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I was successful in getting the word out that Point of the Mountain Flight Park in Utah is *NOT* under any form of club control, and is in fact; PUBLIC. Recently I heard the rumor that there was an exclusive agreement with the local Water District for use of the Emergency Landing Zone, and that club membership and waiver were required otherwise you are "trespassing". After only a few phone calls I received documentation and a statement:


Thanks for your call today. Attached is a copy of the paraglider easement. You will note it is a non-exclusive easement for public use. No entity should be collecting a fee for use of this easement. I have yet to contact Salt Lake County, but will be in touch with you after I do.


Ammon Allen, P.E.
Engineering Supervisor"

I am just curious why people are so eager to believe these club requirements. How is it that people in a sport which advertises freedom is so eager to accept the rumored regulations of others?
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Thank you Logan! This document says it all. There can be no legitimate argument against it being "open to the public" by anyone wishing to control who gets to fly and who doesn't.

Kudos to you for looking into this and not just buying in to what local control types were telling everybody.

We need more of this! 8)

"In other words, the USHPA can only punish rules infractions by rescinding rights, privileges or ratings which the Ass. itself grants."

This is largely my point. Though, in Utah I haven't seen evidence of *ANY* club control or influence on any flight property; yet rumors continue that they have exclusive rights to public lands. The fact that the rumors and warnings are reaching me makes me wonder how common it is for clubs to just make up lies in order to gain members and collect fees. How many people give money to USHPA or other clubs simply because they believe they are obligated to? How many people actually *VERIFY* land use requirements?
There is a way the club can exert control over nonmembers. That is when a flight school does control a site through being a concessionaire at a public site. A perfect example is Dockweiler Beach, CA. The state owns it but has given control to LA County. The county in turn has issued a concessionaire permit to a flight school which operates 5 days per week and controls all flying at the site on those days.

A "persona non grata", who could not join USHPA, even on a 30 day membership, was flying there and USHPA told the flight school that their insurance would be invalid if any nonmember was allowed to fly. The county required the school to have insurance at all times. The flight school had no other choice than to tell any non members that they could no longer fly the public site (there are some who, for personal reasons, choose not to coin USHPA, so they were excluded also).

Since USHPA only controlled the site through providing the flight school's insurance the "persona non grata" and several others worked with the county to get the site open to the public (with an approved waiver) on the two days per week that the school is closed. USHPA had no control through the concessionaire over those two days since the school wasn't operating then. If the school decided to operate 7 days per week all non members would be excluded from flying the public beach site. They could watch the wind surfers who don't need any permission, or insurance, to launch from the beach on any day of the week. :?

Having put hundreds if not thousands of sailing hours in on sailboards (or windsurfers if you like that brand), and sailing/jumping/rocketing alongside other sailboarders on the sounds and ocean, I can assure you that there is not much (none?) liability associated with sailboards, other than very slight personal equipment damage resulting from board-on-board contact. So it would be a reasonable bet that sailboarders or their families would not be bringing charges against the park owners.
We all know full well that the public opinion of HG is that it appears to be an extreme sport that is likely fraught with liability issues. It would be very hard to hang sailboarders with that label, nor any other non-flying activity likely taking place on the beach.

Lawyers. Oh, what we could accomplish in the absence of their existence!
"USHPA told the flight school that their insurance would be invalid if any nonmember was allowed to fly." Sucks to be them?

I am a self-insured non-member (I am actually a member of 4 flight clubs, just not USHPA). How is it that a deficiency in USHPA insurance allows them to deny me access to a public space? Do you have a copy of their concession permit? What (if anything) is keeping the weekend pilots from flying during business hours other than USHPA say-so?
Under their concession permit the flight school is required, by the County dept of Beaches and Harbors, to have insurance . USHPA insurance is the only "game in town" therefore they call the shots. Until we were talking with the dept of B&H they hadn't realized that the school only had one choice for insurance.

When USHPA tells the flight school that their insurance is invalid if anyone flies who is not a member, the school would be in noncompliance with their concession permit for operating without insurance during the non member's flight. It's as simple as that (unfortunately).

Why do we care if the school is in noncompliance? Perhaps they should fix their business model. Is there any legal reason why an independent pilot can't fly their public land while the school is operating, other than the fact that the school's business model doesn't support it?

Seriously; we pay taxes to keep the public areas open, yet we are supposed to *NOT* fly our public land unless we pay money to a private club, so that a school can charge us money to use the property that we already paid for. I am not ok with this, why is anyone else?

