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#401677
Let me start by saying, I have been an USHPA member for over 10 years, and the only complaint I have is the change to a bi monthly magazine. I believe my dues should be able to cover a monthly magazine. After reading the posts here I do see that there are others, with what seems to me legitimate complaints. I have not kept up with all the insurance issues. After reading these posts I would appreciate it if someone could answer a couple of my questions. Being I'm not an instructor, and don't mind paying my individual dues, for a magazine, and rating, I'm simply asking questions out of curiosity.
I looked on the USHPA Web site for USHPA insured sites in Florida. There isn't a single USHPA insured site in that state. Do they have insurance? Where do they get it? What might be a reason for not getting their insurance from USHPA? If they are not USHPA insured, do the students get USHPA ratings? Are the instructors USHPA rated? Are the Instructors insured by USPA? They all advertise both tandems for instruction, or simply for fun in either a towed hang glider, or the tug ultra lite. One school even offers a tandem thrill ride including mild aerobatics for the more adventuresome. Are they operating under the USHPA exemption, or some other tandem exemption? Nothing against the flight parks in
Florida. I have flown at two and have always been impressed with the safe professional way they were managed. I personaly don't have any problem with a flight park giving any kind of tandem rides without any kind of license or insurance. You don't need a license or insurance to teach rock climbing, or base jumping. Again no complaints from me, just curious.
a
#401680
akraven wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:16 am
Do they have insurance? Where do they get it? What might be a reason for not getting their insurance from USHPA? If they are not USHPA insured, do the students get USHPA ratings? Are the instructors USHPA rated? Are the Instructors insured by USPA?
I'll answer as best I can. I'm a director for region 9. I have participated in some of the insurance discussions but am definitely not an expert. Insurance is somewhat complicated, I'm sure others will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong.

The type of insurance that our RRRG (Recreation Risk Retention Group) sells is liability insurance. It primarily protects people and land owners that could be damaged or harmed by our sport. So, the insurance isn't for the pilot, it's for the spectator on the ground that is accidentally struck by a hang glider that is landing on a public beach. It doesn't pay for broken down tubes but it may cover property damage caused by a glider hitting a structure when landing.

The insurance is often required to fly public land. For example, Kitty Hawk Kites in NC fly in a State Park. When sites are privately owned, the land owner may require insurance to protect themselves from the liability of our activity.

So why aren't the flight parks insured? The short answer is that some are. When the land is owned by the flight park there isn't as urgent a need. The flight parks that I'm aware of use USHPA-rated instructors and will sign off USHPA ratings for pilots.

The other wrinkle in the insurance discussion is PASA, the Professional Air Sports Association. PASA has established the best practices and standards of operation for hang gliding and paragliding as well as a few other sports. To qualify for RRRG insurance as HG/PG school must be PASA certified.

The RRRG insurance was started without a statistically significant injury record. The insurance started out with conservative (high) premiums until enough data could be gathered. USHPA currently has an initiative to report all incidents and near misses to help calculate a more accurate accident rate.

I hope this helps unravel the mystery.


Dan Lukaszewicz
Region 9
#401683
Thanks for answering my questions. Still curious as to why there isn't a single USPA insured site in all of Florida. Also what tandem exemption do the flight parks use? Under other exemptions is it legal to fly tandem as scenic flights, or do all exemptions only include tandem flights be for flight instruction? If a school operates under a different tandem exemption, can they still get USHPA insurance? When does an instructor have to be certified by PASA? Are all instructors considered schools? Again no complaints, just trying to figure out what all the arguments are over.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401685
Site insurance is extended to chapters for non-commercial activity. All of the Florida flying is at commercial flight parks, so site insurance would not be appropriate for those locations. The RRG has been in discussions with the various flight park operators, in Florida and elsewhere, and some of them have purchased commercial policies from the RRG. Others have chosen not to; they own the property, and it's their risk to accept as they choose.

Whether a commercial flight park chooses to carry liability insurance is up to them. Instructors teaching at those locations are not covered for their liability risk if that flight park is not insured for commercial activity. When a flight park obtains insurance coverage from the RRG, their employees and instructors are covered under their policy. If the policy limit is less than $500K, then the individual instructors (but NOT the school/flight park) are covered by USHPA's instructor policy as a secondary line of defense, up to $500K. The school or flight park policy stands primary, with USHPA's policy as a backup. But that's only if there is commercial coverage from the RRG in place; otherwise there's no coverage for commercial activity.
#401686
Thanks for the answer to my question about insurance at flight parks in Florida, makes sense to me now. Could you give me an answer to my question on tandem exemption. Do they use the USHPA exemption, or do they use some other tandem exemption to the FAR. I assume if using a different tandem exemption, the USHPA rated instructors, can still issue all USHPA ratings? Thanks again.
#401687
The flight parks that I'm aware of (Wallaby, Quest, and Florida Ridge) are all using the USHPA tandem exemption. Technically all flights are teaching flights. Along with all of the waivers that are signed is a temporary USHPA membership.

