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All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

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User avatar
By lizzard
#401777
Some how ,employing robots in any of this seems way worse that this process we see unfolding .
Like handing your heart to a known fool.
Perhaps the details underlying issue would be well read here.
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#401807
Happy New Year!

I'm just about to renew my USHPA membership. I look forward to it and can't imagine what flying hangs/paras would be like without USHPA's insurance, programs, magazine, etc. A bit of a disclaimer here .... I hold no USHPA offices nor volunteer with USHPA excepting that I am the current Prez of our USHPA Chapter in Region 1. I'm also a person who enjoys paying my taxes. :) Really. I got to live in Sudan for 6 months back in the 70s - out in roughly the middle of nowhere. Where people lived their lives - fairly short ones - without any external support, protection, services, etc. It made a lasting impression on me to witness such pronounced differences in support services between the USA and Sudan for the citizens of the two countries. My US Rep doesn't vote the way I would like in Congress - but she's serving our country and I'm proud of her for that. I don't vote for her but I admire her service and I'm surely not going to give up my citizenship because my political bent isn't the bend at the moment. It's the bigger pictures I'm most concerned with.

Since this thread has gotten a wee bit off topic from recreational land use laws to USHPA BOD voting records I'm feeling free to muddy the waters a bit further. Discussion is good. Voicing one's opinions is good. However, deciding to bail on being a USHPA member for some warts (real or imagined) is counter productive to flying hangs/paras as a whole (IMHO). The Association carries more clout with numbers in how it can represent us all. The USHPA may not represent particular individuals (per their thoughts/feelings) but it does represent our sports directly and indirectly in matters where it is dang hard to do individually. There are benefits to that representation that we can easily take for granted ..... so, warts and all, I take some pride in renewing my USHPA membership.
User avatar
By mtpilot
#401809
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.
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. Currently the only vote we have is our feet. This is evident in the falling numbers of HG members,
down to 2700. USHPA could be way more efficent, drop the magazine and related costs or make subscription optional
to the few who want it. It's not the 150$ it's how it gets spent. We could use the money to lease/purchase sites as is
common in other sports. At some point USHPA needs to respond, hopefully before more leave.
User avatar
By NMERider
#401813
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.
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. Currently the only vote we have is our feet. This is evident in the falling numbers of HG members,
down to 2700. USHPA could be way more efficent, drop the magazine and related costs or make subscription optional
to the few who want it. It's not the 150$ it's how it gets spent. We could use the money to lease/purchase sites as is
common in other sports. At some point USHPA needs to respond, hopefully before more leave.
We are stuck with the RRG because no one will sell USHPA liability insurance. We lost our outside liability coverage due to the negligence of a handful of HG and PG pilots over the previous years. Not only were these pilots negligent but many of them had absolutely no consideration for the impact their failures would have on either their victims or USHPA as a whole.

I have personally known a lot of negligent pilots since 1973 when I got started in this sport. Many of them are now dead. Many more are crippled for life. At least one triggered a liability insurance claim. Some have caused mid-air collisions that destroyed all the gliders involved but did not trigger liability insurance claims thanks to the diligence of Mark Forbes who created the USHPA liability waiver. Thank you Mark! I know others whose negligence was a direct contributing factor to the fatal accidents of others. Again, there were no liability claims made on these.

It's when each of us places third parties at needless risk of harm that we as an organization are placing our future at risk and putting a financial strain on the entire organization and so we wound up with the RRRG. If it wasn't for personal negligence all of our liability insurance costs would go down and not just in hang gliding. Every aspect of life.

If pilots weren't negligent they'd have far fewer accidents that injure just themselves. From a purely selfish standpoint it's in every pilot's interest to be vigilant for his or her own negligence but their peers as well. Much of what you are lamenting can be traced back to failure of individual responsibility. Too much of what's gone wrong with the sport of hang gliding started at the individual level.

Be a good friend to your peers and help them have fun while keeping reasonably safe. Be a good ambassador on behalf of the sport. Be a tactful diplomat when engaging your peers or landowners or authorities. Be welcoming of newcomers and show them a good example.

The population of HG pilots has shrunk due to attrition and much of this is due to aging. We are an aging population and pilots keeping dropping off the active list faster than pilots are joining or returning. There are vastly more recreational activities for HG to compete against today than there were in 1973 when I started. Other sports have suffered a similar decline during the past 45 years as well. We're not the only ones.

Get out there and be a cheerleader for the sport. :thumbsup: :mosh:
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401817
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.

