mtpilot wrote: ↑
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:12 am
You say you enjoy paying taxes. Not everyone does, I only like to pay for value received. I am with you on improving
site access and opening new sites but do not want it muddied in layers of costly insurance and unnecessary regulations.
You only like to pay for value received, but how do you determine what that value is? Within your narrow field of view, far out in the uninhabited hinterlands of Montana, you probably don't see the whole picture of what USHPA does. We *are* working on improving site access and opening new sites, and having liability insurance is a necessary and integral part of that. You say the insurance is "costly" and the regulations "unnecessary", but compared to what? I can guarantee that you won't find a million dollar liability policy that covers hang gliding for $150 a year (plus other benefits) anywhere else. You may feel that the coverage is worthless to you, because you're one of those sky-god pilots who's never going to have an accident that injures anyone else or damages their property. You're not alone; we have about 9000 of them in our association. And every year, a few of them find out that they're wrong. That's why we have insurance.
The regulations are voluntary; you don't have to belong to USHPA to fly a hang glider. If you want to fly at popular sites where the landowner requires that you be insured, then yes, you DO need to be a member. But as long as you go fly somewhere else, feel free to ignore USHPA's rating system, safety rules and all the rest. Those rules are in place to help pilots fly safely. If you see some regulation that you think is "unnecessary", please point it out in the SOPs. I'd be happy to look at it and bring it up to the relevant committee for review. Like a lot of the FAA's rules, the lessons written in the blood of dead pilots are codified in our SOPs.
I would kindly state the RRG is inefficient and a bad idea. This is evident in replies I received from Mark Forbes in recent posts. We do need a national org than unifies pilots not a divisive one that cares only about populous regions or commercial interests.
I don't know how you can manage to extract that conclusion from things I've written previously. The RRG is run about a lean as it's possible to do it and still be viable. As for a "bad idea", if you can come up with a real source of liability insurance that writes a comprehensive policy for hang gliding and paragliding, and has the long-term stability to be there for us when we need it, bring it on! But you can't, because it doesn't exist. You think we didn't look for that? Forming the RRG was a huge amount of work, as is the ongoing effort to run it. I could be out flying instead. But those of us involved in running the RRG know that what we're doing is essential to the future of our sport across the country, and we sacrifice our free time in that effort.
As for your complaint about serving populous areas and commercial interests....well, where should we put our efforts? In areas where we don't have any pilots? That would certainly be efficient. (Not) And just what are those services which are provided to populous areas and commercial interests, to the presumed detriment of pilots like you out in the boonies? Are you not getting something that other members do?
We could use the money to lease/purchase sites as is common in other sports.
You clearly have no clue about the value of land in this country. Maybe that's feasible in Montana, where NOBODY LIVES, but it's not even remotely a possibility in areas where there's a population base. The cost of a single parcel of land in a populated area, suitably large for a flying site, starts on the order of 2X USHPA's total annual budget. Or are you suggesting that we should raise dues to somewhere around $1000/year, to bring in enough cash to buy a flying site each year? I can see that going over really well with most of our members.
If you're serious about making USHPA spend more money on site acquisition, then you can do that. Make a matching donation at renewal time to the Foundation, targeting the site fund. Limit out at $500. USHPA will be forced to match that money and send $1000 to the Foundation to be used for site acquisition and development. You get to force other members to help support site acquisition and all of your dues go to that purpose. USHPA budgets a maximum of $30,000 per year for that matching. This past year most of it went to the HG/PG teams, because they made a concerted effort to fund-raise for the world competitions.
I do not agree or accept we are stuck with the RRG. Forbes mentions other options.
Really? I have discussed some other options we have considered, AND DISCARDED, because those options did not provide the kind of insurance we need, or came with unacceptable limitations and exclusions. Insurance coverage is worthless if it doesn't pay claims when you need it. There is plenty of "insurance" out there that's essentially a scam. Home appliance warranties sold online, car repair insurance advertised on the radio, funeral expense insurance, home mortgage insurance, various long term care insurance programs....it's a thriving business and the devil's in the details and fine print. Our RRG insurance policy is completely different, because our motives are different.
Recreation RRG is not interested in extracting maximum profit from hang gliding and paragliding. We're not in it for the money.
We're focused on the long term preservation of our sport, and the provision of a stable source of liability insurance to protect our members and schools, and to keep our sites open. The policy is focused on protection of our members from the kinds of catastrophic risks that we all face, and which are excluded by other coverage we might have. If you screw up and hit a power line, which starts a fire and burns down someone's house, you shouldn't lose your life's savings because of that one mistake. You shouldn't have to lawyer-up for $20K or so because you were nice enough to serve as a club officer when some grumpy neighbor decides to sue your club because he doesn't like you flying next door. (Yes, it happened.)
Probably nothing I've written here will change your mind. You already know everything, and my trying to explain reality to you isn't going to alter that. But other people reading this exchange should know that the conclusions you ascribe to things I've written are not true, and I hope THEY get a better understanding of how things really are.
Oh...and for NMERider....I was not the author of the liability waiver. That predates my joining the USHPA board by several years. In fact my initial opposition to the waiver, fueled in large part by uninformed conspiracy theories on the Internet, was what led to my becoming a regional director. I'd complained to my RD of the time, Steve Roti, about the waiver. He challenged me to take on the job, since he was retiring. Once I joined the board and learned about the subtle details of why we needed a waiver, it became very clear that it was a good idea and the conspiracy theorists didn't know what they were talking about.