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#401534
More great news for pilots! This from Frank Colver USHPA #7 :

Hi hang glider folks, from Frank Colver.

I’ve finally put together an e-list of hang glider people, mostly vintage HG oriented, to make a couple of announcements. This first one is about our new ability to fly at Dockweiler Beach without any insurance or private club memberships required.

Through the considerable efforts of [Name Redacted] with some additional help from Joe Faust and myself, recreational hang gliding is now allowed at the Dockweiler site without needing to belong to USHPA or any other org. The agreement with the LA County Dept., of Beaches and Harbors allows us to fly there (no PG’s) without any liability insurance requirement, on the days when the concessionaire, Windsports Flight School, is closed. At the present time, those days are Monday and Tuesday. The only requirement to fly is a liability waiver signed by the pilot and approved by the LA Dept., of Beaches and Harbors.

I have put the county’s waiver form into my dropbox and you should be able to download it from there. I suggest that any of you who think there is even the slightest possibility that you would someday fly at Dockweiler, under these conditions, download the form to your computer, print it, sign all the places required, and mail it to the LA County Dept., of Beaches and Harbors to the attention of Amir (his name is shown on the form). Here is my Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yultargugyoh ... sW5ja?dl=0

For those of you who are not hang gliding anymore this is an excellent way to enjoy some minimal flying again in perhaps the safest location possible. I got back in 3 years ago and I am now flying there as much as I can at age 82 (close to 83). Joe Faust, Bob K, Ed Vasquez and myself are often there on a Monday or Tuesday and we do let others fly our gliders (with an additional liability release to us, for loan of our equipment). If you plan to come out there, contact one of us to find out if we will be there, especially if you need a glider to fly. I have a Condor 330 and a Condor 225 and I usually bring one or the other depending on the wind forecast. Joe Faust will soon be the new owner of my excellent WW Alpha 210 also.

This is an example of how more flying sites should be opened without an expensive need to join an organization which you may not be able, or want, to join for their insurance. The liability laws of many states now allow land owners to be free of liability for recreational use of their land, if they don’t charge for the use. This is especially true for government agencies which have even greater protections. With this as a start, the hang gliding community needs to work toward opening more sites to truly free recreational hang gliding (like it was in the beginning). This should be a top priority for USHPA!

Please pass this on to anyone you think I should have included, in this mailing.

I hope to see you all at Dockweiler Beach one of these days.

Frank
#401540
mtpilot wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:17 am
Right on! I hope your enthusiasm is contagious. How about using the same idea for a pilot owned training hill?
Dockweiler is a training hill. It's not a very big training hill, but it's a training hill. That's what Windsports uses it for.

The possibility of a pilot owned training hill is only dependent on a pilot buying a training hill and allowing people to train on it. In Southern California, private property big enough to be suitable would likely be very expensive.
#401542
If a someone wants to obtain land and let pilots fly there, that's great! Dockweiler is not now, and has not in the past been a USHPA-insured flying site. For many years it was closed, and Joe Greblo was the key to getting it reopened for training. He had to provide the city with insurance coverage as a condition of that reopening. In fact, the impetus for our RRG formation was his insurance renewal; he tried to renew his policy and the Lloyd's insurers told him they were exiting the business. That's when he contacted the USHPA office, and me, and we started digging into the problem.

If some pilots have obtained permission to fly there, outside of Windsports' normal business hours, that's wonderful. There are lots of places that we fly where the landowner does not require coverage under our policy. There are other places where they do....and those we refer to as "insured sites". Insured sites are restricted to USHPA members only, but you don't need to be a member of USHPA to fly everywhere else.

I encourage clubs NOT to extend site insurance to landowners unless it's the only way to gain access to a launch or LZ. There's no point in adding a landowner to our policy if they don't feel the need for coverage. But if a club needs that tool in order to open a site, it's there for them.

I hope these "no membership, no insurance" pilots have a good time flying at the beach. It's a nice place for basic training on a big, slow glider. I've only been there once, and it wasn't flyable.

MGF
#401544
My point, Mark is, and I believe other members feel USHPA needs to be more aligned with pilots needs. I see nothing
positive coming out of USHPA, just more money, more restrictions , more red tape, more bs. A few guys are trying to do
something positive, so just go with it. Everyone is trying to cram me full of insurance so I resent it. Get the insurance down
to a reasonable, believable level and lets work on more positive issues like site ownership and pilot mentoring. I want to
end the divisive attitude so we can go forward. Right now USHPA has nothing to offer me as a pilot. Just read other posts
on how frustrating it is to learn hang gliding and feel accepted by fellow pilots.
By FatBird
#401545
Great news!