I think there is a paraglider park near the Florida Ridge that was operating outside of USHPA. They weren't performing tandems though. USHPA is working to bring them back into the fold.



Dan
#401688
akraven wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:57 pm
I assume if using a different tandem exemption, the USHPA rated instructors, can still issue all USHPA ratings?

This one is difficult. If you're going to hold yourself out as a USHPA-certified instructor, operating under USHPA's training standards, then you need to operate under USHPA's tandem exemption and the requirements that go with it. If you're going "off the reservation" and using some other exemption for tandems, then you need to relinquish your USHPA instructor credentials and not advertise yourself as being a USHPA-certified instructor. We notified instructors that they needed to decide which path they wanted to take when this question came up.

I can't choose to drive in New York and make a legal left-turn-on-red because it's legal back home in Oregon. You have to comply with the rules where you choose to operate, and the same applies here. You can't pick-and-choose which rules you'd like to follow. The exemption issued to USHPA requires that all students be members of our association (a 30-day membership is sufficient) and that the flights be conducted for training. Some basic ground school and a simple written quiz is deemed sufficient to meet this standard, along with whatever in-flight handling of the controls may be offered. We try hard to rein in instructors who are perceived as advertising or offering "joyrides". Over the years we've notified a number of instructors that what they're offering doesn't pass the "smell test" of a training flight, and asked them to modify their advertising to comply.

MGF
#401690
Thanks for the information. Makes sense to me now. An instructor can use the USHPA tandem exemption, without being required to buy USHPA insurance. Doesn,t effect me in any way, just wanted to try and understand what all the disagreement on this forum is about.
#401692
akraven wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:16 am
Let me start by saying, I have been an USHPA member for over 10 years, and the only complaint I have is the change to a bi monthly magazine. I believe my dues should be able to cover a monthly magazine.

We hear you. There was a spirited discussion at the BOD meeting about this topic, and we voted to go to eight issues next year. It has budget implications, and we're still getting things stabilized after the insurance thrash. We're also in the midst of a major IT infrastructure update, bringing the late 1990's era back-of-house system and the website up to modern standards. That's an expensive proposition, but we're getting near completion. It's been sucking up a lot of cash, and having the insurance crisis happen in the middle of it all was not exactly helpful. But we got past it, and things should settle down. I expect we'll get back to 12 issues, but it might be another year or so. As soon as we can work it into the budget, the magazine will be back to a monthly pace. We're also looking at other forms of content delivery, as the world becomes ever more wired.

My hope is that as we demonstrate an improved risk profile we'll start to see our premium requirements drop. Since insurance is a huge portion of our overall budget, driving that number down will free up a lot of money which we can use to reduce dues and improve services to members. Premium requirements won't come down soon, but if we continue on our present path they should improve. So far, our risk management programs seem to be working. But the statistical base is small, and the variance is large, so it takes quite a while for a real change in the trend line to be convincing.

MGF
#401693
The insurance is often required to fly public land. For example, Kitty Hawk Kites in NC fly in a State Park. When sites are privately owned, the land owner may require insurance to protect themselves from the liability of our activity.

So why aren't the flight parks insured? The short answer is that some are. When the land is owned by the flight park there isn't as urgent a need. The flight parks that I'm aware of use USHPA-rated instructors and will sign off USHPA ratings for pilots.

Dan Lukaszewicz
Region 9
[/quote]

Kittyhawk kites is a business.Is that the main reason we need insurance to fly public land there? The entire site arrangement hinges on the liability imposed by this for profit operation.The site then becomes an "insured site" .Is it not true that the whole business model there destroys any possibility of pilot access without the insurance scheme?
#401700
KHK has been in operation for over 40 years, founded in 1974, before we even had an insurance program. And that's not a USHPA-insured site, and never has been, so I'm not quite sure what your point is.

