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By Underdog
Spring 2018 USHPA BOD Meeting Notes

Calef Letorney


Disclaimer: The following is chalked full of my own opinions, observations, theories, biases, and is 100% based on my recollections of the events. There has been no effort to fact check (or spellz check) this document. This is not official USHPA communication.

Executive Summary:

We had another successful USHPA meeting. I continue to be impressed by how many really intelligent, hard working volunteers we have in our organization. Many of these guys have been with USHPA for decades. We also have a really strong crew of new directors. If you have any questions or concerns about what is going on at USHPA I suggest you reach out with questions. Better yet, get involved! USHPA meetings are open and members are encouraged to participate in the meetings; indeed the many members from all over the country really added a nice perspective to several key issues.

In the last year USHPA has implemented a policy of warning membership of SOP changes and allowing for a 30-day comment period before making any SOP changes. As such, this meeting we spent a bit more time than usual putting the final approval on old business.

Some of the important new business that sticks out in my mind is the discussions of national trends, our new information technology infrastructure, the finances, and the proposal to restructure USHPA’s board.

National trends- We continue to see HG on a sharp decline. A group of concerned folks from across all ends of Hang Gliding met on 8AM Thursday to discuss the problem. [Unfortunately I was not able to attend, as I was busy with a special review board for an instructor revocation.] With a large number of HG pilots set to “age out” in the next 10 years and few young pilots coming in, the situation appears to be only getting more dire. It is noteworthy that the USA is one of the last holdouts for Hang gliding, with other parts of the world having already seen the HG population collapse; we are facing a global trend. This is troubling, as organisms that do not replicate will die. We must work together to create new HG pilots. I am keen to hear ideas, especially if folks want to help make them a reality… Like college HG clubs?! Who wants to start a HG (or PG!) college club? If there are aeronautical engineering programs or college flight clubs, there are potential future HG pilots. This is the kind of project you might be able to get a FFF grant to help fund.

Regardless of the number of pilots, we must keep the sites open for the remaining hang gliders. Open HG sites can server as a “field of dreams” to facilitate a future HG resurgence. This is perfectly in-line with USHPA’s mission “to ensure the future of free flight.” USHPA is only able to maintain our current strength due to paragliding members. Unfortunately paragliding membership is not growing nearly as fast as it once. With the steady decline of HG, USHPA is currently at the lowest membership levels since 1992.

The same way embracing PG saved the United States Hang Gliding Association, I think we have the opportunity to embrace the next evolution of free flight- mini wings. With mini-wing popularity exploding in the Western USA (and globally), clearly mini-PG is the next big thing in foot-launched free flight. Unfortunately, some have observed that paragliders are now talking about mini wing pilots as HG once discussed PG way back in the day… “They are rebels who don’t follow site rules or get proper permission. They are dangerous, both self taught without learning the basics and they like to fly too close to the terrain without keeping safety margins.” And while there might be truth to some of that sentiment, if that’s the message we give to the new generation of mini-wing pilots, it’s no wonder that this new breed of pilots is not exactly flocking to USHPA. It seems to me USHPA should be working on how to welcome new mini-wings pilots into USHPA, giving these pilots a reason to join.

The work of fine tuning and articulating the “value proposition,” should not just be limited to the mini-wing pilots. After the meeting I went to North Boulder to hike the training hill site I learned at. There I met a handful of pilots who wasted no time in asking me, “so why should we even bother being USHPA members?” A fine question. My answer is:

1. Site insurance, without which many sites would not exist.

2. 3rd party liability insurance. Not infrequently, pilots fly into and damage all manner of things. $150/YR for liability insurance is a bargain.

3. Pilot Proficiency system. This fundamentally organizes our flying sites to help keep us safe. Without it, surely we would regularly have novice pilots huck themselves into advanced conditions.

4. Experticity Pro Deals. Get up to 70% off on everything from camping gear to skis if you are an intermediate or better rated pilot! To sign up, just send Nick Greece an email~ nick.greece@ushpa.aero

5. Magazine. It’s a good read.

6. National advocacy. Did you know USHPA’s constantly lobbies for its members on government issues from land use to import tariffs? USHPA interfaces with the FAA, coordinates with drone manufacturers so operators receive automatic warnings when approaching USHPA sites… USHPA does all sorts of good stuff on our behalf.

7. Tandem Exemption. USHPA’s exemption to FAR Part 103 enables tandem flight, which is enjoyed by many!

As members, we can all benefit the organization by acting as “evangelists,” spreading the good word of USHPA membership.

We are far from over the loss of insurance that rocked our instructor population. We must never forget it is the instructors who create the new pilots that are the lifeblood of our organization. It’s no exaggeration to say that I signed up for the job of Regional Director so I could work on this issue. I think much of the membership still experiences some serious hardship, misunderstanding, and frustration around this issue. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. Unfortunately, after my third meeting at USHPA, I am left feeling like USHPA is talking about everything except how to continually manage this crisis. It feels like the job of fine-tuning the insurance environment for USHPA instructors has been delegated to PASA and the RRRG… And they are working hard, but I think USHPA should continue to have a (larger) voice in this conversation.

