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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:58 am

ARP wrote:Who authorises Aero Sport Connection to issue such exemptions? If it is the FAA, can any organisation set it's self up as an issuing agency and on what basis do the FAA grant this? Is the USHPA just one of a number of organisations along with Aero Sport Connection than can do so?


The FAA can issue exemptions to any organization or any person who requests one for any purpose. The exemption we're talking about here is to allow passengers in aircraft that are not certified for passengers. The USHPA exemption requests that permission for purposes of training and that's the limits of their exemption. I don't know the particulars of the Aero Sport Connection exemption. It may also be for training (since that's what the FAA is likely to grant), but it could be different from USHPA's.

ARP wrote:If an instructor or school get their exemption pulled for not complying with FAA regulations then how can that same instructor/school be granted an exemption by another issuing agency? The FAA regulations have been broken and the FAA should take the agency issuing another exemption to task over what is a flagrant breach of trust.


That may happen, and it may be that the Aero Sport Connection exemption could be revoked if the Torrey folks are violating its provisions. I hope that doesn't happen because I think choice in the marketplace is a positive thing. I'm just amazed that USHHHHPA ( :shh: ) was able to keep everyone (including me) under the impression that they had the only tandem exemption for so long.

By the way, the US Hawks has been considering applying for a tandem exemption for a number of years now. We haven't done it because there hasn't been any great demand. Most of our tandem pilots fly at USHPA controlled sites, so they would have to comply with USHPA's tandem requirements regardless of whether they had a US Hawks exemption or not.
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Jack Axaopoulos (aka: "sg") Strikes Again

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:15 am

Jack Axaopoulos (aka: "sg") Strikes Again

At 1:12am on September 30th, 2016 Comet posted this on hanggliding.org:

So is this evidence that Bob Kuczewski was right?


At 4:14am September 30th, 2016 Jack Axaopoulos removed Comet's post and replaced it with this instead:

BobK poison stays off this board. Period. Any of his crap will be wiped. No proxies.


Is there any question as to why the sport of hang gliding is getting so screwed over? Jack Axaopoulos ("Mr. HangGliding.org") gives cover to Mark Forbes and the other USHPA loyalists so they can spread their misinformation without being challenged by anyone who actually knows what's going on at Torrey (or anywhere else). Jack doesn't care that his digital "iron curtain" strangles the very information needed for a healthy sport.

This should be the new hanggliding.org slogan:

      At hanggliding.org ... it's 1984 all over again.
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:55 am

Here's the best part ... that I happened to miss on my first reading of Jack's post:

hanggliding_org.png
hanggliding_org.png (82.54 KiB) Viewed 1355 times


Did you notice the Thomas Jefferson quote that Jack Axaopoulos uses in his signature?

Thomas Jefferson wrote:All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.


That's in the same post where he just silenced Comet!!

:srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl:
:srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl:

At hanggliding.org ... it really is 1984 all over again!!
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bill Cummings » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:36 am

ARP wrote:Who authorises Aero Sport Connection to issue such exemptions? If it is the FAA, can any organisation set it's self up as an issuing agency and on what basis do the FAA grant this? Is the USHPA just one of a number of organisations along with Aero Sport Connection than can do so?

If an instructor or school get their exemption pulled for not complying with FAA regulations then how can that same instructor/school be granted an exemption by another issuing agency? The FAA regulations have been broken and the FAA should take the agency issuing another exemption to task over what is a flagrant breach of trust.

ARP,
A very good point that you make.
I'm thinking the the key consideration is the, "flagrant breach of trust."
I could see a situation arise where someone falling in disfavor with USHPA and having either an exemption or a membership pulled (or both) could and should be able to acquire the same from another source. Particularly if the action had been politically motivated and not for reasons of safety.
I'm also thinking that there are in fact other outlets for exemptions granted by the FAA and that USHPA is not the monopoly that I had been lead to believe it was when I limited my investigation to only what USHPA had in print.
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby ARP » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:36 am

Bill the only reason any issuing agency should be able to pull an FAA exemption should be if FAA regulations have been broken. No political considerations are relevant. If a safety issue has been identified and proven then no other agency should be able to issue another exemption until the FAA investigates and agrees to the lifting of the sanction.
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:17 pm

ARP wrote:If a safety issue has been identified and proven then no other agency should be able to issue another exemption until the FAA investigates and agrees to the lifting of the sanction.