Don't make the mistake I made by wearing sandals at this beach. Wear closed-toe high-top shoes to keep the nasty goat heads out.
#401546
Hey #7 (Frank),
I know you guys worked very hard for this, job well done!
I'm planning on being at the next Dockweiler gathering - great times with great people/pilots.
And, last but not least, Frank, thanks for my Colver vario... it was my very first :).
#401595
Could someone explain why ushpa and some members seem to be bringing this insurance situation into areas that are only creating a long term and probable unnecessary detriment as far as site access go.Insuring a site should only be used as a last resort to gain access on private property and should be paid by those pilots using that site.I have been in this sport a long time and have seen that ushpa has been creating the cage that has caused most of these issues.No other sport I can think of has created a framework that limits it's own access.It is the profit motive on these access arrangements which brings about many of the problems.Protecting profit and site access do not mix, it creates a much more dynamic liabilty situation..This is a wrong turn ushga made about 30 years ago.

Read more: viewtopic.php?t=35776#ixzz51UZmvl6z

Yes I posted the same thing in another thread,,,relevant here as well
#401597
Did you read what I said above?

I encourage clubs NOT to extend site insurance to landowners unless it's the only way to gain access to a launch or LZ. There's no point in adding a landowner to our policy if they don't feel the need for coverage. But if a club needs that tool in order to open a site, it's there for them.


What's different now from 30 years ago is that landowners are much more aware of the cost and risk of litigation. And this was a problem even from the very start; reading through the earliest BOD minutes, even before USHGA was USHGA, the issue of liability insurance and the closure of flying sites due to perceived legal risk was at the forefront of discussion. This is not a new problem, and we are not by any means "pushing" clubs to add insurance at sites. If anything we've been trying to limit the additional insureds to those who really need the coverage.

MGF
#401602
Mark
I appreciate your energies but your statement about limiting sites has not been the case.If this is the case now, you should remove insurance from all sites that are not on private property and go to bat for equal access for all other sites.Personally I would like to see the sport and organization completely freed from "for profit"means.This sport is for people with passion and that is the fuel that should drive it.Look at any video from the early days.
#401608
mgforbes wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:32 am
Did you read what I said above?

I encourage clubs NOT to extend site insurance to landowners unless it's the only way to gain access to a launch or LZ. There's no point in adding a landowner to our policy if they don't feel the need for coverage. But if a club needs that tool in order to open a site, it's there for them.


What's different now from 30 years ago is that landowners are much more aware of the cost and risk of litigation. And this was a problem even from the very start; reading through the earliest BOD minutes, even before USHGA was USHGA, the issue of liability insurance and the closure of flying sites due to perceived legal risk was at the forefront of discussion. This is not a new problem, and we are not by any means "pushing" clubs to add insurance at sites. If anything we've been trying to limit the additional insureds to those who really need the coverage.

MGF
I am not talking about "pushing" as you say
I wonder if USHPA insiders are too far down the rabbit hole to get it.Certainly those who's site access holds up their business interest would want all pilots to pay their insurance.All public access should be the same as mountain biking or any other outdoor activity.

Insuring a site should only be used as a last resort to gain access on private property and "should be paid by those pilots using that site".I have been in this sport a long time and have seen that ushpa has been creating the cage that has caused most of these issues.No other sport I can think of has created a framework that limits it's own access.It is the profit motive on these access arrangements which brings about many of the problems.Protecting profit and site access do not mix, it creates a much more dynamic liability situation.


Mission Statement
The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) will pursue its mission through:

Advocacy. USHPA will interact, proactively when possible and reactively when required, with agencies, organizations and individuals whose interests affect our sport.
Communication. Externally, USHPA will advance the positive awareness of hang gliding and paragliding among the non-flying public. Internally, the organization will cultivate a culture of communication and transparency.
Community. USHPA will promote a sense of community among members both locally and nationally.
Flying sites. USHPA will support the development of new flying sites and the preservation of existing sites.
Learning. USHPA will support learning, in part by providing an organizational framework for instructor and pilot training and certification.
Safety. USHPA will steadily foster a culture of safety.

USHPA should be for pilots not for the business of flying tandems and instructing.Business must find viability on it's own and cover it's own liabilities.
#401642
Mark

USHPA should be for pilots not for the business of flying tandems , instructing,and for profit competitions. Business must find viability on it's own and cover it's own liabilities.It seems the entire liability and insurance situation was brought about because self serving business interest run USHPA. Did you read the "mission statement"?It should be read aloud at the beginning and end of every meeting held by any member of USHPA.

Would this not change the entire situation?

WE need a pilot advocacy organization to work on site access ,promoting the sport, and limiting pilot exposure to liability.
#401667
Underdog wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:44 pm
WE need a pilot advocacy organization to work on site access ,promoting the sport, and limiting pilot exposure to liability.

And that is exactly what you have, despite your claims to the contrary. I would suggest that before you state your opinion of how we should structure USHPA, you first learn about how it IS structured. I'd also suggest that you go back and read the BOD minutes, conveniently posted for your reference on the USHPA website. Start at the beginning and look through the issues we've faced over 40-plus years.

Your assertion that USHPA is operated by business interests is false. Unless your definition of "business interests" includes "people who have a job and earn a living", which is the majority of the board.

