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Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:45 am

The "Bennett Bunny Hill" was a training hill created by Bill Bennett right behind the Torrey Pines Gliderport several decades ago. As discussed in the "Bill Bennett" topic, many members of the Torrey Hawks urged USHPA and USHPA's representative on the Torrey Pines Soaring Council (Ken Baier) to get the Soaring Council to take action.

Sadly, USHPA never lifted a finger to help save the Bennett Bunny Hill, and this is what I witnessed just yesterday (November 30th, 2015):

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I suspect the entire hill will be gone by the end of the week.   :(

How many years had we asked USHPA for help?

I've made many calls to Rich Hass (USHPA's recent President), and several members of the Torrey Hawks brought it up with USHPA's representative on the Torrey Pines Soaring Council again and again. We couldn't get the USHPA representative on the Torrey Pines Soaring Council to do anything.

USHPA has failed hang gliding again and again, and this week the Bennett Bunny Hill will pass into history.

So what were USHPA's big accomplishments in 2015? Expelling Bob Kuczewski and losing our insurance coverage? Way to go Rich Hass.    :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:12 pm

Here's an email message that I sent to recent USHPA President (Rich Hass) and USHPA's Soaring Council Representative (Ken Baier) with copies to others (May 17th, 2013 at 11:05 PM):

Rich Hass, Ken Baier (cc/bcc others),

Today I saw the first bulldozer chipping away at the training hill know as the "Bennett Bunny Hill" just to the east of the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Bill Armstrong and others (including myself) have long been advocating that the Torrey Pines Soaring Council take some kind of action to try to preserve that hill for hang gliding training. Bill has brought the matter to the Council on several occasions. Yet the USHPA representative(s) appointed by Lisa Tate and Rich Hass have done nothing.

And please don't tell me that it's not the Soaring Council's job. I watched for years as Gary Fogel rallied the Council to speak to defend the sailplane runway ... even trying to block the construction of buildings that weren't even on the runway. I even spoke at public meetings in support of Gary's efforts as a sign of goodwill between the gliding groups. That issue dominated the Council's discussions for months and even years (check the minutes). And that was on the EXACT SAME PIECE OF GROUND as the training hill.

So where is the support from the Soaring Council when our training hill is being threatened? Rich, you've "played nice" with the Soaring Council by sustaining Ken Baier as USHPA's representative on the grounds that you wanted someone who could "get along" with the Council. Well, how is that working out now? Now we could use some vigorous support from all the people that Ken has coddled for years. Let's see how well they repay him and USHPA.

Ken, I am asking you to bring this issue to the Council and to get support from them that is comparable to the effort they expended on the sailplane runway. Rich, I am asking for USHPA's support to help stop the destruction of that hill.

Let the record be clear.

Sincerely,
Bob Kuczewski

P.S. I will be updating this discussion on the US Hawks forum. Here's a link to my first post related to the topic:

http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=1315


That was May 17th, 2013. What did USHPA do between then and now?
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:23 pm

On May 18th, 2013, I again wrote to Rich Hass and Ken Baier:

From: Bob Kuczewski
To: Ken Baier
Cc: richhass@comcast.net, richhass@mac.com
Subject: Re: Losing a Trianing Hill ... Any Help from USHPA?
Date: Sat, 18 May 2013 00:15:01 -0700


By the way, here's just one post I found from well over a year ago (January 17th, 2012) regarding that training hill...

During "New Business", Willy brought up the question of the Training Hill for hang glider training. Several of the Hawks echoed the idea that the training hill would be an asset to the site and would allow training of hang glider pilots. This would allow training of all forms of powerless aviation at the facility. David Metzgar of the San Diego Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association resisted the suggestion, and Byron Lowry expressed that it wasn't in the Soaring Council's purview to make suggestions on that property. Bob Kuczewski commented that the Soaring Council was already involved with the sailplane operations on that property, so including the training hill would not be outside of the Council's scope. Bob Kuczewski asked if the Council would endorse the idea, but it wasn't supported by any of the Council members. Bob Kuczewski then asked if the Council would oppose that use of the land, and no representatives voiced opposition either. It was somewhat surprising (and disappointing) that neither the SDHGPA representative (David Metzgar) nor the USHPA representative (Ken Baier) would endorse the use of the land for a training hill.

