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User avatar
By entelin
#401555
http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/si ... .13.13.pdf

I'm sure many are aware of this kind of thing, and I assume similar laws exist in other states. MN has a law described in the pdf above that grants owners of property liability protection if they permit land use without charging a fee. Outside of ushpa's insurance efforts, and individual site efforts, if your state doesn't have such a law, getting a like minded group together to push for one could help open / reopen / and maintain existing sites in areas. It can be surprising what a small political action group can do, members of other sports would have an interest as well.
User avatar
By NMERider
#401557
entelin wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:27 pm
http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/si ... .13.13.pdf

I'm sure many are aware of this kind of thing, and I assume similar laws exist in other states. MN has a law described in the pdf above that grants owners of property liability protection if they permit land use without charging a fee. Outside of ushpa's insurance efforts, and individual site efforts, if your state doesn't have such a law, getting a like minded group together to push for one could help open / reopen / and maintain existing sites in areas. It can be surprising what a small political action group can do, members of other sports would have an interest as well.
All 50 states have recreational use laws: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/state-co ... ional-use/ This topic has been discussed here and on a host of other forums at great length. There is a con artist who goes around trying to delude unsuspecting pilots that all you need is to wave this statute in a land ownwer's face and there's no need for third party liability insurance, etc. This is a lie.

It's still up to each and every land owner whether or not to grant permission to use their land or require liability coverage or tell us "No" altogether. It starts and ends with diplomacy and respect for people's property rights. It takes a lot of work to keep sites open or to establish relationships with land owners or governing agencies.

Good luck on your work in site development in MN!
User avatar
By entelin
#401561
I guess it just depends on what property damage could conceivably be caused. Launch sites and LZ's may have something at stake if there are structures there, but no pilot is protected anyway right? If I damage something while landing on someones property I'm liable for that regardless of if I'm a USHPA member or not, correct? I assumed USHPA would come into play if a land owner was being sued by a pilot or family? What would it take for that to even happen?

note: I'm not being critical of ushpa here, nor was I intending to suggest that in the OP, I assume they know what they are doing.
User avatar
By mtpilot
#401562
Apparently people file lawsuits anyway and the courts do not uphold the law by dismissing such cases. So we wind up
with a flying pig called site insurance. Government entities own most of the sites so I am dumbfounded why we should
provide legal assistance for them contrary to the law.
User avatar
By NMERider
#401563
entelin wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:03 pm
I guess it just depends on what property damage could conceivably be caused. Launch sites and LZ's may have something at stake if there are structures there, but no pilot is protected anyway right? If I damage something while landing on someones property I'm liable for that regardless of if I'm a USHPA member or not, correct? I assumed USHPA would come into play if a land owner was being sued by a pilot or family? What would it take for that to even happen?

note: I'm not being critical of ushpa here, nor was I intending to suggest that in the OP, I assume they know what they are doing.
The recreational use laws are mainly for third party liability situations. Let's say I give the local clubs permission to fly PG and HG on my hill and land on my farm. Then one day an HG and PG mid-air and fall on some spectators. Maybe the PG and HG have waived their rights to make a claim but the spectators haven't and decide to demand damages from both pilots and from me, the land owner. The claims against the pilots will probably stick but any claims against me shouldn't. But if I have assets, the lawyers will try to harass me into paying just to make them go away. This means I need to fight it in court and claim the recreational use laws protect me. But what if I never gave those spectators permission to use my land and they were curious when they saw the gliders and trespassed onto my land? That may be deemed an attractive nuisance and now I have to fight it. It can get messy quick. Landowners have to deal with hunting, hiking, biking and other accidents and injury to third parties such as when a stray bullet injuries and hiker or a bikers strikes and injures someone else who has permission to use my land. It's a tough call.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401569
NME has it right. The law provides a potent tool for defense, but it's still just a TOOL. You need to wield that tool in court, and the guy you hire to do that (a lawyer) does not come cheap. The USHPA waiver is another such tool, and it's one which has a much more expansive release of claims than the state law, as well as featuring a reduced statute of limitations for filing a claim. But again, it's just a tool. You still have to "lawyer up" and defend in court.