That might be a safer way to administer the FAA tandem exemption, but I don't think that's how they do it. I think the FAA only wants to have to deal with the exemption holders themselves and not with the exemption holder's members. So the danger for Aero Sports Connection will be if Torrey violates (or continues to violate?) the terms of the Aero Sports Connection exemption. If that's happening, then the FAA is likely to pull their exemption. Now Aero Sports Connection should be wary of a business like Air California Adventures because that puts their own exemption at risk.

Ultimately, I think Air California Adventure (with tons of money and lawyers) will end up requesting for their own exemption just like they have their own insurance. It's sad that USHPA nurtured this cancer in our sport and now that USHPA has lost its insurance, they're being kicked to the curb by the monster they've raised.

What goes around comes around.

By the way, I've gotten a number of calls from people who've suggested that now that USHPA sees how rotten Air California Adventure is, they will likely reinstate me. Unfortunately, that's not how the personalities at USHPA work. They're able to maintain conflicting views of reality in their heads and only focus on the versions that suit them at the moment. I'll bet that there will be no reinstatement of myself or of the Torrey Hawks or any reversal in USHPA's course regarding Torrey.
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Letter to USHPA from February 8th, 2010

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:27 pm

Letter to USHPA from February 8th, 2010

To gain some perspective, here's the email message that I sent to the USHPA Chairman of Safety and Training on February 8th, 2010 (the day after the incident on February 7th, 2010). I also sent a copy to all USHPA Region 3 Directors, and Ken Baier (UHSPA's representative on the Torrey Pines Soaring Council), and the entire USHPA Executive Committee. At that time (February 8th, 2010), I was one of the USHPA Regional Directors for Region 3 (Southern California and Hawaii):

USHPA Region 3 Director Bob Kuczewski wrote:
To: Dave Broyles <broyles.dave@gmail.com>
CC: Ken Baier <airjunkies@sbcglobal.net>,
    Mark Gaskill <airutah@hotmail.com>,
    Rob Sporrer <rob@paraglide.com>,
    Brad Hall <brad.reg3@gmail.com>,
    Rich Hass <richhass@comcast.net>,
    Rich Hass <richhass@mac.com>,
    Lisa Tate <lisa@lisatateglass.com>,
    Lisa Tate <lisa@soaringdreamsart.com>,
    Lisa Tate <lisa.tate@ushpa.aero>,
    Mark G. Forbes <mgforbes@mindspring.com>
Date: February 08, 2010, 04:03:10 PM


Hello Dave (cc Brad Hall, Rob Sporrer, Ken Baier, and the EC),

I was at Torrey Pines yesterday and I witnessed an incident. Rather than describe it myself, I'll just pass along what was posted on hanggliding.org this morning by another witness who I know was there...

     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Jason writes (http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=15666):

     Witnessed an Incident yesterday- don't see the form on the USHPA
     website- and knowing Torrey---this will never be reported

     Sunday Feb 7
     While standing in the landing area talking to a friend, I hear him say
     "whats this guy doing"

     I look towards the ridge to see a paraglider pilot flying directly downwind
     low over the the PG set up area. The pilot then intiates a right hand turn,
     impacting two stationary hanggliders, and crashing between several others.

     After checking to see if everyone was ok and inspecting the gliders for
     damage (one of them had a bent washout tube) Bob, the local RD, asks the
     pilot who his instructor was and if he was on radio. Brad Geary immediately
     tells the pilot to "don't even talk"

     An immediate gag order was in place, no one knows who this pilot was, or
     who his instructor was. The pilot WAS on radio as evidenced by the radio
     strapped to his chest. And that he carried with him in his hand for close to
     15 minutes afterward
     ------------------------------------------------------------------------

I agree with Jason's description of this event, and I do not request any action be taken regarding the incident itself (unless it is found that the instructor on radio was willfully neglecting his or her duties to keep the student safe). We all understand how this can happen, and we can just do our best to minimize it.

But what does concern me is having a USHPA instructor tell a USHPA student to NOT reveal the name of his instructor to a Regional Director.

I certainly don't know all the legal requirements behind what a Director can ask, and what a student is required to give (I suspect it's zero). But we are supposed to be a self-regulated sport, and that means that our members (and particularly our instructors) are supposed to comply with standards of safety and accountability within our organization. If an instructor is telling a student to NOT reveal the name of his own instructor to an official within USHPA, that strikes me as a fairly severe violation of those standards.