The new insurance reality has clearly accounted for the negative externalities of instruction, making instructors pay for the issues created by their work… but I think we have not properly factored in the positive externality of instruction, that is to say instructors create the new members that are the lifeblood of our org. Economics suggest that when positive externalities are present, the market will not reach an efficient quantity on it’s own, but with subsidies (from USHPA) we can reached the desired amount. In other words, USHPA should shoulder a little of the cost in making new members in order to get more new members. I suppose it is up to like-minded folks to force this conversation within USHPA and fight for a better deal for our instructors.

New technology- USHPA’s office had been hard at work transitioning to new technology platform, iMIS. We implemented iMIS, on Feb 9th. It seems to have gone really well and by all accounts the Program Manager Julie Spiegler did an amazing job. The new software is already a good bit more efficient and there are tons of new features USHPA will soon integrate to further increase efficiency and functionality. This is exciting because when the office spends less time administrating the membership, there is more free time for all of the other tasks that benefit membership. Also, our last crack at this IT project turned out to be a waste of big $ without yielding benefits… so it’s AWESOME that this time around we can celebrate a win and realize the benefits of the new system. When you consider the dismal success rate of similar projects and that Fortune 500 companies have been brought down by botched IT projects, the importance of this success cannot be over-stated. Well done Julie and team!

Finances- Not great. We were ahead of 2017 budgets, but 2018 budget includes a pretty large deficit. See the details below. I continue to be uneasy about our financial position, especially considering the state of HG and what I understand to be a strained relationship with instructors and much of our membership.

Strategic planning- One of the most important (and divisive!) topics we discussed was the work of the Strategic Planning committee to explore restructuring USHPA’s governance. James Bradley’s committee studied issue and concluded that there would be significant benefits of efficiency and expediency if USHPA moved from 27 members (mostly chosen from different regions) to 7 members selected nationally with a keen eye to the specific talents each member brings to the BOD (like treasurer, secretary, communications, etc.) The idea of this proposal is to better use volunteer time and to improve the organization’s ability to respond to the next crisis. This proposal creates a governance structure similar to the national bodies in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, etc. and most corporations. There is a reason that it is rare to find an organization or business with 27 members on the board like USHPA. This proposal is discussed in detail later. Suffice to say, the Board had 3 separate meetings on the proposal during our 3-day meeting. James did an excellent job of guiding the process. At the end of the last day we concluded with a hearty debate on this subject. There was a motion to put the proposed changes to a binding membership vote that would change the by-laws and pave the way for implementing the new BOD structure. I had several concerns, but also saw the benefits of the proposal. Not wanting to support a proposal that gave me concern, but also not wanting to needlessly get in the way of progress for what could be my own irrational fear, I opted to abstain from this vote. It ended in a tie. After more debate we voted 16-6 to solicit member feedback on the topic before reconsidering how to proceed. If you care about this topic, keep an eye out for forthcoming information or please contact me.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for your evolvement. And thanks for being an USHPA member. Please do not hesitate to share this information or contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Calef Letorney

USHPA Director Region 8



Detailed Notes:

SRB Thursday 8AM- 12PM: I served on a Special Review Board for an instructor revocation appeal. Revocations are a very time consuming. I put 15 hours into this revocation before the meeting, and over 40 hours this past month for a different revocation. USHPA does everything possible to work with members and instructors to correct issues and avoid revocations. This was truly a tragic situation.

New Instructor training Thursday 2PM: Not much to be said.

New Technology, Thursday 3PM: Director training on new technology called iMIS, which we launched Feb 9th. This is a hosted “software as a service” platform that is “best of breed” in organization and membership management. While it was time consuming to configure and customize the software… lots of details, for example the special relationships in our rating structure, like how you can only be an instructor if you are a Rogallo member. There are many, many such dependencies and details. The team did an amazing job. We also have many peripheral pages still to get online. The staff is working hard to identify the gaps and get them onto the new system in a timely manner. We were given a demonstration of the “communities” features in iMIS, which is a way for content and conversations to be shared in different groups. Each club could get it’s own chapter page and chapter officers or directors will be able to manage their own communities.

I asked if USHPA now has a way to list chapters (clubs) in the appropriate state. I was told “not yet”. A member first raised this problem to my attention… The issue is the Vermont Hang Gliding Association is only found under NH (Mike Holmes’ home address) when you look on USHPA’s website. Yes, this could be fixed by registering the VHGA to a VT address (perhaps PO box? The change can only come from VHGA President Mike Holmes). Unfortunately there is no “easy” fix that would list NEPHC in all the New England states. I think USHPA should figure out how to list clubs regardless of the mailing address, so members can find clubs easier.

Our accident reporting system AIRS is still on the old servers, not yet migrated. NTNS system not yet migrated. We are looking for a new webhosting environment to house the systems that are not in iMIS.

