they want waivers. It's not just hang gliding either. Try to rent a field for a soccer game, a dog frisbee event, an RC fly in. Good luck getting the field without waivers and insurance being required.

If you really think that $100 or $150 is a lot of money, I too question how much you get out. A downtube is over a hundred bucks these days. Take out a corner bracket and you're another hundred into it. We can't spend a day at the ski slope for less than $150. Just one day! And even then we don't get insurance, if I crash into someone they can sue me and I'd have to defend myself, and perhaps pay damages.

For our paltry fee of $100, going up to $150 for a while, I get a LOT of benefits. Plenty in fact. More than I'd imagine that amount would get me. It's simply offensive how you characterize both the character of the association and its board members, as well as mischaracterizing a truly insignificant amount of money as some huge burden. And by the way, I'm as poor as the next guy. I don't live in my van, although I have before, but I certainly understand the value of money.

danmoser wrote: I'm just not getting as much clear benefit from USHPA membership as I used to, given the current culture and the flying that I want to do in the future.
If you don't see the benefit of USHPA membership, then by all means don't be a member. If you don't need the insurance, if you don't fly sites where the landowners require it, and if you don't fly hang gliders or paragliders, like if you fly trikes now instead, then why bother? But if you DO fly hang gliders still, and you fly sites where there is the possibility of hitting ANYTHING or ANYONE which might bring legal wrath down upon your head, then the membership is worth the cost many times over. I've been flying for nearing 40 years now, and all my membership fees combined over that entire time period would likely not be enough to pay for a liability suit, even if I prevailed. Had I not had membership all this time, and banked that cash instead, it still would not be enough to cover court costs and damages for one potential incident. I think membership is a far better deal because of that.

But hey, if you don't see the same benefit, that's cool. No need to join up again. And of course, no need to worry about what active pilots pay for membership.

danmoser wrote: In my opinion, USHPA no longer represents the interests of hang glider pilots very well.
You may disagree with that opinion, but I do not see any clear evidence to the contrary.
Actually, I do disagree with your opinion. And to me the evidence is the knowledge of what membership does for all of us pilots. Maybe plenty don't see that the USHPA represents the interests of pilots, but ignorance of what goes on doesn't mean that it doesn't go on without your awareness. Are you aware that our insurance was canceled for a period of time, meaning that all our sites that require insurance were without? Had that situation not been resolved, those of us who fly at sites which require insurance would now be, well, probably not flying. The USHPA very actively represented our interests, went to bat, and got our insurance reinstated. Did you know that happened? Possibly not. Was it less important even though you may have been unaware of what all was going on beyond your view? Nope, it was extremely important. Who do you think negotiates with the FAA over, well, EVERYTHING hat has to do with us continuing to fly without regulation? Tandems? Not legal as per Part 103. But wait, because we have an "exemption", we get to do tandems. Who maintains that exemption? USHPA.

Insurance, our liaison with the FAA, the political clout none of us have as individuals, are among just a few things that USHPA does to represent our interests. Behind the scenes. Voluntarily! That super expensive membership fee that some people loath to pay, it ALL goes into tangible costs; the board members, our people, our representatives, do not get a dime of that money. Maybe people get so used to throwing insults and stones at our country's government that it bleeds over to our association, as if our board members are crooked politicians. Try going to a board meeting, or better yet try being on the board for a year or two. Actually see what goes on, see that it is not as you infer with your comments. The truth is, we pay so little for what we get in return. That you cannot recognize that is no indication that the value is not immense.

danmoser wrote: The community of hang glider pilots has been an enjoyable group to be in, but it's kind of sad to see what it has evolved into lately.
Sorry you feel that way. I started flying in the mid 70's and have been flying constantly ever since. No hiatus, no breaks, just continuous flying the whole time. I whole heartedly disagree with your opinion on how the sport has evolved. Well, partially I guess. I think that the flying and the gear and the potential for the sport is better now than it has ever been. It's more fun now than ever in the past. For me at least. I think the evolution of the sport has been wonderful and dramatic. But where I might agree with you is that the pilot population, for hang gliding specifically, has gotten to be a bit negative, kind of like when young, energetic, enthusiastic people get old, grumpy, inactive, and long for the good old days because they no longer can appreciate the present days, and have little to look forward to in the future days.