Businesses operating on public land generally need a use permit or a lease/concession agreement. Those contracts typically require liability insurance as part of the deal. Torrey has such an agreement with the city of San Diego. Joe Greblo has an agreement with Los Angeles. Various schools partner with ski resorts for commercial training, and have contracts with both private landowners and public land management agencies. This is not a new thing.

The fact that some pilots have arranged permission to fly at the sand dune where Joe Greblo operates, at times when he is not operating, isn't really germane. It's the city of LA's choice to allow them to fly there, and they apparently don't care if those pilots have liability insurance coverage. Goody for them! We have lots of places where the landowner doesn't care about that...and some where the landowner DOES. And those places are insured sites, restricted to USHPA-member pilots only.

MGF
#401704
mgforbes wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:36 pm
KHK has been in operation for over 40 years, founded in 1974, before we even had an insurance program. And that's not a USHPA-insured site, and never has been, so I'm not quite sure what your point is.

Businesses operating on public land generally need a use permit or a lease/concession agreement. Those contracts typically require liability insurance as part of the deal. Torrey has such an agreement with the city of San Diego. Joe Greblo has an agreement with Los Angeles. Various schools partner with ski resorts for commercial training, and have contracts with both private landowners and public land management agencies. This is not a new thing.

The fact that some pilots have arranged permission to fly at the sand dune where Joe Greblo operates, at times when he is not operating, isn't really germane. It's the city of LA's choice to allow them to fly there, and they apparently don't care if those pilots have liability insurance coverage. Goody for them! We have lots of places where the landowner doesn't care about that...and some where the landowner DOES. And those places are insured sites, restricted to USHPA-member pilots only.

MGF
Who do you consider the landowner when it is public land?
Is it the group of people administrating that land ?
USHPA is in the business of selling insurance ,correct ?
Will USHPA be proposing it's scheme to these administrators ?
How much of these site negotiations are to deal with the liability of tandem operations or the like(Hey buddy I got a policy to protectchaa!) ?
We should free up as much as possible the free flying community of insurance or waivers or any other bs USHPA and any business interest for long term site aquisition and preservation.
Does USHPA care about pilots or just "dues paying,insurance buying,waiver signing"pilots ?
USHPA in it's current form only works for buisness and buddy "that ain't flyin"
#401705
Underdog wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:11 am
Who do you consider the landowner when it is public land?
Is it the group of people administrating that land ?
USHPA is in the business of selling insurance ,correct ?
Will USHPA be proposing it's scheme to these administrators ?
How much of these site negotiations are to deal with the liability of tandem operations or the like(Hey buddy I got a policy to protectchaa!) ?
We should free up as much as possible the free flying community of insurance or waivers or any other bs USHPA and any business interest for long term site aquisition and preservation.
Does USHPA care about pilots or just "dues paying,insurance buying,waiver signing"pilots ?
USHPA in it's current form only works for buisness and buddy "that ain't flyin"
You make some inaccurate statements here, but I'll try to answer them anyway.

1) Land owners, in the context of public lands, are the managers responsible for the properties. They are public in the sense that they are owned and managed by federal, state or local governments, not by private individuals. Rules vary depending on which entity manages the land. The fact that it is publicly owned does not mean that the public has unfettered access. Your local park, for example, may prohibit dogs off leash, skateboards or smoking. Federal wilderness areas have stringent access restrictions. National parks, BLM desert land, Forest Service reserves...all of these have managers who are responsible to their bosses for managing the multiple uses of the public lands. Access is managed in part by rules and by permits issued to those who wish to use or modify those lands.

2) USHPA does not sell insurance. It buys insurance from a captive insurance company, and that insurance covers the association, its chapters, members and additional insured landowners for third party liability related to flying. Individual schools, PASA and the Foundation also have purchased insurance from Recreation RRG. As a captive insurance company, it is owned by its insureds, but it is a separate, for-profit insurance company which sells policies tailored to the needs of hang gliding and paragliding. We used to have an outside insurance company, but when they dropped coverage we were forced to create our own captive insurer in order to have access to a policy.

3) As I've said before, when asked about this I recommend that chapters or individual pilots seeking to open a site should not offer site insurance coverage unless the landowner requires it as a condition of access. In the case of federal or state lands requiring a special use permit, insurance coverage is typically a line-item requirement. If you don't have it, you don't get the use permit. It's a tool that we have available, but we don't "push" it on anyone.