Focus group on saving HG, 4pm: We got a recap from a group that met for a few days to work on this problem. James Bradley facilitated the conversation (he is good at that) and Bruce Weaver helped lead it. The group recognized many hurtles for HG, such as accessibility, exposer, ease of entry, and non-inclusive culture. Recognized that members are “aging out.” The group focused on figuring out how to replenish the pilots that are getting older… not much new blood is coming in and that is a major problem. They spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve this. Also, they discussed how to keep new members, as a lot of H2 drop out for lack of opportunities to advance (My company Paraglide New England focuses on P2-P4 instruction to prevent this same issue with PG. It’s hardly lucrative compared to P0-P2 instruction, but we know if novice pilots do not make the jump to soaring and become intermediate pilots integrated into the community, they frequently get frustrated and drop out). The group met with a representative from the parachuting association. They learned about how the skydivers are doing things. One thing that was way different is the skydivers don’t try to sell the sport as safe… Where HG has long tried to sell itself as safe… The feeling is that new comers are looking edgy, dangerous sports so we might as well not sugarcoat it. They discussed the “school in a box” concept to help start up new schools. They discussed creating more places to fly… Skydivers have 4 or 5 drop-zones per major metropolitan area. They recognize that HG is not nearly as accessible. They discussed trying to increase access near cities. Steve Pierce was there representing HG manufacturers. Apparently they are trying to make a new type of HG that is easier for folks to get into the sport (Better beginner flight characteristics? Perhaps it collapses smaller?). The group talked about culture and trying to create a culture of inclusion. HG is looking to emulate PG culture, because they see PG as more inclusive, which helps the population propagate. The root cause of the decline in HG membership is not fully understood, so they are going to investigate that more. The reason for calling the group together is because they realize that USHPA, PASA, and the Large Flight Schools can’t save the sport on their own. They are trying to work collectively, and make a coordinated effort to save HG. They are focused on the long term, but also the short term- schools in business right now need more people to teach. Will work on implementing targeted advertising with ad words (which we have a grant). Australia and Europe have seen a bigger drop in HG, so globally we are not doing as bad as other places, which is not encouraging.

Strategic Planning, 4:30pm - Is the USHPA BOD the right size and structure? Before we lost our insurance, “we knew we were marginal.” But we had been marginal for much entire existence… Actually the early years were reportedly pretty rough and in comparison the BOD is absolutely professional these days. But when we lost the insurance the executive committee pretty much had to take charge and get things done. There was really no other option. The big board was between meetings and with the large size it just was not feasible to conduct business between meetings. “History does not crawl, it jumps.” James feels USHPA is going to have another crisis, unpredictable, and while any one event is unlikely… with the large number of possible events it seems statistically likely that we will experience some new crisis sooner rather than later. James theorized maybe a pilot would have a negative interaction with a plane (yikes!) that prompts FAA action or something we never thought of. What if we structured ourselves to be better able to deal with crisis? Lots more discussion, but we were all asked to close computers and focus so I stopped taking notes.

Tandem, Friday 8:00

We reviewed the list of Tandem admins and discussed each to check for complaints on quality or inactivity. A work group has been created to do this more formally. We discussed a problem tandem admin, who is advertising doing acrobatics on tandem. (SOP violation that is an issue for any instructor, but we hold admins to a higher standard.) We created an “action plan” for the admin in question. Added a new HG tandem admin. Discussed limiting Admin’s abilities to give ratings to folks who may be a conflict of interest (business partners, spouse, family, etc.). We decided we did not need to make new rules. If bad instructors were getting a “pass” because of conflicts, we would deal with that situation on an individual basis (no evidence it is currently a problem). We formally approved SOP changes, which had been voted on at the last meeting, then went out to the members for feedback and received no comments. These SOP changes will be brought up before the full board during general session.

-SOP 12-13 added requirements for becoming a certified Tandem Instructor, with the intent of raising the caliber of certified Tandem Instructor.

Safety and Training, Friday 9:30

-Approved SOP changes regarding requirements for USA residency for instructors. SOP changes received minimal comments.

The following SOP changes had been put out to membership for comments and now needed further debate and approval:

-The change to SOP 12-02 would make it so that members who had let their membership lapse (expire) for more than 3 year could only be reinstated by instructors, not by observers. The concept was that if somebody has been out of the sport for a 3-year period they may need instruction or at least to be evaluated by an instructor, not just an observer. We voted 4 in favor, 8 opposed, 2 abstentions. So this proposal did not make it out of committee. I voted against it because I found it made no sense that Observers can give intermediate and advanced rating to somebody who never had one, but can not give it an experienced pilot who let membership lapse. Keep in mind the pilot may have been flying abroad or at non-USHPA sites. I opposed this as I support keeping the Observer program strong, plus I don’t want to impose new impediments to getting expired members back into the fold.

-SOP 12-02 Changed the H5 requirement to include foot launch skills (now it requires all “non launch” special skills for the Master Rating. Committee approved the changes to go to full board vote.

