Bart- huge respect for you. Very few are out "on the front" like you and Tiki... you guys are NOT a "big flight park" nor a massive (bulk) school... and you guys are not- at least as far as I know LOL- independently wealthy and doing this as a hobby-job like some of the other schools and instructors etc out there. You guys are legit, working your butts off to keep the bills paid and share the privledge of free flight with anyone and everyone that comes along. You charge just enough to keep it going... can't bring as many people in if you go out of business, right?! So making a living in the sport is a means to an end, not what you're actually after... and again, big respect for you and what you have done, are doing, and hopefully will continue doing!
I do however feel a correction to your above post is needed... and I hope hearing it from someone OTHER than Forbes will help you and others consider it, not as "trying to proliferate that same point of view" as you put it... but as a little more perspective on YOUR OWN point of view.
gotandem wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:36 pm
Take this sentence Mark wrote in this thread: "The 30-day membership is used for much more than just tandem flights, although that is one significant use." Mark knows that by far the majority of all 30 days are used for tandem flights. To say it's significant is an understatement. So although it is technically true, it does not really reflect what's going on.
All training hill students/lessons also use the same temporary membership forms. I do not AT ALL disagree that far more tandem "lessons" (avoiding the "tandem lesson" can-of-worms) occur than training hill lessons, and from Mark's quote above it seems he does not disagree either- it is a significant use of the temp membership forms. In addition to tandem AND hill, and scooter, and whatever other types of training people do out there, the temp memberships can also be used when foreign pilots are visiting the US... if they do not need a specific rating, just USHPA membership in order to fly a USHPA insured site, or compete in a USHPA sanctioned competition, then the 30-day membership/waiver works great. So I would have to agree and support Mark's words that tandem is one significant use, but I think that perhaps your statement that "it does not really reflect what's going on" might be based on your perception, as someone who primarily is in a flat area, primarily towing, and doing a lot of tandems, and tandem instruction, as compared to flight instruction lessons utilizing the 30-day forms. When I lived at Point of the Mountain in Utah, I helped quite a few visiting pilots join USHPA via the 30-day form... they were either from other countries, or lived in areas where USHPA membership wasn't needed and so they weren't current members. Rather than have them "trespass" and fly the State/County Parks without membership, offering the 30-day as a more cost-effective and practical solution than buying an annual membership for the couple days or week they were in town. Not to mention that nearly all the training I was doing was hill based lessons, with each student needing a 30-day. Sometimes more than once, if they were not ready to commit to USHPA membership, and/or a lot of time had passed since their last lesson and 30-day. I was a small operation there in Utah... but I feel you might be disproportionately thinking how the 30-days are used in tandem over all else. Please reconsider your opinion on that?
gotandem wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:36 pm
In 2015 the income generated from instructors buying the 30 days was $200.000. The money went into a general fund. It would have paid for 1/4 of the total insurance bill in 2015! Back then you said that the membership was subsidizing instructors' insurance. Again, technically true, but in the big picture that statement did not reflect reality.
I must admit, in this quoted bit I am unclear why you recognize the factual content but then say "that statement did not reflect reality". The USHPA insurance policy purchased prior to the RRG shindig had multiple facets. Third-party liability coverage for ALL pilot members, then the ability to add non-members/non-pilots as additionally insured parties... which is what "site insurance" really is- it is coverage for the other people or entities that might be involved in our flying. Then there was the policy for instructors... which was added later than the general third-party coverage... at the request or insistence of the insurance provider... possibly under threat of no longer offering the general coverage policy if additional coverage wasn't purchased for instruction activities, because the liability exposure from instruction (including tandem) was and is obviously far greater than general pilot members or land owners allowing flight activity on their land.
Far greater legal liability- from the perspective of an insurance company- means far greater RISK, and therefore far greater COST. If all USHPA members paid X for their annual membership when only the general policy was being paid for... and when the instructor policy was added ONLY INSTRUCTORS paid around X * 2 (about double of pilot members)... that's a policy covering greater liability risk, and yet far FAR fewer people paying for it. Those numbers wouldn't support the policy alone... so 1) all pilot members paid a little more to help offset the cost to instructors- which was passed by the BOD *DESPITE* the instructors on the board being fundamentally against having "pilots" subsidize "instructors"... which is why general dues only went up a little, and instructor dues went up a lot more. So still, that did not raise enough money to pay for this new policy. In addition to the poor office staff's salary (I'm sure you know, someone was manually performing data entry from every 30-day form received, right?)... charging additional for the temporary memberships helped raise funds for the policy, WITH THE PEOPLE USING THE POLICY MORE, PAYING MORE TOWARD IT. If we could define the liability exposure of ONE lesson or tandem flight... an instructor doing ONE and another instructor doing TEN... are not exposing themselves, the association, or the insurance provider to the same legal liability... so it does make sense the instructor doing more pays more. It is again a bit philosophical, where the people using the policy actually pay for their coverage.