4) The rest of your screed is somewhat incoherent. USHPA exists to serve the needs of its members. Those needs include insurance coverage, as one of several membership benefits. If you think that USHPA's benefits are of no value to you, then there is no need for you to join the association and pay dues to obtain them. You will not have access to those member benefits, which include access to sites where the landowner requires that pilots have insurance coverage. That's your choice; no law says you have to join our association. All you're required to do is to obey the laws regarding trespass, by not flying at insured sites or at sites where the landowner requires membership as a condition of use. Go fly somewhere else, and everybody's happy. But if you want to fly at sites that require insurance coverage, then you need to have a membership in order to be covered. Pilots who are not USHPA members are not covered by our insurance policy.
#401708
mgforbes wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:45 am
Underdog wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:11 am
Who do you consider the landowner when it is public land?
Is it the group of people administrating that land ?
USHPA is in the business of selling insurance ,correct ?
Will USHPA be proposing it's scheme to these administrators ?
How much of these site negotiations are to deal with the liability of tandem operations or the like(Hey buddy I got a policy to protectchaa!) ?
We should free up as much as possible the free flying community of insurance or waivers or any other bs USHPA and any business interest for long term site aquisition and preservation.
Does USHPA care about pilots or just "dues paying,insurance buying,waiver signing"pilots ?
USHPA in it's current form only works for buisness and buddy "that ain't flyin"
You make some inaccurate statements here, but I'll try to answer them anyway.

1) Land owners, in the context of public lands, are the managers responsible for the properties. They are public in the sense that they are owned and managed by federal, state or local governments, not by private individuals. Rules vary depending on which entity manages the land. The fact that it is publicly owned does not mean that the public has unfettered access. Your local park, for example, may prohibit dogs off leash, skateboards or smoking. Federal wilderness areas have stringent access restrictions. National parks, BLM desert land, Forest Service reserves...all of these have managers who are responsible to their bosses for managing the multiple uses of the public lands. Access is managed in part by rules and by permits issued to those who wish to use or modify those lands.

2) USHPA does not sell insurance. It buys insurance from a captive insurance company, and that insurance covers the association, its chapters, members and additional insured landowners for third party liability related to flying. Individual schools, PASA and the Foundation also have purchased insurance from Recreation RRG. As a captive insurance company, it is owned by its insureds, but it is a separate, for-profit insurance company which sells policies tailored to the needs of hang gliding and paragliding. We used to have an outside insurance company, but when they dropped coverage we were forced to create our own captive insurer in order to have access to a policy.

3) As I've said before, when asked about this I recommend that chapters or individual pilots seeking to open a site should not offer site insurance coverage unless the landowner requires it as a condition of access. In the case of federal or state lands requiring a special use permit, insurance coverage is typically a line-item requirement. If you don't have it, you don't get the use permit. It's a tool that we have available, but we don't "push" it on anyone.

4) The rest of your screed is somewhat incoherent. USHPA exists to serve the needs of its members. Those needs include insurance coverage, as one of several membership benefits. If you think that USHPA's benefits are of no value to you, then there is no need for you to join the association and pay dues to obtain them. You will not have access to those member benefits, which include access to sites where the landowner requires that pilots have insurance coverage. That's your choice; no law says you have to join our association. All you're required to do is to obey the laws regarding trespass, by not flying at insured sites or at sites where the landowner requires membership as a condition of use. Go fly somewhere else, and everybody's happy. But if you want to fly at sites that require insurance coverage, then you need to have a membership in order to be covered. Pilots who are not USHPA members are not covered by our insurance policy.
"All you're required to do is to obey the laws regarding trespass, by not flying at insured sites or at sites where the landowner requires membership as a condition of use."
Problem is USHPA is making sure you need this garbage insurance ,because we are going make sure landowners require it.I already know what your going to say Mark.
What other activity requires this on public land .This has got to be the biggest blunder ever,,, to limit your sport but keep telling people this is the only way.The Insurance issue on public land exist because USHPA negotiated it that way,my guess is it was to protect business interest and I don't think that is what the mission statement points to.Mark if we had you as USHPA's lawyer we wouldn't need any insurance anyway !!!!
#401710
There are many other outdoor recreation activities that require use permits on public lands; rafting, horse guiding, some climbing, etc. There are access limits on popular recreation sites. There are fishing licenses required in most states, and limits on catch, species and size. The world is full of regulations, and we have to comply with them. We don't ask to have regulations imposed for some sort of nefarious purpose. To believe otherwise is foolish.

It's clear to me that trying to have a rational discussion with you is futile. I've explained the facts, and you choose to believe your imagination instead. Thanks for playing, but I'm done.
MGF
#401711
I remember back when I could legally fly but not drive a car .....so when I did drive a car during this time I was sooo careful ..the best driver out there .Knowing that I would be a criminal if i hurt anyone including myself really made me notice how irresponsible most drivers were...cynical at 16.

