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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.

This deserves its own thread. Please feel free to set the record straight.

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.
Paragliding enabled the Ass. to abandon hang gliding in their zeal for a huge influx of membership $$$ from this hot newcomer sport. If the Ass. had not had PG revenue, they would have had no choice but to put 100% of their efforts into promoting and expanding hang gliding exclusively. Instead, flush with PG dollars, their focus was divided and hang gliding became the victim. The situation was exacerbated when paragliding enthusiasts became USHPA BOD members and really couldn't have given a crap about the fate of hang gliding.

Here is a prescient warning that was published in the OZ Report about 20 years ago.:


Many conclusions can potentially be deduced from Mark Forbes Oz Report graph charting the comparative growth rates of Paragliding and Hang Gliding memberships in the USHGA. It seems more than coincidental however, that the decline in hang gliding membership so closely synchronizes with the increase in paragliding membership.

I would postulate that many persons interested in unpowered personal flight who would otherwise have taken up hang gliding have instead pursued paragliding. In a prospective flier's naiveté, the inherent lack of airworthiness of a paragliders (collapses, blowbacks etc) would be unknown. Assuming the two flying disciplines to be equal, a potential student would choose the easier to learn. Hence the otherwise inexplicable growth of a clearly inferior and more dangerous form of flying.

To illustrate: I recently anonymously telephoned a supposedly biwingual instructor in a major west coast city, posing as a prospective student. After a brief interview in which I truthfully answered his questions, he concluded that I, a 30-year hang gliding pilot, was a perfect candidate for - you guessed it - PARAGLIDING! Who knows what his motivations were - perhaps the expense of replacing downtubes? Regardless, it is obvious that he is steering students toward paragliding and, by default, away from hang gliding.

Whatever the causes, paragliding clearly is siphoning away prospective students whom otherwise would very likely have chosen hang gliding instead. What does this mean for current HG pilots? Fewer glider sales, less funds available for R & D, fewer manufacturers from which to choose, a possible stagnation in hang glider development. What do you suppose the chances will be of obtaining a state-of-the-art hang glider will be when there are 1000 of us left? How about 500?

Historically, whenever it has been combined with other pursuits, hang gliding has been eclipsed. Remember when Whole Air magazine was sold and combined with Ultralights in "Sport Flier?" It wasn't long before hang gliding content disappeared completely from its pages. Fortunately the USHGA made the right decision in regard to UL's; unfortunately they blew it with paragliders.

Think about it: is there anywhere one can go anymore to read exclusively about hang gliding without being inundated with tripe about "big ears," "kiting" or "asymmetrical collapses?" We may as well be reading about model railroading for all the relevance it has to our flying (in fact, model railroading would be preferable; at least I like trains ;-)

My conclusion from this is that the single largest threat to hang gliding as we know it comes in the form of a Trojan horse we allowed in the USHGA and which is now in the process of taking over: paragliding. This being the case, would it not behoove those who love hang gliding and want to assure its perpetual existence to begin actively opposing this interloper? This could include opposition to the proposed USHGA name change and, if it is accepted, possible campaign to encourage the formation of a new hang gliding-only organization to assure our interests are paramount.

Dissatisfaction with the predominant governing body has led to successful formation of competing organizations in other sports. One which immediately comes to mind is the American Hot Rod Association, created in response to disenchantment with the National Hot Rod Association some decades ago.

If you love hang gliding like I do, and have witnessed paragliders grow to outnumber hang gliders three-to-one in your area as I have in mine, I urge you to consider the threat of paragliding with the gravest concern.
That's a weird assumption that paragliding would not have taken off to the same extent without USHPA.

Spoiler alert: PG would have happened regardless, and would have replaced hang gliding all the same, perhaps even more so if USHPA didn't benefit from PG money.

This is happening in pretty much all countries, and it has nothing to do with USHPA. Much like nukes, you can't uninvent PGs, so the HG community better learn to deal with that freeflight alternative.

Dismissing PGs as unairworthy in this day and age is pretty ridiculous. Sure you personally might not want to fly a PG, but it's a great way to fly for lots of people. No need to be religious about it.
I really don't resent paragliders. I have a good friend who paraglides and ironically introduced me to free flight. I tried
kiting, saw the drawbacks and asked about hang gliding. The real enemies are administration, insurance, lawyers, over
population and over development. If hang gliding is to remain viable it should at least promote itself and not more
Yes, Underdog please accept my apologies, and "Please feel free to set the record straight." The quote belongs to Calef Letorney.
Calef Letorney said: 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.

