u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon May 20, 2019 9:54 am

There's been a discussion of the Governance Proposal on paraglidingforum.com.

A number of HG pilots were arguing against the proposal. It's not clear to me whether this particular issue should fall along HG/PG lines or not. But it reminds us of the important reality that if there were a clearly HG/PG issue being decided within USHPA, the HG side will always lose ... even in what we think of as our own association. That's the consequence of an organization trying to serve two masters.

The U.S. Hawks and the Torrey Hawks have both been started to ensure that hang gliding can have its own voice. This does not fit well within USHPA's plan, and that's why it was the first item listed in my expulsion:

USHPA wrote:The behavior upon which the board has determined that you should be expelled from the association falls into the following categories:

    1. Creation of at least two national hang gliding organizations with the stated purpose of competing with USHPA, one of which you currently control;
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun May 26, 2019 1:08 pm

In an Oz topic titled : A small business instructor responds

Insulted
Luke Waters writes:


"1) Developed and implemented a Foundation For Free Flight Grant system for a $500 award for anyone successfully completing PASA certification to offset initial costs."

Just a partial refund. Being certified by PASA is required before you can apply purchase RRRG insurance. I know of no other small aviation organization that charges it's members to be pay and be approved by a 3rd party organization before they can then even get an insurance quote or apply.

"2) Reduced the cost of SBSF PASA dues 18% between 2016 and 2017."

Reducing this cost is of little benefit to instructors, when by all accounts instructors should not be burdened with this cost in the first place.

Who runs PASA? How are they are related to the RRRG and the policies imposed? Is there another method to be approved to buy the RRRG insurance without paying PASA?

I think the answers are; PASA is run by a small group of people, those people are heavily involved in the RRRG and the RRRG policies, and there is no other accepted approval method to get the RRRG insurance.

"3) Increased the number of flight schools with risk and safety management plans and commercial liability insurance operating in the US from (9) 2014 to 66 in 2018."

This is misleading at best. The reality is under the old system there were only 9 schools in the country that required a special commercial liability policy, usually required by the state or feds that managed the land they operated from.

Now under the new USHPA policy, all instructors working for pay must be insured under the new RRRG commercial policy. So to say it went from 9 schools to 66 schools as a way to say the new policy somehow created more schools and is growing the sport is misleading at best. It was a policy change that lead to those numbers, and overall there are many less schools and instructors under new policy.

"4) Kept open approximately 250 hang gliding sites nationwide that would have closed without landowners insurance."

Another very misleading quote at best. The truth is the USHPA site liability insurance policy was [unknowingly] abused by many clubs over the last several decades. In many cases USHPA site insurance was used as a first level initial negotiating tool to access a site. Of course land owners presented with an option to insure would opt to have the site insured. But in reality many of these sites could have been flown without insurance, and still could be.

"Virtually every school we insure has experienced steady growth over the last three years except for two of the largest hang gliding operations. Many small hang gliding operations have experienced year over year increases."

That is absolutely despite the costs in time and money imposed by PASA/RRRG, and to take credit for the hard work of those schools and instructors is absurd!

"The small hang gliding schools that you lost refused to do 10 hours of homework and invest less than $1000 to continue to grow in a professional environment. Instead they quit. And that's our fault?"

This is the quote that really stands out to me, and is what brought me here to make this post.

This is an absolute lie and extremely insulting to the hard working instructors and schools that had to hang it up under the new USHPA policies.

In no other form of small business commercial aviation is there the paperwork and bureaucratic requirements to obtain insurance as there is with PASA/RRRG. PASA/RRRG requires not only extremely detailed operational documentation, but site documentation for every site to be flown that is simply too much of a burden for small time instructors that teach at multiple sites. As you go through this paperwork it becomes obvious this is not in place to increase safety in any way, it is solely there to reduce USHPA exposure to liability.

Secondly, the price, where exactly did you get the $1000 quote? The reality is USHPA wants to charge a percentage of GROSS profits. Again, in no other insurance have I experienced this type of premium fee structure. In all other cases premiums are dictated by the associated risks, not by how much money someone is making.

Of course this system rewards flights schools with low operating costs like PG foot launch while placing higher burden on schools with higher operating costs. Is it a surprise very few hang gliding aerotow operations are not RRRG insured? No flight instructors are doing this for the money, but we do need to be able to make a living.


On page 1, Ben Reese posted:

Ben Reese wrote:...

Torrey Pines Glider Port "ACA" is a continuing example of why this has not worked.
Further, there would be no insurance crisis without their gross negligence.
Yet further, it is convient that Bob K. was so perfectly painted as a reason for this crisis.

He publicly warned about poor practices of ACA, and not the only voice.
He did not approach them to testify.
He did not want to testify at 1st.
He did not lie in court.

His stand against ACA and his testimony was a Cardinal reason for his expulsion in 2015.

There were many warnings before the 1st Crisis in 2013 at ACA
Continued warnings before the current crisis in 2019 at ACA.

Before the earliest date 2013 going back more than 5 years and between
this 2019 current year. Clearly more than 12 years of stern warnings!
What has USHPA done to protect us from this one mega school?

Expell Bob K.
Allow ACA to get an independent commercial policy!
Otherwise their rate would be really high compared to other schools since their
revenue is so high.. That Margin thing again…. Oh, and our losses..
Some instructors got disciplined also.. Is it really a few instructors or a culture?

If the FAA directly managed the tandem commercial ratings, it would end the bending
of the rules that got us in so much trouble with ACA and currently threatens our
Tandem Waiver.. When you carry passengers, it's a big deal…

Lastly, Para Gliding and Hang Gliding are different skills and different aircraft.
They need different rules, Period..

I do not trust our BOD to manage these things anymore.