Even a straightforward defense that results in a summary judgment dismissal early is going to run you about $20,000 in legal fees. It doesn't matter whether that defense is based on the state's recreational use law, or the USHPA waiver. Either way there's going to be a legal bill to pay, and little chance of recovering defense costs from the plaintiff. (Who's probably filing suit because they don't have the money to pay their own bills.)

USHPA "site insurance" protects the landowner by paying for the defense of claims against that landowner as a result of their granting us use of their property for flying. As in the instance cited above, or where a spectator gets hurt and sues not only the pilot but also the landowner, or if a pilot crashes into an irrigation pipe or steps in a gopher hole and sues in violation of their signed waiver.

MGF
User avatar
By SlopeSkimmer
#401574
You guys are getting closer. Keep thinking outside the box. I am saving a ton of money for my hang gliding school by not giving another dime to PASA, RRRG and USHPA extortionists.

I have about 20 USHPA 30 day waivers if anyone wants them, I have no use for them. I fly all my tandems at Ed Levin Park under FAA part 103 rules with private insurance.
User avatar
By entelin
#401575
law sucks, I'm more than happy to pay ushpa to deal with this for me :/

It's really bs that in the US the rich can just bankrupt you if they want via frivolous lawsuits.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401577
entelin wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:14 am
Mark / NME, could you give an example of the kind of situation where a pilot's own USHPA coverage would come into play?
Sure. We've had a variety of such cases.

Some years ago, a pilot's glider got caught in a dust devil on launch. He was hanging on, trying to keep it from blowing away and a spectator ran up to help. As the glider spun around the leading edge caught the spectator and flung him quite a ways, resulting in multiple internal injuries and broken bones. USHPA's insurance paid a significant settlement on that claim, citing the pilot's and club's failure to properly segregate the spectators away from the launch area. (And now you know why we're making such a fuss about that in risk management plans!)

A pilot clipped a power line on approach and dropped it, fortunately not getting badly hurt in the ensuing crash. Un-fortunately the sparking wire started a small brush fire, which fortunately was put out before it turned into a big one. The power company wanted reimbursement for the line and pole repairs, and for lost profits related to the outage.

A pilot was blown back into power lines behind launch, shorting the high voltage upper lines to a low voltage feeder supplying several houses and a church. A resident described the result as "flames shooting out of the outlets". Luckily none of the buildings caught fire, but much of the electrical infrastructure and devices plugged into outlets had to be replaced at a cost of many thousands of dollars.

A pilot crashed into a house and damaged the roof severely, requiring major work to repair it. A pilot crashed and died on approach into a cross-country field, and his estate was sued for damages by a witness who claimed emotional distress from seeing the accident. A pilot crashed into power lines which started a fire and burned down a sugar cane processing plant. Various pilots have crashed into or been blown back into parked vehicles.

These are just a few, varied examples. There are lots of other ones. Things happen....that's why we have insurance. In many of these cases, if the pilot wasn't insured and financially responsible, the damaged parties would be looking around for someone else to pay the bills. Maybe USHPA as the body which rates pilots, maybe a landowner permitting use of property, or a manufacturer of equipment used for flying. The fact that USHPA member pilots are insured and therefore able to take responsibility for damage they may do, means that legitimate claims for that damage don't spill over onto other people....like landowners, who by definition have an asset that could be attacked.

MGF
User avatar
By entelin
#401578
mgforbes wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:44 am
A pilot crashed and died on approach into a cross-country field, and his estate was sued for damages by a witness who claimed emotional distress from seeing the accident.
*wow*, was that successful? Did she sue the land he landed on? Or the pilots estate? Either way that's one of the most horrible & selfish things imaginable. If that could be successful, how could the family not sue her for emotional distress? I mean.. people die, people see people die, it's unfortunate but basically normal. This reminds me of that church protesting at a gay soldiers funeral.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401584
The dead pilot's estate was sued, and the witness was one of the landowners. It was an interesting confluence of several different bits of law converging on a theory of damage.