-SOP 12-02 increased P2 minimums to 35 flights (from 25) and 7 flying days (from 5). Committee approved changes, so now it will go to the full board for vote.

** Clarified that instructor certifications are now referred to as “certifications” no longer called “appointments”. This passed committee.

-Discussed USA / Canadian instructor certification issues. Per HPAC if you are a USA resident, you must have an USHPA instructor rating in order to have an HPAC instructor rating. The question is: Does USHPA want to require Canadian residents be HPAC instructors before they can get USHPA instructor ratings? HPAC would appreciate it if we did this.

-I volunteered to be on this committee along with Alan Crouse, Rich Hass, and Martin Palmaz. Calling the group the “CanAm Instructor group”

-Do online only CPR/First Aid courses satisfy instructor requirements? This issue has been on USHPA’s radar for a long time and we previously had some complicated language. Last year we simplified the language to just say that any course offered by Red Cross or American Heart Association counts (since at the time they only offered in-person courses), but since then those organizations have started offering “online only” courses, which are not what we want. We debated this for far too long until I offered an amendment to clarify the language by adding “current” (at time of application) and “hands on training.” Motion passed. Because this was just a clarification on the intent of previous SOP language, it does not need go out for membership comment. This item will go before the full board for a vote.

-Certified instructors must be “insurable”? If an instructor tries to get PASA/ RRRG insured but is deemed to be “uninsurable” do we want to then revoke their instructor certification? We debated this topic for a long time. PASA/RRRG do not need to give proof or reasons for rejection. USHPA has a higher standard of guilt before revocation. We kicked this around. I found lots of issues with this proposal. My main concern was that joining PASA and getting commercial insurance is optional (many instructors do not want to do this!) but if we make the policy that “uninsurable instructors” will get their instructor certifications revoked… then we are creating negative consequences and disincentive for instructors to apply for insurance. If applying for insurance meant risking your rating… well that does not help encourage people to get insurance rating. We decided not to take any action. At the same time we all (informally) agreed that USHPA should be more committed to investigation and improving issues with instructors compliance… which are the types of things that cause instructors to be “uninsurable” so we could accomplish the same means without new regulations.

-APPI and USHPA relationship

Continuing dialog with APPI.

-P1, P2 test dev.

-Working on this. In progress, does not need any BOD action

-Discussed republishing observer handbook

-Discuss restricting admin’s ability to give instructor certification to related parties (spouses, employees, etc.). We reached the same conclusion as the tandem committee.

-Create SOP defining apprentice requirements for instructors? Robust discussion. We decided not to implement new requirements (obstacles for new instructors). We will focus on reprinting and circulating the current apprentice requirements, aiming for greater compliance.

Chadd Bastine had retired, but now wants to get reinstated as Admin. We approved that.

1PM Finance / Insurance / Risk Management

-Covered the finances.

-Why is Net income come in 340% above budget in 2017? [Victor’s question]. What he saw as unaudited figures, we have yet to clear the 2017 books with a few outstanding expenses still to put in. The bigger cause is we used conservative estimates, so we ended up 107% expected revenue, expenses at 98%. 7% off on revenue budget and 2% off on expense budge. Because we had forecasted such a small net income amount, it is easy to come in 340% over.

Yes we ran ahead last year… unfortunately we budget to be behind this year! Bottom line is projected to be -$221,485! However, $100,000 is purchase of share in the RRRG, moving $100k from cash to RRRG ownership (asset). Web development is tapering off. A number of these items are 1 time extraordinary expenses that we do not expect to reoccur. Cash on hand is about $511k.

Expense = Insurance is the biggy! $625k! Last year I harped on the need to report accidents to reduce our IBNR (incurred but not reported) coefficient, which dramatically increases our rates. As counter intuitive as this is, reporting accidents helps reduce our insurance rates by helping convince the insurance actuators that we do not have a bunch of unreported accidents out there that could result in claims.

Bank and CC fees is a biggy at $37,547. We have worked to reduce this recently.

Review conflict of interest policy- We just periodically look at this as good corporate policy. No issues or need to change.

We discussed chapter insurance site fees based on additional insured. Some chapters are heavy on “additional insureds” it costs USHPA extra per additional insured, but we used to pass it on for free to the clubs even though it costs us $$.

I asked “Why is Finance in with Insurance and risk mitigation? It seems to me like we have SOOOOOO much business with insurance and risk mitigations (improving the situation for instructors!!!) that we should break Finance off into its own committee.” Folks whole heartedly agreed, but it was getting late so we switched gears to the next topic.

Strategic planning Friday 3PM

For this meeting we reviewed the new proposal. Then every person in the room (over 35 people?) took a turn to express their thoughts and concerns with the proposal. I would have taken notes, but we were asked to close our computers to help focus. I think the main concerns were…

-Loss of regional representation

-Ability for small board to move too fast on mistakes.

-Concerns about director candidate selection process

-Only works if committees improve. Perhaps we should fix committees first?

-Alienation of members who feel like they lost their connection via favorite director.

-Paralysis during change, we may not get much done during transition.