There have been other postings to that topic, and I suggest that you skim through them. I posted two comments myself (which I have included below).

I am not sure what action should be taken at this time, but having USHPA instructors telling USHPA students to NOT reveal their own instructor's name after an incident is NOT something that USHPA can defend.

Bob Kuczewski
Regional Director - USHPA Region 3


===========================================================
Bob Kuczewski's posts to the topic:
===========================================================
I agree with Jason's original reporting of the incident, and it was very very fortunate that the pilot wasn't hurt. He only hit two of the hang gliders in a very very dense area, and it could have been much much worse.

I also agree with Jason's reporting of the subsequent discussion. I approached the pilot (who appeared to be a young student - late teens or early 20s) after everything had settled down. I asked who his instructor was. Immediately, Brad Geary inserted himself and told the pilot "Don't tell him".

Now, the incident itself was very minor, and I was sure that the student had done his best to avoid those hang gliders. So I really didn't feel the need to say much to the student or to ask any questions of the student. But I did think it was appropriate and prudent to at least have a discussion with the instructor to understand if proper safety procedures were being followed. I suspect that discussion would have been fairly brief, and I was hopeful that the discussion alone might raise the instructor's safety awareness.

But what turned a relatively minor situation into a pretty big deal was having one USHPA instructor telling a relatively new student (USHPA member?) not to even tell a Director who his instructor was. That put that young student in quite a bind. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was caught in the middle, and that's why I didn't press the issue with him.

If USHPA is going to have any credibility in terms of our instructor program and our safety record, we cannot have instructors telling students that the name of their instructor is a secret. That's lunacy.

Now maybe Brad was worried that I might "turn them in" over the incident. That was not my intention. But even if it was, there are (or should be) mechanisms in place to keep all Directors (Bob Kuczewski or David Jebb) from abusing their power. We cannot use "fear" as an excuse to go down a road where we condone instructors telling students not to tell who their instructor is after an incident has happened - regardless of how major or minor.

But most of all, I am appalled that the instructor (whoever it was) did not have the integrity to step forward and be accountable for the situation. I suspect those actions would get an instructor fired at many good schools. The fact that this behavior is condoned at Torrey tells us a lot about how that site continues to be managed.

I am still considering how to best handle this matter...

Bob Kuczewski
Regional Director - USHPA Region 3

===========================================================
SlingBlade wrote:
     If this guy has students careening around the place all the time I would certainly think
     it cause for concern. If this student was a fluke then maybe it's the student not the instructor.

I think you're missing the point here. We all know that students can freeze and make poor decisions. I'm sure it's happened to many of us, and our goal should be to try to minimize these events through good skills training, good communication, and good training of our instructors. We all agree with that.

The problem here is having an instructor tell a student to NOT reveal the name of the instructor who was supposed to be on the radio monitoring the student's safety. No one is blaming the student at all.

The fact that the instructor himself didn't step forward is appalling to me. The fact that Brad Geary (whether he was *the* instructor or not) would tell a student to hide the name of his own instructor is even worse. What kind of an organization are we running here when students are told by USHPA instructors to hide the name of their USHPA instructor? That sounds more like what I would expect from a street gang than from a national pilots association. Could you imagine if an FAA instructor was telling a student (who had crashed) not to tell the name of the student's instructor to the FAA?

===========================================================


USHPA DID NOTHING FOR 6 and 3/4 years. They've ignored the countless reported and unreported accidents at that site for all that time (and well before).

It was all fine and dandy as long as Air California Adventure was sending USHPA their "cut" of the tandem joyriding business. But as soon as the money stopped flowing in, USHPA screamed bloody murder.   :roll:

If you read USHPA's letter carefully, you'll see that their real objection seems to be the loss of the 30 day membership money. That's the only thing that's actually changed recently.   :shock:

Disgusting on both sides.
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Rick Masters » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:58 pm

It's sad that USHPA nurtured this cancer in our sport and now that USHPA has lost its insurance, they're being kicked to the curb by the monster they've raised.