State law said that a third party injured by an accident involving other people can recover for damages sustained. Imagine, for example, that you're standing on a street corner minding your own business when two vehicles crash into each other. The bumper of one vehicle comes flying off and hits you, breaking your legs. Insurance company A says "Hey, not our problem. Talk to the other guy's insurer...it was his bumper." Insurance company B says "It was the other guy's fault, our insured was driving with the green light when he got hit." From your perspective, all you want is for these two to pay for the surgery and recovery so you can walk again. The insurers each say that you're not one of their insureds, and you weren't a direct party to the accident, so they don't owe you anything. State law fixed that problem.

Another state law said that damage is not limited to actual physical injury, but can include emotional trauma as well. So if you combine these two, you come up with a scenario where a witness claims to be so traumatized by seeing an accident happen that they're scarred for life and unable to engage in the normal enjoyments they previously did, and therefore are deserving of compensation for their "injury". Ok, it's lawyer gymnastics, but that's the world we live in.

We fought it, and it was eventually dismissed, but not before some significant legal bills were paid. Had USHPA's insurance not been in place, that pilot's estate and his heirs might have spent everything they had to fight it, or would have lost it all to this ridiculous claim. You do NOT have the option of ignoring these things; if you do, the court issues a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff and you lose. You must defend, and the baseline cost starts around $20K. This one cost a lot more than that to defend.

It's an interesting world we live in....
MGF
User avatar
By Underdog
#401594
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.
User avatar
By SlopeSkimmer
#401598
Underdog wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:22 pm
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.
Great question. IMO, the ushpa uses their insurance policy as a way to control the pilots the sites and now the instructors. If you ask me, we probably don't need insurance at any of the sites operated on public land. The ushpa cool-aide drinkers pitch the insurance to OUR public parks so they can remain in control of the great hang gliding cash cow. One could, and may soon argue that if the public parks require the hang gliding pilots to be insured they would have to require the mountain bikers, the kayakers and the volley ball players to carry insurance as well. If not, why are the hang glider pilots being discriminated against?

This all done to keep the endless flow of money to the ushpa run by a small group of criminal extortionists.

Can someone tell me how many pages of rules and regulations the ushpa uses to control the evil pilot members? I know the FAA regulations regarding hang gliding are less than 2 pages.
User avatar
By Underdog
#401603
No conspiracy theories here,,just some bad decisions from USHPA,
Time for a complete overhaul

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.
User avatar
By red
#401606
Underdog wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:20 pm
No conspiracy theories here,,just some bad decisions from USHPA, Time for a complete overhaul
Mission Statement
The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) will pursue its mission through:
. . .
Communication. Internally, the organization will cultivate a culture of communication and transparency.
. . .
Campers,

I believe USHPA has totally and intentionally FAILED in regards to transparency. I wanted a voting record from each RD posted. We were told (summarized):
"Recording RD votes would slow things down in the meetings."
Then use electronic voting, that won't slow anything down.
"No electronic voting. Too complex."
Then just put up a video camera, to record RD votes by a show of hands at the meetings. We can sort out the RD votes recorded later, after the meeting, for the Minutes. That won't slow anything down in the meetings.
"No video cameras or any recordings will be permitted at the meetings."
Why not? I want to see how my RD votes.
"Just ask the RD yourself." <-completely side-stepping the question of "Why Not?"
An RD agreed with me, face-to-face, and told me that he had voted against the no-recording measure.
A spectator-member attending that meeting has told me, the vote for no-recording of RD voting was unanimous. There would be no recording of RD votes, just a fast count.
How do I know if I want to keep or replace my RD, if we can not know how they vote on issues? I do not need lies.
This entire argument was a direct and intentional violation of transparency.

If at any time USHPA wants to help to restore the faith of its' members, the BOD is welcome (and encouraged) to reverse this behind-closed-doors policy and post the voting records of the RDs. Most members are not able to attend USHPA meetings personally.
User avatar
By AlC
#401609
Recording Votes = red herring (at least for the past 4 years).

Most votes are unanimous. The ones that aren't, the dissenters and abstentions are asked if they want their votes recorded. Almost always do in my experience. I just went back through the last 3 sets of minutes. There were several named abstentions, two instances of unnamed abstentions, and many, many motions carried unanimously.

Look at the minutes (they are available on the website to all members). If your RD was present and isn't listed otherwise, they voted with the majority.

Alan

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