I have to say the Paraglider People are really nice people as others have also noted. While Hang Glider Pilots are of a kind that will freely let you know when you have your head up your . . . It is not that Hang Glider Pilots are a-holes, they actually really do care about your well being. They are being your friend and buddy and merely are seeking to save you from yourself.

Now, and to be sure and set the record straight, in about 2006 the Hang Glider Pilots of the USHGA agreed (per a vote) to accept Paraglider People into the organization and represent them.
mtpilot wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:41 am
The real enemies are administration, insurance, lawyers . . .

Shortly thereafter in August of 2008, the now USHPA through the organization’s insurance is involved in a liability insurance lawsuit representing six paragliding instructors of Jackson Hole Paragliding (were involved in the training session as employees, owners, or agents of JHP). The simplest facts are: Edward Venard wanting to learn the art of paragliding is signed up with the USHPA and after six weeks of training Mr. Venard has earned his P2 rating.

FACTS . . . Mr. Venard attended a paragliding training clinic at the Palisades Reservoir near Alpine, Wyoming, offered by Appellee, Jackson Hole Paragliding, LLC (JHP). During the clinic, Mr. Venard was towed in the air by a cable attached to a boat. He was thirty-five feet in the air when the operation failed and he fell to the ground, suffering severe injuries.

Now before we go any further with the lawsuit, have these paragliding instructors lost their ever . . . . minds hooking a six week old P2 to the end of a tow rope behind a speed boat?

With just a little common sense, let us all ask why is the sport in the state it is in right now?

Now back to the lawsuit, the defendants are represented by three law firms with seven attorneys who tie this case up for five plus years arguing lack of jurisdiction in the State of Wyoming due to the Plaintiff signing the waiver with a forum selection clause. The case goes all the way to the Wyoming Supreme Court with the Defendants, Jackson Hole Paragliding and the USHPA loosing the argument in January 2013.

Now just ask a simple question, what were the attorneys’ billing hours to the insurance company over the five years of litigation?

Meanwhile, the premier primary/novice paragliding training site in Southern California is a 300 foot cliff in San Diego. Now really, who among you is going to put forth that P0-P1-P2 belong at a 300 foot cliff launch site? This is shear lunacy. The results should be oblivious.

But the plot thickens, the duly elected Regional Bi-Wingle Director of the area voices his sincere concerns over safety at the site. Well, he is not considered to be just a get along guy and special interest groups successfully recall him.

Now it just so happens at the Paragliding Rodeo, Joy Rides for Kids (they are happy to put your children’s life in peril) a woman is injured in a paragliding miss-hap similar in nature as to the now former Regional Bi-Wingle Director’s safety concerns.

So, there is a lawsuit, DAH!

The crack legal team of the USHPA represents the Paragliding Rodeo, Inc., Joy Rides for Kids in the lawsuit. The now former Regional Bi-Wingle Director testifies of his safety concerns prior to the woman’s miss-hap. Headlines: There is a Settlement – DAH!

The Jackson Hole Case and the Paragliding Rodeo Case both come down about the same time.
Is the Insurance Company Lloyds of London happy? Not in the least. Can you say, Good- Bye Insurance?

So whose insurance is the first not to get renewed? Windsports – Joe Greblo who is the most professional safety conscious Hang Gliding flight school on the planet earth. Windsports & Joe Greblo’s flight school is on par with the United States Military and Commercial Airlines training departments, simply the best.

Of course the story is not over. Sore that the former Regional Bi-Wingle Director testified in court against the Paragliding Rodeo, the USHPA in their great wisdom holds court to expel the former Director from the USHPA even citing as cause for expulsion his testimony in court. The USHPA Board of Directors expels the "The Unmentionable".

Well, there just so happen to be a Federal Law against retribution against an individual for testifying in court. Where was the crack legal team to advise the USHPA Board that retaliation against a person for testifying in court is a Federal Crime?

42 U.S. Code 1985 (2) Conspiracy to interfere with civil rights.
Kinney v. Weaver, 111 F. Supp. 2d 831 (E.D. Tex. 2000)
KINNEY v. J.B. Smith, Smith County Sheriff

Well moving on to the next chapter:

We all need to Save Free Flight. Send us your money so we can insure the Paragliding Rodeo.
And after it is all said and done, the USHPA expelled “"The Unmentionable" and the Paragliding Rodeo does what it does best, gives the USHPA the Big Bird.