From: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=942&p=4001


Rich, Ken has not only done nothing to support the Hawks, but he's also done nothing to support the growth of hang gliding at Torrey. But then that's consistent with your position as well.

Disgusted,
Bob Kuczewski


USHPA responded with some false generalities about protecting sites, but nothing was ever done. Nothing.
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby JoeF » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:17 pm

Buy Buy Bill Bennett Bunny Bump (BBBBBB or 6B)

Image

The future of HG training at Torrey flight park:
1. Micro hang gliding of many sorts.
2. Wing running micro hang gliding of many sorts.
3. Perhaps an artificial incline?
4. Friends' kiting? Pull one another?
5. Scooter tow?
6. Drop-water-bag tow through a pulley?
7. eHG mini launch ?
8. Set-up-HG clinic at the park. Here is how one assembles and disassembles a hang glider: _______. Here is how one gets in and out of a harness clinic: ________. Hanging practice in wafting wind in a rig?
9. Video, FAQs, Otto books, model-make-and toss (learn about reflex, dive sticks, structure, etc.).
10. Perhaps a new bunny hill with sand base could be somewhat west of the gone-BBBBBB.
11. A national HG org dedicated to "recreational hang gliding" might aim for getting recreational open micro hang gliding going in the park. Next time I am at the park, I'll fly several sorts of micro hang gliding flights.
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Dayhead » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:03 pm

It seems to me that USHPA considers paragliding to be the new hang gliding. They must be figuring that Hg is on the way out, and Pg is the way it's gonna be.

It's a nightmare for me, but maybe they're right. Maybe we should just accept that Hg is over at Torrey, and Pg is our only foot-launched flying. The PGer's that I've talked to seem to think that this is the case. It makes me sad to think they may be right.
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby JoeF » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:15 am

With safe-splat: Use the sailplane runway for HG training.
Now.
I will do hang gliding on the runway the next time I visit Torrey park.
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:21 am

JoeF wrote:Buy Buy Bill Bennett Bunny Bump (BBBBBB or 6B)

Image

The future of HG training at Torrey flight park:
1. Micro hang gliding of many sorts.
2. Wing running micro hang gliding of many sorts.
3. Perhaps an artificial incline?
4. Friends' kiting? Pull one another?
5. Scooter tow?
6. Drop-water-bag tow through a pulley?
7. eHG mini launch ?
8. Set-up-HG clinic at the park. Here is how one assembles and disassembles a hang glider: _______. Here is how one gets in and out of a harness clinic: ________. Hanging practice in wafting wind in a rig?
9. Video, FAQs, Otto books, model-make-and toss (learn about reflex, dive sticks, structure, etc.).
10. Perhaps a new bunny hill with sand base could be somewhat west of the gone-BBBBBB.
11. A national HG org dedicated to "recreational hang gliding" might aim for getting recreational open micro hang gliding going in the park. Next time I am at the park, I'll fly several sorts of micro hang gliding flights.

That much of a landing area demands a hang 4 rating?
Who among us is stupid enough to believe that?
Just who are the people by name that thinks any of us are that gullible?
I mean really if they landed sailplanes there :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :wtf:
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:24 am

Dayhead wrote:It seems to me that USHPA considers paragliding to be the new hang gliding. They must be figuring that Hg is on the way out, and Pg is the way it's gonna be.


I think U$HPA's bias comes partially from becoming a PG organization (members, directors, presidents, etc). But that's not the whole story. USHPA is strongly influenced by people with a financial interest in hang gliding and paragliding. I think that's the real source of the bias protecting the Torrey concessionaire. The fact that they're also a PG school is just icing on the U$HPA cake.

By the way, someone once told me that USHPA was a Regional Director's club ... paid for by the members. That's 100% consistent with what I've seen.
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby dhmartens » Sat Dec 05, 2015 6:53 pm

If someone is spending possible in excess of $10,000 to bulldoze that mound then they must be expecting some kind of return on investment. What are they going to build there? Do I smell a Walmart? Who owns that land?
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Re: Loss of the Bennett Bunny Hill

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:55 pm

The land is owned by UCSD (University of California, San Diego), and I think they're going to use it for a parking lot.    :roll:

They may also be permanently shutting down the sailplane runway as well. USHPA should have been working with the sailplane club to help preserve this area for its aviation heritage and continued use. But the paraglider pilots have no use for it, so neither does USHPA.

Sad and disgusting.
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