Our membership is aging, and along with that comes the grouchy old man syndrome. "Get off of my grass!" "Turn that music down, ya damn punks!" "Back when I was young, gas was $0.37 a gallon, and we could drive around all day on a couple bucks. And membership in the HANG GLIDING club was only $35 a year! Damn paragliders come along and start stealing us blind. Ya just can't trust those guys, they always seem happy all the time, smiling and laughing, bunch of punks. Now where'd I put the key to my Little Rascal, er, I mean my trike..." ;-)
User avatar
By Tontar
#379435
JackieB wrote: This is the "most likely" concern for me. I am as safe as I possibly know how to be, and am considered to have good judgment, but everyone should know that even getting a completely frivolous lawsuit dismissed is expensive and very stressful. And a plaintiff's attorney will always cast the net "far and wide" and sue as many people/entities as possible.

Insurance is completely a non-starter for me. As much as I love hang gliding, I'd return to flying sailplanes (insured by Costello through the SSA) if we ever lost insurance coverage. And it's not because I'm concerned about being at fault in a hang gliding accident. I do everything I can to reduce the chances of that happening. It's the litigious world we live in and the fact that I've worked hard for almost 40 years now to save a little bit for retirement.
Exactly!!!
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#379460
Tontar wrote:
mgforbes wrote:
ChattaroyMan wrote:Just wondering .... have any hang or para pilots, who are also lawyers, thrown their hats in the ring to represent USHPA at minimal costs? Not asking for names, just wonder if that happens.
Our corporate attorney, Tim Herr, is a hang glider pilot. He's not free, but he gives us a very good rate for his work. While he is sometimes called on by our insurers to advise on litigation, the claims management company has the final say on who will be retained to defend a claim. That might be Tim, or some other firm.

Some USHPA members who have specialized legal/financial/governmental experience have provided assistance in the past on various projects. That's not for general legal needs, more for specialty projects.

MGF
So what you're saying is that our USHPA board members are not bumbling idiots who don't have the wherewithal to manage things without first being told how to run things by people who have never been to a board meeting before? ;-)
Thanks Mark .... Not quite sure what my curiosity has to do with Aaron's reply though (I have not read all the posts in this thread). Being that we're (USHPA) asking for serious donations to raise $830K by 3/1/16* I'm guessing some members may be offering not just $ but also services that might help with USHPA expenses.
*Current status on donations here: http://ushpa.aero/freeflightforever.asp
User avatar
By danmoser
#379507
AlaskanNewb wrote:Don't need insurance.
Yes, but USHPA thinks you should pay for it anyway.
By free-flight
#379508
A number of years ago I contacted the Dept. of Interior attorney who was handling legal matters for the GGNRA about the insurance requirement. The GGNRA is part of Interior.

The attorney agreed that the insurance requirement was redundant because of the Recreational Use Immunity Statute. The Statute provides immunity for landowners allowing recreational users on their property. It does not apply to commercial users. The GGNRA rationale for the insurance is that it provides an extra layer of protection.

The attorney did not disagree when I said that the insurance requirement is discriminatory because it applies only to hang gliding and not to the other actives at Funston like dog walking. Dog bites are more common than hang gliding injures.

In theory pilots should be able to fly at Funston without USHPA membership if they have their own insurance. However USHPA prohibits clubs from allowing non-USHPA pilots to fly at its insured sites. If an insured, non-USHPA pilot flew at a USHPA site, USHPA would pull its insurance.