Insurance is on one level just for the irresponsible covering their arse and if lawyers were any bloody good we would have air tight waivers ..but in whose interest would that be ?

I also know that there are those types flying tick tick tick...

When we commercialize and legalize we make a kind of headless monster.
User avatar
By magentabluesky
#401712
mgforbes wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:03 pm
All of the Florida flying is at commercial flight parks . . .

Whether a commercial flight park chooses to carry . . .
Dear Mr. Forbes,

You reference commercial flight parks. My copy of FAR Part 103 clearly states that an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only. That would apply to hang gliders.

The FAA is very restrictive and specific as to the situations involving money or some other form of compensation allowable under the recreation and sport limitation (AC 103-7).

There is an appearance of overt disregard for the regulations in your reference to commercial flight parks. If as you say individuals and/or organizations are operating commercial flight parks with hang gliders (ultralight vehicles), their operations are illegal unless operating under some special dispensation from the FAA.

Illegal for hire commercial operations are a direct threat to Part 103 and is an open invitation for more restrictive regulations by the FAA.

Michael Grisham
#401713
" Commercial" in this context refers to any entity where there's an exchange of value, not necessarily the use of a Part 103 ultralight for business purposes.

I think you would agree that the following are not "commercial use" of a Part 103 ultralight vehicle under FAA's rules:
- equipment rental
- towing
- sales of ultralight vehicles and accessories
- flight instruction for pilots

Examples of the illegal commercial use of Part 103 ultralights might be:
- banner towing (for hire or otherwise, not legal either way)
- scenic flights not associated with training
- crop dusting
- aerial photography for hire

Based on the guidance we've received over the years from FAA, we're doing exactly what they want and expect us to do.
MGF
User avatar
By TjW
#401714
magentabluesky wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:26 pm
mgforbes wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:03 pm
All of the Florida flying is at commercial flight parks . . .

Whether a commercial flight park chooses to carry . . .
Dear Mr. Forbes,

You reference commercial flight parks. My copy of FAR Part 103 clearly states that an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only. That would apply to hang gliders.

The FAA is very restrictive and specific as to the situations involving money or some other form of compensation allowable under the recreation and sport limitation (AC 103-7).

There is an appearance of overt disregard for the regulations in your reference to commercial flight parks. If as you say individuals and/or organizations are operating commercial flight parks with hang gliders (ultralight vehicles), their operations are illegal unless operating under some special dispensation from the FAA.

Illegal for hire commercial operations are a direct threat to Part 103 and is an open invitation for more restrictive regulations by the FAA.

Michael Grisham

So, what sort of illegal for hire commercial operations are you referring to?
User avatar
By magentabluesky
#401715
TjW wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:11 pm
So, what sort of illegal for hire commercial operations are you referring to?
I am not the one saying any illegal for hire commercial operations have occurred. I am saying Mark Forbes is referring to Commercial Flight Parks. He would be the one that knows what goes on at a Commercial Flight Park.

Please read AC 103-7.

Thank you, Mr. Forbes,
mgforbes wrote: I think you would agree that the following are not "commercial use" of a Part 103 ultralight vehicle under FAA's rules:
I would agree. They are not commercial use under Part103 and therefore should not be referred as a Commercial Flight Park.

By rule a commercial flight park does not exist under Part 103, period.

I would agree with your list except for flight instruction. I have yet to see any public official FAA document allowing compensation for flight instruction under Part 103. If there is one out there please share. I certainly would not go to the hearing or court and say: but Mr. Forbes said I could be compensated for giving flight instruction. If I were to give flight instruction for compensation without an official FAA public document in the affirmative, I would get a letter of authorization from my local FAA office. The USHPA should already have that document on file and they should be publically sharing that document. Don’t get me wrong, my personal opinion is that instructors should get paid for teaching. When it comes to flying and the FAA, you have to site chapter and verse and know positively where your authority comes from.

Getting back to the thread, just to state the obvious, there were a couple old farts, who just so happen to be founding members of the organization that was the genesis of the USHPA. I believe they have some experience growing the sport. They approached LA County with chapter and verse of the regulations along with a reasonable responsible plan and it was approved. It was an approach back to basics, simple Free Flight.

The basis of Part 103 is a single pilot occupant, responsible for the risk and their own actions defined by the FAA – simple.

Michael Grisham

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