And finally.....
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.

MGF

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.
User avatar
By magentabluesky
#401846
mgforbes wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:17 pm
The regulations are voluntary; you don't have to belong to USHPA to fly a hang glider.
The USHPA is not a regulatory agency and does not have regulations. The USHPA has bylaws and sop’s. Yes, membership in the USHPA is voluntary. The only regulatory agency in the United States with regard to airspace and licensing of airmen is the FAA. The regulations by FAA are manditory, Title 14, Part 103.

Law vs. Bylaw
mgforbes wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:17 pm
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?
For one, there are no commercial interests in Hang Gliding by definition. Part 103 flying is defined by the FAA as sport and recreation. There may be some in the Hang Gliding community who would like to promote the commercialism of Hang Gliding in an attempt into making it something it just is not by definition. By rule of Federal Law Commercial Hang Gliding does not exist in the United States.

What the remote Montana Hang Glider Pilot is going to get by those seeking to commercialize hang gliding is a revision of Part 103 making his flying more complicated and restrictive. It will be the same for the vast majority of the Southern California Pilots (populous areas) who follow the letter and intent of Part 103 without exemptions. They just walk off the mountain solo.

Property Liability protection for recreational users should be celebrated as an added protection in not having to use our liability insurance. The USHPA should be promoting those laws minimizing the need for additional insurance.

Michael Grisham
By blindrodie
#401857
If we could get the streaming thing working and had the video available to members for awhile, would that meet your goals? (No change in minutes, but members could watch the video for X months)?
I do this for a living. If USHPA will cover my travel and meals (I'll go by bus if asked) I will bring the gear to live stream on USHPA's Facebook page. If possible I can try to get permission from my employer to use their server to stream so that anyone in the world could watch. I will do this for CHEAP. I will not charge for the gear or my time. Not looking for anything other then transparency for the members. The audio portion alone will be tough to get on the air but it is also possible to do live streaming audio.

Let me know...

8)
User avatar
By red
#401858
blindrodie wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:11 am
If we could get the streaming thing working and had the video available to members for awhile, would that meet your goals? (No change in minutes, but members could watch the video for X months)?
I do this for a living. If USHPA will cover my travel and meals (I'll go by bus if asked) I will bring the gear to live stream on USHPA's Facebook page. If possible I can try to get permission from my employer to use their server to stream so that anyone in the world could watch. I will do this for CHEAP. I will not charge for the gear or my time. Not looking for anything other then transparency for the members. The audio portion alone will be tough to get on the air but it is also possible to do live streaming audio. Let me know... 8)
Blindrodie,

You forgot to read my answer to that bogus "streaming video" proposal. Nobody has time to watch "ten hours" (according to AlC) of streaming video, especially on Facebook (which many here will NOT use anyway). Audio only would be useless, if votes are taken by a show of hands. Paper and pencil ballots would work just fine. A video of a "show of hands" vote would work, too. The problem here is simple:
The BOD does NOT want people to know how RDs are voting. The membership may not like what they see, and start electing RDs who vote in the interests of their region, instead of unknown Special Interests.

Thank you for your generous offer, though.
User avatar
By Underdog
#401863
magentabluesky wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:02 pm
mgforbes wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:17 pm
The regulations are voluntary; you don't have to belong to USHPA to fly a hang glider.
The USHPA is not a regulatory agency and does not have regulations. The USHPA has bylaws and sop’s. Yes, membership in the USHPA is voluntary. The only regulatory agency in the United States with regard to airspace and licensing of airmen is the FAA. The regulations by FAA are manditory, Title 14, Part 103.

Law vs. Bylaw
mgforbes wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:17 pm
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?
For one, there are no commercial interests in Hang Gliding by definition. Part 103 flying is defined by the FAA as sport and recreation. There may be some in the Hang Gliding community who would like to promote the commercialism of Hang Gliding in an attempt into making it something it just is not by definition. By rule of Federal Law Commercial Hang Gliding does not exist in the United States.

What the remote Montana Hang Glider Pilot is going to get by those seeking to commercialize hang gliding is a revision of Part 103 making his flying more complicated and restrictive. It will be the same for the vast majority of the Southern California Pilots (populous areas) who follow the letter and intent of Part 103 without exemptions. They just walk off the mountain solo.

Property Liability protection for recreational users should be celebrated as an added protection in not having to use our liability insurance. The USHPA should be promoting those laws minimizing the need for additional insurance.

Michael Grisham
Thanks M. Grisham excellent point
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