-More pressing issues than “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Despite many valid concerns, the majority of the BOD expressed some support for the proposal. Most said some version of “I think this is a good idea and we should move to a smaller board at some time in some capacity…”

RRRG BOD meeting Saturday 8AM.

Another profitable year for the Recreational Risk Reduction Group (RRRG, our insurance company that USHPA owns a majority share of)... We made $36,000 in profit (not much!) but that is after we booked $420,000 in reserves for incidents reported (which may result in a future claim) and IBNR- Incurred But Not Reported… so this is $ we get back after the statute of limitations run out. The RRRG is keeping premiums steady this year.

9:15 General Session (where the real, full board voting happens).

President’s report: By Paul Murdoch

Significant, busy year for Martin Palmaz and team. They have been working really hard to get the website going in the new iMIS system.

Disciplinary proceedings continue to take a lot of time. Would like to create a framework that is used for future revocation issues.

USHPA Will hire a communications person soon. I think this is great.

Board governance, we are going to look at the proposal to restructure the BOD.

Mini-Wing- Paul commented on the new realization that Mini-wing’s reception by USHPA is quite analogous to how the reception of PG by the HG guys so many years ago. PG are now saying all the same thing about mini wings that HG said about PG. “Dangerous, irresponsible, etc.”


Financial summary, ahead of budget by $151,052, so there are a few things going on here, but a lot of it is that the new computer system is understood as an asset, not expense, so it appears in the balance sheet, not income statement.

Membership summary- HG continues to be in a downward spiral. Membership age is a big factor as HG pilots keeps getting older. Total membership is the lowest since 1992. HG is down 17% in the last 2 years. Female participation is up, now almost 10%.

Ongoing USHPA projects Roughly listed in terms of priority.

-Depending on the vote later in the day, we may put restructuring the BOD on top of our “to do” list.

-Accident/ incident reporting system. Continued, put on pause while we transitioned to the iMIS system and we now need to integrate it into a new web-hosting environment.

-Airspace/ UAS

-Site inclusion in the National Airspace Systems Resources (NASR)

-Participation with the USA integration stakeholders

-Annual Submission of sites to DJI (major manufacturer) warning system for UAS

-UAS Symposium


-Chapter renewal process. Some chapters have given good feedback. Will solicit more feedback. New technology (iMIS) will really help and streamline. We will as start the chapter renewals process earlier next year (starting in in November) to avoid this crunch.

-Membership/ Instructor/ Admins surveys

-Newsletters and webinars for Admins, chapters, towing, instructors, and pilots

-Accident reporting trends

-Special magazine issues for May and Dec

-Want to publish a magazine column on what is going on at USHPA

-New Staff position coming up.

-iMIS now live! Flipped the switch on February 9th, 2018

-Lives in the cloud

-Provides the ability to do quite a bit more. Will take some time to build out that functionality

-Going live was a HUGE endeavor. Julie put a ton of time into it.

-We had to narrow the scope of the original project in order to make it happen in a timely manner, so we are going back to figure out what we now want to integrate. Will prioritize it and make it happen.

-Looking for new Server/ platform for AIRS and NTSS

-iMIS server. Costs $29k Annually, started in August 2017

Primary functionality is online

OLD Server has been migrated to the clouds. Will decommission in approximately in 2 months.

Technology expenses… in going to iMIS we abandoned an old partially IT completed technology project that was a money pit. Seeing as iMIS is a success, we hope to stem the bleeding on IT projects.

Instructional support

-Google AdWords has been running (since 8/2015) but a reconfiguration is required

-$200k+ / 139 clicks/ 2.9 million impressions through fall of 2017

-Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) is being introduced nationally for 2021- This will save 3% on all paraglider imports

-Online 30-day membership will soon be available to PASA schools through the RRRG- Pending.

-2017 Rebates were given to PASA approved schools for 30 day memberships they issued (cost $6, rebate is $4), total amount of rebates was $25,225

-Q4 2017 rebates still pending

Chapter Insurance review

-49 chapters issued certificates of insurance

-10 chapters pending

-7 chapters need to follow up

-22 chapters were submitted after the 1st of Feb deadline or have not submitted


-3HG and 2PG events (which strikes me as not enough)

Data Collection and analysis

-Data analysis currently occurring with info from our old systems.

-We are currently gathering rich data from our new system and analysis will begin soon.

- In May we will benchmark survey results against other NGBs (national governing body)

Outdoor alliance

Continued coordination on aligned interests

Site Development and preservation

-Continued support of chapter requests and foundation for free flight

-Boundaries redefined to exclude Williams Peak (CO) from Wilderness bill


-Air Sports organizations within the NAA

-EAA (experimental aircraft association) Partnership with MOU… sharing data and information about trends in our sport.