Paul Murdoch, president....runs a specialty foods company.
Alan Crouse, VP.....works for the court system in California.
Steve Rodrigues, secretary....not sure what he does, works in San Francisco.
Mark Forbes, treasurer.....electronics design engineer.
Rich Hass, RD1.....retired real estate investment manager.
Josh Cohn, RD2.....works for a recording company.
Jon James, RD2....retired.
Jugdeep Aggarwal, RD2....something biotech-related.

....and so on....you get the idea. People who are on the BOD and have some business connection to our sport are Tiki Mashy (Cowboy Up HG in Texas) , Bruce Weaver (Kitty Hawk Kites), Matt Taber (Lookout Mountain Flight Park), Steve Kroop (Flytec distributor) and Calef Letorney, who just started a PG school alongside his day job for Land Rover. Oh...and "Rebar" Dan DeWeese, who's a HG instructor at Crestline. In my time on the board, I have not seen a single case where I felt that a director was voting for his personal enrichment or business interest. There have been occasions where we have voted on topics that might have an effect on a business, and those interested parties have been good about recusing themselves from those votes and stating their conflict of interest. In many cases, I'd say that those business-interested directors voted for policies that could be a burden on their businesses, but which were in the best interest of the association and sport.
If this is the case now, you should remove insurance from all sites that are not on private property and go to bat for equal access for all other sites.

And get them closed off, I presume? Are you not aware that in many cases we require a special use permit to operate on public lands, and those use permits require us to carry liability insurance which names the land management agency as an additional insured? And failure to carry that insurance closes the flying site? If you're advocating that we stamp our little feet and demand access, fine. Find somebody else to take on that windmill. We do not have the political clout to force the US government to change its policies, and it's foolish to think otherwise. We have to deal with reality, not an idealized fantasy world. In the real world, we keep sites open and keep pilots flying, and THAT is what matters. Maybe where you are it's not a problem...or maybe somebody else takes care of all that nasty paperwork and negotiation, so you don't have to worry about it. I don't know who you are, or where you are, since you hide behind a pseudonym.

I know this is true, because I heard from plenty of clubs who were anxious to get their insurance certificates when we transitioned over to the RRG coverage. They were barred from flying their sites on public land until they could show proof of insurance and have their use permits reissued. Maybe that seems unfair or unreasonable to you; and it might be. If you want to change that, go hire a DC lobbying firm and convince BLM, NPS, NFS and various state management agencies to change their rules. Bring plenty of cash; you'll need it.

MGF
#401668
Thanks for the response Mark...would you agree that the biggest issue to flying site risk is for profit tandem operations and that insurance issues are minimized greatly by the removal of these types of for profit "discovery flight"businesses?
That longterm insurance free public access is possible for purely recreational flying? (by fostering a new approach to these arrangements)
#401670
Underdog wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:55 am
Thanks for the response Mark...would you agree that the biggest issue to flying site risk is for profit tandem operations and that insurance issues are minimized greatly by the removal of these types of for profit "discovery flight"businesses?
That longterm insurance free public access is possible for purely recreational flying? (by fostering a new approach to these arrangements)
Based on the insurance claims that I'm aware of, no. Tandem operations are certainly a risk, but they're not the only or largest risk that we face. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the large-scale operations are as a rule much safer than the "lone wolf" instructors operating on the margins. That's based on what we see in actual accidents and claims.

As for the notion of "free public access" without the need for use permits or insurance, I don't see it happening. It may have once been the case that you could clear some brush or build a launch ramp on public land without any paperwork, but those days are gone. Nowadays, if you want to maintain a launch on BLM or NFS land, in most cases the local manager will want to issue a special use permit. That requirement may have been ignored in the past, but it's been on the books and in the law for many years. It applies whether you're engaged in a profit-making enterprise (in which case an additional commercial use permit and fee is required) or if you're just doing what we'd call ordinary site maintenance and improvement, like sculpting the ground, removing brush, planting grass or building a launch ramp. Even parking a Porta-Potty at launch requires a special use permit. Gravel on launch requires a permit. Removing tree stumps requires a permit...in fact, at Mount Howard it also required an environmental impact statement and an endangered species study. Which was paid for in large part by a Foundation site development grant. Those Foundation funds were available because of the close cooperation and synergy between USHPA and the Foundation, and the generosity of pilot donors.

You may get away with it for a while, just like you might get away with bandito-ing a site for a while without permission from the owner. As long as the usage is intermittent and low-key, you might get away with it for years. But eventually the site may become popular if it's a nice place to fly, or somebody notices, or somebody crashes and EMTs show up, or.....somehow, the people in charge "have to notice".

Fat ultralights got away with "don't make us have to look" with FAA for decades. But eventually, with much howling and screaming, the Sport Pilot rules went into effect to regulate those not-an-airplane, not-a-Part 103-ultralight contraptions. The same sort of thing applies to site access. Eventually somebody notices, and you have to follow the rules.
#401671
Mark is mostly correct in most of his posts. In our county park a special use permit is only required when you have 20 or more people in your group. Also in our area, the largest school has more accidents (including one death) than all the independent instructors combined.

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