We really know how nice those Paragliding People are and how Hang Glider Pilots will tell you to pull your head out and get a grip on reality.
Calef Letorney said: I think we have the opportunity to embrace the next evolution of free flight- mini wings.

Boy, it is a good thing Paragliding saved the USHGA because I can’t wait for the Mini Wing Rodeo, Joy Rides for Kids.
Wow what a eye opener. Any club that wants to terminate members for joining another organization is working on a communist bases. The thought prosses by USHPA has become communistic and unacceptable to the American idea of freedom. We should all be offended by this behavior, and to continue support is only displaying the lack of backbone to do what’s right. To many pilots are paying dues to keep their local USHPA leaders from causing drama at the launch or in LZ’s, it’s time to hold USHPA accountable. If USHPA is so worried about lawsuits why do they ingauge in extortion and black male putting themselves in the same box as average criminals. Once USHGA was a friendly organization for Hang gliding because we designed it, then we mistakenly brought in the trogan horse (paraglider’s)now we live in the garage of the house we built, and we’re suppose to be thankful for that? I’m ready to take back my house, how about you guys?
raquo wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:53 am
That's a weird assumption that paragliding would not have taken off to the same extent without USHPA.

Spoiler alert: PG would have happened regardless, and would have replaced hang gliding all the same, perhaps even more so if USHPA didn't benefit from PG money.

This is happening in pretty much all countries, and it has nothing to do with USHPA. Much like nukes, you can't uninvent PGs, so the HG community better learn to deal with that freeflight alternative.

Dismissing PGs as unairworthy in this day and age is pretty ridiculous. Sure you personally might not want to fly a PG, but it's a great way to fly for lots of people. No need to be religious about it.

We are not the same at all. last year at the wood rat mountain rat race (paragliding meet) we had 17 injury’s and 1 dead paraglider’s. Wood rat (hang glider meet) dew thistle Fly in 0 injury’s 0 deaths. Why should Hang glider pilots be judged on those statistics. I’m apauled they can damage our reputation put us in the same box. It’s wrong to combine us with something that has no airframe. I’m done with it, we don’t need bad PR from those who choose to fly low budget gear. Hang gliders are far more extensive to understand and costly, quite possibly the choice to fly Paraglider’s stems from intimidation of skill ability after witnessing how different hangs fly compared to parachutes. Seems like there tied to a stump when we’re all on glide.
If you want to make that argument you need to show that PGs disproportionately contribute to USHPA insurance *claims*. Anecdotes and intuition alone are not how insurance prices are determined.

And hey, looks like there is actually some data available:

Approximately 40% of the claims on both types of policies have been from Hang Gliding and 60% from Paragliding. This mirrors the USHPA membership. USHPA currently has 43% Hang Gliding member and 57% Paragliding members.
So no, PGs are not inflating your insurance cost. If anything they make it lower due to economies of scale.
The only threat to hang gliding in the USHPA is the apathy of hang glider pilots. Paraglider pilots actually get involved while hang glider pilots just want to sit back and b---- about PG's. As hang gliding as a sport matured, the participants became content to just sit back and let the new guys on the block step up. While some people b---- about the PG content in the magazine, at least the PG pilots are getting out and flying. They are the pilots who are going on flying trips and putting on fly-ins and then actually writing about it. How many HG pilots are still doing that? And people wonder why paragliding gets all the exposure and attention.
An aircraft is not dangerous by itself. It's the combination of aircraft + pilot + weather that is dangerous.

For example, an average beginner pilot will be safer flying a paraglider than your topless wing.