-AOPA See & Avoid Safety Seminar. Martin crashed it, got some speaking time and let them all know that we can travel 100s of miles and go to 18k’ which really shocked the AOPA guys. Created awareness


-EAA membership discount

-Free Flight Film Festival V. 2 available spring 2018

-Researching additional member benefits (like Experticity)

-National Fly-in / Conference

New Revenue sources

-Global rescue

-New merchandise

Staff and other resources

-IT transition really strained the USHPA office resources

-RRRG Extensive impacts on policy and processes

-Local and disciplinary issues have increased and they rare VERY labor intensive (I personally spent over 55 hours on this in the month)

-IT transition should begin to alleviate some of the time constraints on the staff. Already the new IT processes are going faster.

Nick Greece- Report


-Outside Magazine Online


-Smithsonian Channel (HG stories)

-National Geographic Adventure

New Intern –Allison

-Membership Benefits

-Web Transition

Galen Anderson – Membership Coordinator

-Chapters and member processing

-Instructor and member retentions

-Intern Coordination

-USHPA Committee Support

Beth Van Eaton – Operations Management

-Magazine coordination

-Accounting liaison

-General operations


Julie Spiegler – Program Manager

New iMIS system!




Secretary Report by Steve Rodrigues 10AM-

-We approved the minutes of last BOD meeting.

-We approved minutes of executive committee minutes

-He reminded members they could see the minutes from executive committee meetings.

Treasurer’s report by Mark Forbes at 10:15

-We remain in good financial shape with adequate cash reserves. We are now slightly below cash target, reflecting some expenses that have been recognized since last fall’s meetings. For the year ending in Dec 31, 2017, there is a bottom line profit of $213,907. That is significantly higher than the budget, but is subject to change. Gross income is about 7% over budget and expenses were below budget about 2%. This is consistent with our policy of making conservative estimates when building the annual budget.

2018 budget anticipates a reduction of cash reserves related to onetime capital expenses. The final $100k capital investment in the RRRG this summer and additional IT development expenses anticipated. It is expected that the bulk of these are long term investments not expected to repeat.

Accident committee- Mitch Shipley

-Committee did not meet this BOD meeting, not much to discuss.

-Provided a briefing on the status.

-We have a new volunteer who is going to help parse the data into meaningful reports.

-Mitch showed video and analysis of tows with various tow forces. Conclusion is that higher tow forces create a much larger dive, so that the big take away is that tow forces must be kept low until several hundred feet up.

Awards Committee- Jugdeep Aggarwal 10:45

-Instructor of the year has become a popularity contest. To avoid this, Jug proposed we include nominations from other instructors and instructor admin. This change would create peer review. This language was presented to BOD, which we approved.

Site and chapter support Larry Dennis 11:00:

-Status of POM- no big changes

-Newly developed sites- reopening Smelter in Durango, TTT is looking at opening several sites, Coyote hills.

-Renewed and endangered sites: Dunlap, CA.

Competition committee 11:15.

-East Coast Paragliding Championships has been cancelled, due to local club not approving it.

CIVL- Presented by Mitch Shipley.

International org that represents HG and PG competitions.

FAI makes the rulebook for the international comps. FAI has a new website which they showed us. There were several changes to sporting code including ballast limitations, penalties for encroaching airspace, limits to the # of competitors, and the requirement of high visibility nose cones for HGs in comps (necessary because lots of comp HG are translucent).

-Elections- No meeting. Nothing to talk about

Finance/ Insurance/ Risk mitigation

-Reviewed conflict of interest policy

-Approve SOP on International instruction limitations and clarified US residency requirements

-A sub committee was created to discuss

-Discussed implications of legislation amending Ted Stevens Act & NGB role in reporting child abuse. S. 534 (Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017)

We are currently subject to this rule we need to respond ASAP.

-Need a letter to instructor on recent legislative change

-Martin, Paul, Ken Andrews, and Mark to work on Procedures/ documentation.

-Review of 2019 chapter site fees should be based on number of sites or additionally insured

-Discussed making chapter status contingent on passing underwriting

-If a chapter cannot pass underwriting requirements can it still be an USHPA chapter? No decision made. Ongoing discussion, quite parallel to the conversation with instructors.

-Discussed USHPA collecting and storing the documentation that supports instructor certifications. Right now the Admins are asked to collect all the paperwork and we trust them to keep good records, but USHPA does not get a copy of all the documents. USHPA would now like to collect (and store!) a copy of all documents to support instructor ratings, so we can prove that each instructor has met all the requirements. USHPA still needs to figure our how to implement this.

-No SOP changes, nothing to vote on.

Membership and Communication- Ken Grubbs Had a short meeting. Nick is proposing a new face (front cover format) to the board.

-Nick’s comments- New cover was proposed by the designer. Want to change the magazine name to “USHPA Pilot”. Includes headlines about the articles inside. I think the new style looks good.

Nick reminded us about Experticity discounts. H3/P3 and above are qualified for DEEP discounts with Experticity on many, many outdoor brands. To join, send Nick an email… nick.greece@ushpa.aero

Coordinating committee (with FAA) 1PM Dan Lukaszewicz-

“There probably will be a day when we have to carry a device to signal our location to other aircraft. If Dan had to guess it would be 5-10 years. We are trying to defer as long as we can because we have enough issues and expenses. The FAA is a very manual system, manually tracking aircraft. Moving to automated, at which time we will likely need trackers.”