If anyone wants to cut through the smoke and know what's going on, there is no better source for the real deal than BobK.
I feel so sorry for a lot of you hang glider pilots today.
Your brains have been so screwed up by this subterfuge foisted upon you by soaring parachutists wishing to subvert your will for their profit, you don't know what to do.
And those well-meaning but deluded HG voices who persist in upholding today's twisted status quo are leading our sport to ruin.
You should listen to BobK.
He gets it.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
WE HAVE NO REPRESENTATION.

You don't want to go down that road after the USHPA.
They are clearly misguided and incompetent.
Seriously, the day is coming when you need to be able to say to the FAA, "It wasn't me."
So it is now time to form a new national hang gliding association that is proud to uphold the FARs.
We will split off from the USHPA for that reason.
Only that way can we ensure our own future.

Let the soaring parachutists sink or swim on their own merits as we watch from the sidelines.
Why let them drag us down with them?
They are parachutists.
They are not hang glider pilots.
We are.
We should stand on our own.
We can make our own decisions.
It worked the last time we tried it.

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A lot of foolish people think they're hang gliding with parachutes - but nobody ever thinks they're parachuting with hang gliders.
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:09 pm

Rick Masters wrote:If anyone wants to cut through the smoke and know what's going on, there is no better source for the real deal than BobK.
...
You should listen to BobK.
He gets it.


Thanks Rick. That really means a lot coming from someone with your long and distinguished background in the sport. I really mean that.

Rick Masters wrote:You don't want to go down that road after the USHPA.
They are clearly misguided and incompetent.
Seriously, the day is coming when you need to be able to say to the FAA, "It wasn't me."

What do you mean it wasn't you? We're 35 million miles away from the nearest person!!


Good point.      :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl:

Rick Masters wrote:We should stand on our own.
We can make our own decisions.
It worked the last time we tried it.


Amen.


FYI, the Aero Sports Connection Tandem Exemption is available here: http://www.aerosports.org/training/exemption-9785

I've included copies below as well.

FAA_Exemption_9785c_p1.jpg
FAA_Exemption_9785c_p1.jpg (171.42 KiB) Viewed 1291 times


FAA_Exemption_9785c_p2.jpg
FAA_Exemption_9785c_p2.jpg (172.79 KiB) Viewed 1291 times
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Re: USHPA Revokes Tandem Exemption from Air California Adven

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:50 pm

What's really going on here?
  (The story behind the headlines)

Someone was kind enough to send me some of the misinformation that's being posted behind the "Oz Curtain". It appears that there's all kinds of speculation about USHPA actually stepping up to do the right thing at Torrey. Let me set the record straight.

First off, if USHPA were suddenly "seeing the light" as to what's been going on at Torrey, they would start by apologizing to me - or at least silently renewing my membership and the Torrey Hawks chapter status. They haven't done either of those things and I don't expect they will. Their actions betray their words.

So what's really going on then? Why is USHPA suddenly taking such a public shot at Air California Adventure (ACA)?

The answer is simple and ugly: retaliation. The following sequence of events will make that clear:

  1. USHPA has known about ACA's violations at Torrey for at least 10 years. Yet they backed ACA for all those years.
  2. Region 3 Director Kuczewski reported violations to USHPA's Safety and Training and USHPA's EC as far back as 2010.
  3. USHPA didn't care and did nothing as long as Air California was paying them. For all those years USHPA backed ACA.
  4. But USHPA could not ignore the 2011 tandem violations by Brad Geary and Max Marien which went public (on video) in 2015.
  5. USHPA had no choice but remove the tandem ratings of Geary and (effectively of) Marien or the FAA might have revoked USHPA's exemption.
  6. Even then, USHPA still didn't pull the plug on Robin Marien or ACA, and it was business as usual. More money for U$HPA.
  7. But ACA went out and found another exemption so Max Marien (Robin's son) could continue to give tandem joy rides.
  8. That's when ACA stopped sending their joy ride money to USHPA. That's when U$HPA got mad.
  9. It wasn't until ACA stopped sending money to USHPA that USHPA fired their parting shot in the letter we all saw.

So USHPA didn't step in to fix a problem. They stepped in to retaliate against Air California Adventure because USHPA wasn't getting a cut of their joy ride money any more. That's what USHPA does. They don't fix problems, but they retaliate against anyone who they don't like at the moment. Last year it was me. This year it's Air California Adventure.

The sport of hang gliding deserves better ... both locally and nationally.
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