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.
Instead, they'd rather talk about when I let my membership lapse, and how much a Star Wars movie ticket cost in 1975.. seriously??
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..." ;-)