Both hang gliders and paragliders choose to fly gliders and weather above their skills all the damn time. This is a much bigger contributor to accidents than the lack of aluminum tubing.
magentabluesky, That's a lot of interesting info, thanks, but it's sure to put you in the unmentionable list. Can't
tell where it all went wrong without full disclosure, accidents, claims, lawsuits, settlements. We
never needed site ins, instructor ins before this mess. I am interested in maintaining my right to fly
and access public land. USHPA seems interested in blocking us to collect money.
Paragliding did destroy USHGA by all standards. You can say it’s the leaders, but USHPA has a mass following of paraglider pilots that have a response ability in this also. How can the majority of PG’S stand by watching this happen unless their ok with it also? It’s called guilt by association. They stand by, say nothing even while witnessing so called leaders harass anyone attempting to access their public land. To me that’s just another way to agree with ushpa’s policy without doing the dirty work. We have become far to concerned about hurting feelings, but that’s exactly what this paragliding club practices. Those days are over, we don’t owe them anything more than they’ve given us, a bunch of dissrespect and harassment. I sure don’t have any respect for the sheep,unable to stand up when they know, witnessing but go along with the program, instead of doing what’s right. We should only stand with our own kind, like they do, reject who doesn’t agree with us. Seems to work for paraglider’s, and USHPA. Let’s give back what we receive. I know some paraglider pilot will jump to defend their kind, but think for a minute? We controlled the club, you begged for our acceptance, we pioneered the sites you enjoy, we showed you how to thermal, we were first to XC, we set the distance records, we were first to cloud base, we found the training hills you use, we started the first organization ourselves, are instructors taught free flight before you existed. They attempt to keep up, removing lines from their parachutes only getting more dangerous by the day as we witness. They seek to be like us clearly, or they wouldn’t copy are model, but they can’t figure out the airframe thing, it’s the key. Their getting more dangerous and we’re getting safe, I'm sure some panic ridden PG’s will valiantly attempt to defend and convince us otherwise, we know the truth, hard to miss when it’s personally witnessed all around our flying sites we frequent. Do they think we’re blind or not paying attention? Thank goodness the paraglider’s came when they did or we wouldn’t have made it on our own, pathetic lies and more nonsense. We were fine before they came along, I remember, I was there doing just fine before they came begging. This is headed for a division of flying styles, and clubs, changes are on the way now. Like before hang gliders we will pioneer again.
I'm not a paraglider pilot, and this was still cringeworthy to read. This kind of hateful self importance is one of the things driving people to friendlier communities including paragliding. That no one else on this forum challenges your BS just shows how wideapead this toxic attitude is in hang gliding.
Well, this thread is _certainly_ about PG vs HG as evidenced by its title and contents.

Anyone is yet to explain what specifically they mean by these grand statements of USHPA betrayal.

Maybe you or someone else can structure an effective, fact-based argument that shows that:

1) USHPA is deliberately making decisions that are unfairly good for PG but simultaneously bad for HG, and
2) This differential is not simply a consequence of individual instructors' choices, or potential pilots' choices, or the natural difference between PG and HG such as logistics

But no one is making such arguments. It's just hateful rambling and baseless uninformed accusations for the most part.

For example, here's a sample of points that by themselves – with no further argument – do not qualify as such an argument:
- Paragliding becoming more popular (it's happening everywhere in every country, there are tons of non-USHPA reasons for it)
- HG instruction being harder for both students and instructors than PG instruction (same, it's not USHPA's fault you can make 4x more PG sled rides than HG ones in a day)
- USHPA being bad / incompetent / etc. to all instructors regardless of PG or HG
The title is misleading. USHPA is not a Hang Gliding organization. PG did not save a hang gliding organization. PG saved a SPORT flying organization.

If a new type of wing came out that was even easier to get into than PG, there would be no PG loyalty at ushpa. Its not a PG organization either.

They want membership numbers and could care less if they are HG, PG or whatever.

Hg pilots need to stop assuming they have a hang gliding organization. They simply dont.
If you want an organization that actually cares about hang gliding thriving specifically, then someone needs to start one.
First, Jack thank you for being so inclusive with your marquee Hang Gliding.Org allowing us to gather sharing our thoughts and experiences in Hang Gliding and more.

Second, the intent of the thread was not to be an us vs. them, HG vs. PG rant. I personally found Calef’s statement offensive. From his statement, Calef has not a clue as to the historical back ground of the USHGA/USHPA to have those words come out of his mouth. It is not a numbers game to see if the herd will run off the cliff to their demise together. My point is the sport of personal flight, both Hang Gliding and Paragliding, is currently in the fractured state primarily due to people doing stupid stuff and nobody taking action and people keep doing stupid stuff. Primarily, the loss of the insurance was due to payouts by Lloyds of London for PGers doing stupid stuff not a statistical analysis of accidents. Hang Glider pilots are not immune from doing stupid stuff either. And once again recently in the news, there is a PGer busting the Presidential TFR, stupid stuff. Those acts threaten the sport for all of us no matter if the acts are committed by a PGer or HGer.