Safety and training- Rich Hass

New SOPs have been circulated, now ready for prime time approval.

-Changes include foot launch requirements for H5.

-25 flights changed to 35, and 5 flying days changed to 7 flying days.

-SOP 12-3, requires instructors to get landowner permission where necessary and requires in person CPR training.

Spent 20 minutes debating procedure about whether or not we can introduce amendments. This was because people did not like the idea of discriminating against towing pilots to force them to do foot launch, but not force foot launch pilot to learn to tow… this is all for H5. We decided we could do “line item veto”.

-Rich gave an overview of the committee business that we discussed which do not need voting action. See my notes from this committee.

We approved the SOP changes, except we did a line item Veto on any changes to the H5 requirements.

Tandem 1:45 Paul Voight

Committee Actions and Recommendations for Adoption by the Board

1. Approved reappointing/ retaining all the USHPA Tandem Admins except

a. Tracy Tillman at his request

b. Dave Hanning due to Revocation of Instructor certification

2. Approve Fred Ballard as HG Tandem Admin for Region 3, pending a successful co-administration of a clinic with current admin.

3. A work group was formed to discuss how to improve the methods of evaluating the tandem Administrators.

4. Chris Santa is heading a work group to continue exploring whether or not we want to have two admins sign off on instructor appointments.

Towing Committee- Flipper 1:45PM

Reviewed a bunch of SOP changes that were done at the previous meeting, which needed public comment.

Discussed the timeline for introducing the new Tow Tech 1 & Tow Tech 2 appointments.

Discussed an incident that happened between the last meetings.

Organization and Bylaws 2PM

-SOP 12-05.01 amendment that limits Administrators and Examiners to USA only. We debated the language at bunch. I introduced a “friendly amendment” to remove an entire paragraph that had confusing language. This motion was passed and the board voted to adopt the new version of the SOP.

-SOP 12-07 Added a cause of revocation, specific to site insurance, which requires that all operations that are not purely recreational have proper insurance. T1 were changed from certifications to ratings. Added language about discretionary revocation by issuing official. This motion passed.

-SOP 12-11 Defined Mentoring. Motion passed.

Strategic Planning- 3PM

James Bradley addressed some of the concerns we discussed in the previous sessions. We spent a bit of time discussing whether or not to do it by secret ballot. Decided to table this until later. Then we started discussing the proposal itself. Matt Tabor raised the point that a Yes Vote meant that the BOD is obligated to support the proposal to the membership, even if the director disapproved. This was debated a bit and we decided this is correct. We spent some time debating what a yes vote means (which apparently means we will put it out to membership for comment, then the directors will finalize the proposal, then the membership for a final vote) and what a No vote means (does not necessarily mean that we are done discussing changing the BOD, just that this proposal is not accepted). We further deliberated the proposal. We took a vote which was 12 yes, 12 no, 2 abstain. With a tie, the motion failed.

Then we considered a motion to float the proposal to the membership to solicited feedback. We adopted the motion 16 to 6.

John Harris announcement:

New Business- Non Board meeting for fun at Grandfather Mountain reunion. July 20-22 HG reunion, team pilot reunion, fly-in. Talks about Grandfather mountain, Rogallo, NC BEER, NC BBQ, and NC Moonshine.

User avatar
By SlopeSkimmer

Did you say Dave Hanning is getting his tandem rating pulled?
By Lazypilot
The decrease in our Hg population is a big deal. Wills Wing's venture with the Easy Flyer is a step in the right direction, but it will appeal primarily to the beginner pilot.

A technology improvement aimed at the aging pilot would be a welcome companion to the Easy Flyer, which as I understand it is mostly a motor-less trike. The same concept applied to "higher performance" gliders and the pilots who fly them is needed just as much as the one for beginners. An aging flyer isn't likely to "step down" in performance, although I'm aware that many high-perf pilots do buy beginner gliders to use when conditions aren't ripe for XC. An Easy Flyer-type of contraption that is well streamlined and maybe even equipped to reduce or eliminate using only weight-shift for roll would encourage some to consider getting in a few more years of flying.

Hg has evolved into a "sport", where some athletic ability is required for safe participation. The amount of athleticism varies, and as we age we tend to lose some of it.

Almost no athletic ability is required to fly an airplane or sailplane. While it can be argued that Hg by it's very nature is an athletic activity, I believe that we can and should develop a more sophisticated version of the Easy Flyer for high performance flying. Yes it will likely be more expensive, but most of the older pilots will spend $ to enable continued participation.

Athleticism isn't just required for foot launching and landing, it also is required to some extent for piloting the glider.
A means of reducing the muscle required to efficiently steer the thing would be a good addition to the well-streamlined trike-like affair that I envision to be the answer.