USHPA is attempting to establish a Risk Retention Group that will provide insurance to pilots. Doctors have similar Groups. California law requires that the Groups be “independent”. It is unknown if USHPA would respect the independence of the Group and allow all hang glider pilots to join or would restrict membership to USHPA pilots. If all pilots are allowed to join, USHPA would lose its monopoly and pilots could fly at Funston and at other hang gliding sites without becoming members of USHPA. USHPA would be like the Sierra Club. You can hike in a national park without joining it.
Consider that freeflight wiii thrive long after USHPA has gone away.
User avatar
By SlopeSkimmer
#379510
free-flight wrote:
A number of years ago I contacted the Dept. of Interior attorney who was handling legal matters for the GGNRA about the insurance requirement. The GGNRA is part of Interior.

The attorney agreed that the insurance requirement was redundant because of the Recreational Use Immunity Statute. The Statute provides immunity for landowners allowing recreational users on their property. It does not apply to commercial users. The GGNRA rationale for the insurance is that it provides an extra layer of protection.

The attorney did not disagree when I said that the insurance requirement is discriminatory because it applies only to hang gliding and not to the other actives at Funston like dog walking. Dog bites are more common than hang gliding injures.

In theory pilots should be able to fly at Funston without USHPA membership if they have their own insurance. However USHPA prohibits clubs from allowing non-USHPA pilots to fly at its insured sites. If an insured, non-USHPA pilot flew at a USHPA site, USHPA would pull its insurance.

USHPA is attempting to establish a Risk Retention Group that will provide insurance to pilots. Doctors have similar Groups. California law requires that the Groups be “independent”. It is unknown if USHPA would respect the independence of the Group and allow all hang glider pilots to join or would restrict membership to USHPA pilots. If all pilots are allowed to join, USHPA would lose its monopoly and pilots could fly at Funston and at other hang gliding sites without becoming members of USHPA. USHPA would be like the Sierra Club. You can hike in a national park without joining it.
Consider that freeflight wiii thrive long after USHPA has gone away.
Thank you free-flight. You may have saved hang gliding for us all. We owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done for us. :mosh: :mosh: :mosh:
User avatar
By mtpilot
#379518
I am not against insurance or dues, just stuff that won't work. Since the
insurance company has canceled due to too many claims I question if
the RRG will work. It feels like a poker game where the guy goes all in
and looses. The 200k start up, the office building, 2 million is a big pot.
We know close to nothing about why the last insurance failed.
User avatar
By NMERider
#379521
free-flight wrote:
....In theory pilots should be able to fly at Funston without USHPA membership if they have their own insurance. However USHPA prohibits clubs from allowing non-USHPA pilots to fly at its insured sites. If an insured, non-USHPA pilot flew at a USHPA site, USHPA would pull its insurance...
Consider that freeflight wiii thrive long after USHPA has gone away.
A straw man argument from a brand new anonymous poster that contains at least one major falsehood as quoted above. Please save it for US Hawks. :crazy: :crazy:
#379537
Mark

Can you comment on what would happen if we donate to USHPA but by March, the fundraising goal is not met.... If under such a scenario we indeed loose most of our flying sites, hang gliding in the US will (for the most part) die. If USHPA dissolves because there is no need for a national organization to represent a non-existent sport, what happens to the monies that were collected in the unsuccessful fundraising drive? Do the donors get their money back?

I think that more people with means might be willing to donate larger sums if they knew that the goal would be met, or they would get their donation returned.

The anonymous donor who pledged 100k when you reach 830k mark has the same concern... I want to be the last donor, not the first.
User avatar
By SlopeSkimmer
#379539
mgforbes wrote:
ChattaroyMan wrote:Just wondering .... have any hang or para pilots, who are also lawyers, thrown their hats in the ring to represent USHPA at minimal costs? Not asking for names, just wonder if that happens.
Our corporate attorney, Tim Herr, is a hang glider pilot. He's not free, but he gives us a very good rate for his work. While he is sometimes called on by our insurers to advise on litigation, the claims management company has the final say on who will be retained to defend a claim. That might be Tim, or some other firm.

Some USHPA members who have specialized legal/financial/governmental experience have provided assistance in the past on various projects. That's not for general legal needs, more for specialty projects.

MGF
Hey Mark, This Tim Herr guy, where does he fly? Has he looked into the claim that some of our sites do not require insurance? free-flight may be new to the board but this is not the first time I have heard this.
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