Fast forward to today, with "our" insurance now coming from RRRG, an RRG (thanks for making even the naming confusing guys!)... and really nothing has changed. USHPA purchases a policy covering all members for third-party liability. Purchasing it from a different provider now, but whatever, no great change to pilot members. USHPA also purchases a policy covering instructors- but it IS NOT "professional liability insurance"... which is where the whole "teach for free or buy additional insurance" thing comes from. And just like before- all pilot members are paying a little bit towards this coverage... instructors are paying a lot towards this coverage... and those using the coverage most are paying more into it, via the purchase of those required temporary memberships. Charging for the 30-day forms makes sense today, as it always did, at least IMHO...
I believe when schools purchase the professional coverage, they are then able to purchase the 30-day temp memberships for less, right? Also kinda makes sense, since some of that built-in cost for the form that pays for non-commercial coverage is "replaced" by the additionally purchased coverage... so those 30-day buyers aren't exposing the general USHPA instructor policy to as much exposure, because they now have a more specific policy overlapping the coverage that would have come from USHPA's policy. If that makes sense- not sure I worded that clearly?
Personally- I have a pretty big disagreement with USHPA purchasing that additional instructor policy- and all pilots, instructors, and 30-day form purchasers paying for it- when SO FEW INSTRUCTORS are actually using it (teaching for free). I feel it's a big expense for a barely-used benefit... and while it was once something USHPA sort of had to buy to appease the insurance company... THAT HAS CHANGED! Why are we all- particularly the certified instructors like me and you Bart- paying for a friggin' policy that only provides coverage if we give our services away?! Look at what I said in the very beginning of this post- an instructor must stay in business if they want to help MANY people, rather than just a few. Helping many people at a bit higher cost to them does a greater good to the sport and community than helping a small number very cheaply (and then going out and getting a "day-job" to actually pay the bills).
gotandem wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:36 pm
I see now that you are still trying to proliferate the same point of view. That seems unfair to me.
Instructors grow the membership. Big or small.
I support what Mark has said, even though I hate to disagree with you Bart. Again, I have *GREAT* respect for you and Tiki!
I do not see the unfairness you reference. I agree that instructors grow the membership, of course I agree with that! But "the membership" are first and foremost hang glider and paraglider PILOTS... not instructors. While you and I see the greater picture, in that our little niche world of free flight benefits in entirety if the community grows- more people flying, more use of sites, more people buying/selling gear, more volunteers putting forth efforts, more sites hopefully, more shared resources in a larger population reduces costs-per-member... yada yada... BUT- the membership, in general, does not want to pay their *CURRENT* dues... let alone paying more to help cover instructors. Hell, INSTRUCTORS don't want to pay for their own coverage... and in the end, USHPA... like the USA... is a majority rule environment. If the majority of USHPA members only wants to pay for what they HAVE to... third party insurance for themselves and for those parties that grant us entry or exit to/from the sky... and no more... then that leaves instructors to pay for their own stuff...
This sucks... but it is not USHPA's fault or doing... take it up with "the membership". If you can show that most USHPA members will accapt paying more, to help keep instructors afloat and help perpetuate the sport, then I can absolutely with total confidence assure you the BOD would change the dues structure to reflect that.
But within a thread where people are saying they refuse to pay PILOT MEMBER DUES because their local site doesn't require USHPA membership... and they don't care they aren't helping financially support the greater good for all pilots in the USA... I guess all I can say is good luck getting the membership to fund the instructors. That, and that I myself do not want that- as an instructor. The people I taught paid me for that. If I am not teaching now, I can either pay out of my pocket for my added insurance, or I can call the office and suspend my instructor certifications. But like I said, I do think it super sucks I'm paying for teach-for-free coverage just so I can keep my cert active for the occasional clinic or tandem with my daughter. Lamesauce... IMHO... You listening Forbes???
Shut up and fly.