Most of the older pilot population have outgrown the silly notion that landing on wheels, or even launching that way, is somehow "lesser" Hg. Faced with the reality of slower reflexes and more fragile bones with longer healing times, a pilot starts considering leaving the hobby. ( I'm not a sportsman so for me it isn't a sport, it's a hobby and I'm a hobbyist. I don't know that this means anything, other than my own feeling that I'm into aeronautics, not sports. I have never and will never watch a ball game on Tv, not while I have a glider to fly or build. I'm not a very well-rounded person, so sue me.)

I'm inclined to start a new organization that I'll tentatively call "Gliding 103", the purpose of it being to define a separation from Hg and Pg. Those are "sports" and the type of ultralight soaring that I find more appealing is the kind not limited to positive G only flying, which after 40+ years of hang gliding I've decided is inferior and technically unsafe. I'm in favor of Hg returning to a fork in the road that we left many years ago, and re-thinking the choice we made to embrace the Rogallo/Dickenson platform with a suspended pilot, or "Dangle Diving" as I call it, and from then on almost no innovation has emerged, only refinement, which I do admire although it's proving to be insufficient.

A similar thing has happened in model aeronautics, where most pilots only own gliders and planes mass-produced in China. A Part 103 glider available as a kit will improve things, simply due to there being a choice of flying style, which we don't enjoy in Hg. Go ahead, close your eyes, and when I say "glider" you'll visualize a swept-aft flying wing with a pilot dangling below it. That's because you've never seen a different type, Mike Sandlin notwithstanding.

End Of Rant. Yours in the Spirit of Flight, Steve
By dbhyslop
-EAA (experimental aircraft association) Partnership with MOU… sharing data and information about trends in our sport.
Does USHPA have a booth or any other public visibility at Oshkosh or Sun’n’Fun?
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
Wow, long post. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Re mini wings-- a friend of mine has created a very small hang glider. It is like 2 1/2 feet wide and piloted by something like a Ken Doll. Yes it does actually fly, under radio control. Will that be helpful toward saving our sport?

By Roadrunner71
Well, I guess that I am Hijacking my own Post here. But I am having trouble posting a new post onto this site. Will someone knowledgeable regarding this site please call me? Chris - 9258-497-1059
User avatar
By wonderwind_flyer
aeroexperiments wrote:
Re mini wings-- a friend of mine has created a very small hang glider. It is like 2 1/2 feet wide and piloted by something like a Ken Doll. Yes it does actually fly, under radio control. Will that be helpful toward saving our sport?

Ken Doll to the rescue!

I wrote to the USHPA BOD a few years ago when speed wings and mini-wings first appeared. I was concerned about USHPA embracing these wings and the possibility of insurance premiums elevating with USHPA members flying at very high wing loadings on wings that rely on dynamic pressure to preserve proper aerodynamic shape. The combination of high speed, high wing loading and close proximity to the ground doesn't seem like a healthy combination. Perhaps some mini wing pilots use the wings for higher altitude soaring (high enough altitude to deploy a parachute). I have only observed a few mini-wings flying but the ones I saw were always flying close to the ground. I believe that speed wings and mini-wings are two separate categories but I am curious to know if mini- wings are being used for higher altitude soaring.

The response I received from the USHPA BOD was a reminder that they don't insure against risk to the pilot ... they insure to cover risk for everyone else. I was also informed (and here is the direct quote):
"We know that our members are flying these wings. We can't pretend that they're "not us", because they ARE. There are risks, but they're ones we can manage, and the data so far doesn't support an argument that they are unreasonably dangerous from a liability perspective."

So ..... does anyone know of any accident data specifically related to these small wings and their high wing loading? Are these truly risks that can be managed? Perhaps the decreased wing area and increased speed makes for a wing less likely to collapse in turbulence. I don't know much about soft wings but I do know that I wouldn't fly, let's say, a 90 sq ft hang glider in, let's say, 40+ mph winds for a variety of reasons.
By flyinghuman
So ..... does anyone know of any accident data specifically related to these small wings and their high wing loading? Are these truly risks that can be managed? Perhaps the decreased wing area and increased speed makes for a wing less likely to collapse in turbulence.

There's an interesting discussion of speed wings and mini wings in one of Gavin McClurg's recent podcasts: http://www.cloudbasemayhem.com/episode- ... to-expert/

For me, the big takeaway is that speed wings are so easy to fly that lots of people are flying them with little or no instruction.
User avatar
By magentabluesky
Headline News: PG saved the United States Hang Gliding Association
Underdog wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:50 am
The same way embracing PG saved the United States Hang Gliding Association, I think we have the opportunity to embrace the next evolution of free flight- mini wings.

Now that is Funny. Real Koolaide Drinkers.
User avatar
By Underdog
I quoted that from a summary of the last Ushpa board meeting written by Calef Letorney


I did that specifically so that it could be commented on critically.

Read my post ,but don't take them out of context.

I am no fan of Ushpa.I could tell you about the time they were handing out $500.00 (from member dues)checks so that select pilots could attend us comps as mentees .I was offered one ($500.00 check) (refused) and almost puked at the tragedy of integrity.
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