Also, why do so many people *VOLUNTEER* to be excluded from their public lands?

We have the exact same situation in Utah. Utah DNR requires insurance for commercial activity at the Point of The Mountain. I fly as a non-USHPA member. Should I start calling Utah DNR for the instructors violating the requirements? Or could we perhaps learn to get along?
In general I feel USHPA and the lawyers are killing the sport of hang gliding. It use to be friendly, now
it's an expensive hassle with all the self imposed layers of insurance, regulations, and pecking orders.
I see instructors quitting. Hang gliding is dangerous, and some intelligent insurance is desirable but I
don't see this in the RRG, so many of us are frustrated. No, I don't think any club can controll public space
unless it is an exclusive lease.,
Well it's not the schools business model. I'm sure the school would like it to be a different model but the county controls the site and they require the school to sign in any pilot who flies during the days the school is open and according to USHPA those pilots have to be members for the insurance the county requires. We tried to get the county to let us fly on those days but before the school opens and after the school closes. Their official reply was that the public wouldn't be able to distinguish between an accident when the school was operating and when it was not, on the days its normally operating. Of course this is a ridiculous reason, but that's government for you. :(

We ultimately hope we can convince the county to open a portion of the site for public use on all days and give the school a portion for their use. It's a long slow process to get a government agency to change the rules they write. It's always easier for them to stick with the existing situation. There has to be enough pressure applied to get change and this historic hang gliding site doesn't have enough of that yet. That's where a local site club can round up enough pressure to effect change or save a site. That's a good reason to join local clubs even when they don't control a site's flying. However, a lot of those local clubs also require membership in USHPA, which shuts out those who for whatever reason can't, or don't, want to join the national org.


You said "
the county controls the site and they require the school to sign in any pilot who flies during the days the school is open"

A few things. This is a school requirement, we still haven't addressed the question about what is keeping a pilot from simply flying.

Second, if the county requirement is that the school sign in all pilots, and they refuse to sign in non-member pilots; this is still school non-compliance.

Do you have a copy of any law which would prevent an independent pilot from enjoying their public space at Dockweiler?
Of course we have talked with the county about the fact that the school will only sign in USHPA members or those who buy a 30 day membership. That is what got the county to let us fly on the days the school was closed. A compromise in their view. There has been some consideration of protest flights, by non members when the school is operating, but as far as i know nobody has done that. The county lifeguards are the law enforcement and the school can call them to remove someone flying against the rules which originate with the requirement for insurance, which all concessionaires need.

I realize you are only getting a quick glimpse of the situation and may not fully be aware of the talks and actions that have been going on with this. We have pointed to other beaches, where surfing schools operate as concessionaires and yet
the surfing public can use it at the same time without signing in with the concessionaire. The county's reply to this: "Those are not county beaches". :( The time for pushing for change is when the school's concessionaire permit comes up for renewal. Until then, the county has made it abundantly clear is not interested in making any changes in the existing contract with the school.

This is an ongoing effort toward the ultimate goal of getting at least part of the site open 365 days / yr to the hang gliding public without any private club membership requirement.


BTW - There is some loyalty and/or friendship with the schools personnel by most of us, because if it wasn't for the long 16 year effort by the school's original owner, the site would still be closed to all hang gliding as it was for 16 years before that. So, we are hoping for compromises that will satisfy all involved.
Do you need help with a FOIA request for the concession permit? Their choice to get cheaper insurance through a private club; and only serve club members, means that the school is a private club and not a business. I still haven't seen or heard anything which would require non club members to give up their right to public land to ensure that the club/school can continue to operate.

Though, good will is a different issue. I would still be interested in seeing the documents. Thanks.

Also also. It seems to me that with so many USHPA "requiremens" revolving around insurance, and how crappy USHPA insurance is. There is a need to find a better carrier, not prop up a shitty club.
Last edited by LoganR on Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Frank. Point blank; under what law would an independent pilot be arrested for flying their public land at Dockweiler? I am not asking about interpretation, assumption, or good faith effort to try to allow a school to exist.

As to the good faith in allowing as many people as possible to fly; that is why we need good faith on all sides. Flight clubs ought to advocate, not unnecessary restrict, and insurance which is actually insurance. Everything I have seen and heard recently is that USHPA and most of these flight schools could be brought down by independent pilots lawfully flying their public land; yet USHPA acts like they have some form of legal authority over all pilots.
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