Third, Jack you are quite right the USHPA is a SPORT flying organization. If you trace the genesis of what grew into the USHPA, the founders were extremely inclusive of all forms of personal flight. In the beginning of the renaissance of personal flight there was the news letter Low & Slow Vol 1, Issue 1 page 1 FLY LIKE A BIRD March 1967 by Emil Kissel.
Emil Kissel wrote:The persuasive powers of Richard Miller are vast. The purpose of this newsletter is to gather information on gliders that are simple, inexpensive, and hopefully, birdlike.
By 1971 Joe Faust was the editor of Low & Slow.
Joe Faust wrote: Welcome to the fellowship of birdmen that are open to fresh approaches to the universe of motorless flight. Dare to fly daily. Dream. Bring your personal notes to the gathering place. We need each other. See Attachments
Low & Slow #9 Position Paper 1971: We self-Launch . . . . but we do not just hang. We get in all possible positions and want to discover the delights of all kinds of gliding, soaring, and tethered flight.
What was the secret to the early growth? Being Inclusive.

By May of 1972 from the Low & Slow group emerged the Southern California Hang Glider Association headed by d--- Eipper as President.
Bylaws of the SCHGA: Sections 2. The primary purposes of the Assn. are to engage in the development, study, and use of fuel-less flight systems and aircraft capable of being launched by human power alone, to make knowledge relation to these subjects available, and to organize meets where the testing and flying of such system and aircraft will be encouraged. Ground Skimmer May 1972
The Southern California Hang Glider Association became the United States Hang Gliding Association.
Lloyd Licher USHGA President wrote:We are now the United States Hang Gliding Association, Inc. The bylaws amendment to change the name, which was described in the last issue of GROUND SKIMMER, was approved by the members at their December 18th meeting, by a vote of 83 to 22. There was some conflict over the use of a confusingly similar name by Joe Faust, in connection with his publication, Hang Glider Weekly, but after the meeting Joe graciously advised that he would not press the point. A new era of harmony should enable all concerned to concentrate on serving the needs of the hang gliding enthusiasts. USHGA is proceeding to incorporate in the state of California.

Membership continues to grow, at an increasing rate. Number 5279 was issued on February 1, 1974, a gain of 701 in two months. Ground Skimmer October 1973
Not only were they inclusive early on, they also knew how to compromise.
Liability Insurance For USHGA Members – Proposal by Lloyd Licher, President wrote:How much would you be willing to pay for this liability coverage? If enough members advise USHGA in the manner indicated below, such a voluntary plan will be made available as soon as possible. . . . In order to know how the members think about liability insurance, those who are interested are asked to send a post card . . . very simply coded as follows: begin with the word “insurance.” Next write either “mandatory-yes” or “mandatory-no” depending on which you favor. Ground Skimmer October 1973
We now know how that is playing out.
A Call For Self Regulation by Sam Alexander wrote:There is an alarming increase in the frequency of accidents requiring ambulance removal. The most serious threat to sites and to the sport is the intermediate flier. He can take off and land well, but does not possess adequate skills in speed and turning control, nor adequate knowledge of winds, lift, and downdrafts, to enable him to fly consistently to a proper landing area. . . .

We cannot prevent regulation and direction. But, if we act immediately and decisively, we can make our own rules, and reasonably direct the future of our own sport. Ground Skimmer December 1973
A full decade before the FAA regulated the Sport with Part 103, the USHGA along with the HGMA self regulated the Sport with education, sop’s, site preservation, the pilot rating system, and hang glider safety standards. There was a deep understanding that the growing numbers were going to kill the sport, if the sport was not organized and safe.

There have been many that have recently said “we need to get back to our roots” to grow the sport of Hang Gliding. What are those roots? It is about being inclusive, compromising, safe, and not doing stupid stuff like hooking beginning students to a tow rope, shoving new students off a 300’ cliff, flying into Presidential TFRs, etc. Don’t allow stupid stuff by organizational policy. Just don’t do stupid stuff.

That is what will save the Sport.
Joe Faust wrote:Welcome to the fellowship of birdmen that are open to fresh approaches to the universe of motorless flight. Dare to fly daily. Dream. Bring your personal notes to the gathering place. We need each other. See Attachments
LowandSlow 1.2.JPG
LowandSlow 1.2.JPG (127.78 KiB) Viewed 1957 times
LowandSlow 1.3.JPG
LowandSlow 1.3.JPG (120.22 KiB) Viewed 1957 times
LowandSlow 1.4.JPG
LowandSlow 1.4.JPG (127.56 KiB) Viewed 1957 times
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