1. Tandem Waiver.
2. HG Instructor, School needing multiple site policies.
3. Governance under new Reform or the Old rules which got us to this..
4. A bi-wing organization combining HG and PG, forcing we share the risk evenly.

USHPA failed to listen and act on info that has been a constant topic for HG since RRRG.
The many letters and posts from Hang Gliding's best most successful people right here
proves it.

USHPA put Governance Reform as the top priority despite these warnings.
A mega failure or a succes for the take-over crowd. We will see?

This tells you all you need to know.
The attempts to placate us with how well the PG's are doing, along with "Hope and Change";
Alan's attempt to put his finger in the gapping hole in this DAM is further proof.

We need to start over at USHPA and begin some recall elections!

The sooner the better.


The discussion covered many good points, and on page 6, Luke posted:

Luke Waters wrote:Please don't take my comments out of context. In no way am I advocating that USHPA splits.

My comment is that the RRRG is poorly structured in the way it charges insurance premiums. The RRRG charges premiums based on the school's gross income, thereby punishing schools that have higher operating costs with lower relative net profits. Aerotow hg vs foot launch pg is just an example of how the fees are not structured fairly.

The insurance company should charge based on risk, not based on income (especially not on gross income).

This isn't a HG vs PG thing. I think splitting USHPA would be a major mistake, mostly for HG.

In the big scheme of aviation, PG and HG are practically the same thing.
HG pilots calling PG the enemy make us all look like fools.
HG pilots calling PG the enemy do more damage to HG than to PG.

This argument shouldn't be about splitting HG from PG, it should be about splitting USHPA from the RRRG.
-Let instructors instruct without insurance when it's not required.
-Make it easy and cheap for instructors to teach at USHPA sites like it was a few years ago.
-Don't leverage the tandem exemption for insurance money.


If I were able to post on "Oz", I'd reply with ...

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Luke wrote:In the big scheme of aviation, PG and HG are practically the same thing.

Hang gliding doesn't live or die in the big scheme of aviation. It lives or dies at each little site where we struggle to fly and grow. PG isn't the enemy, but it's foolish to not recognize it as a competitor. The PG takeover at Torrey has been the perfect example. New potential HG pilots have been told lies like:

    - "HG can only fly here a few days a year." (answer to a phone inquiry)
    - "All the professional people are into paragliding." (in person to a student)

Those are documented statements (one from a USHPA Regional Director :shock: ).

Luke wrote:HG pilots calling PG the enemy make us all look like fools. 
HG pilots calling PG the enemy do more damage to HG than to PG.

No one is calling anyone "the enemy", and both sports should try to work together as they do in the RGSA (a good example of local HG/PG cooperation). But sharing a single national organization means there's no dedicated representation for hang gliding (or paragliding) when either sport needs it.

For example, there's a 7 member organization in San Diego called the "Torrey Pines Soaring Council" which is supposed to represent all soaring user groups. Why has it consisted of 2 PG pilots, 2 SP pilots, 3 RC pilots, and 0 (yes zero) HG pilots in recent years? USHPA has been a member of that Council since the 1970's. In those early days there were 2 HG pilots and 0 PG pilots (because there were no PG pilots at that time). How did that get turned upside down to where there have been zero HG pilots? If HG and PG were in different associations, do you think the HG association would have given up its representation on that Council to PG? Of course not. The HG organization would have kept its 2 representaives, and 2 more would have been added for PG. But USHPA allowed both of those former HG representatives to be PG pilots because USHPA backs the PG business at Torrey. Would a HG association have done that? No. More recently, USHPA lost its insurance immediately after the settlement of a PG lawsuit at Torrey. Two months ago 2 more PG students were killed at Torrey. How can that be helping hang gliding?

The two sports might be able to exist in one organization if that organization were consciously and conscientiously working to ensure that both sports are treated equally. USHPA has not demonstrated that willingness or capacity. Torrey is "the canary in the coal mine" for predicting the future of hang gliding under USHPA's "protection".

If you want to save hang gliding, and if you want USHPA to think twice about throwing hang gliding under the bus, then say so by joining and supporting the U.S. Hawks at https://ushawks.org. It's a free national organization dedicated to supporting recreational hang gliding in the United States. They have 10 Chapters from coast to coast and their 5 member Board of Directors is 100% dedicated to hang gliding.
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun May 26, 2019 2:36 pm

Update: Luke subsequently moderated his post to read:

Luke Waters wrote:Please don't take my comments out of context. In no way am I advocating that USHPA splits. 

My comment is that the RRRG is poorly structured in the way it charges insurance premiums. The RRRG charges premiums based on the school's gross income, thereby punishing schools that have higher operating costs with lower relative net profits. Aerotow hg vs foot launch pg is just an example of how the fees are not structured fairly. 

This isn't a HG vs PG thing. I think splitting USHPA would be a major mistake, mostly for HG.


Luke's updated post is more defensible, and it makes his objection (charging based on gross income vs. net profit) more clear. However, he still comes to the conclusion that a split would be bad. Here's how I would respond as a U.S. Hawks advocate:

Hi Luke,

As your assertion suggests, it's not clear whether a "split" of USHPA would help or hurt hang gliding. However, it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Joining the U.S. Hawks is free and it doesn't require quitting USHPA. It does make a statement that hang glider pilots might someday (soon?) have a viable alternative to USHPA. That statement alone is well worth the price. Did I mention it's free?
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun May 26, 2019 6:11 pm

Ben Reese just added another good post to the discussion:

Ben Reese wrote:Luke, never said your post made an intention to split the Org. It does as does many other postings add to the reasons why splitting is an ever growing option.

I do not beleive that this Governance Take-over would ever be proposed if it weren't for the PG population in USHPA. If you don't buy that then you have to agree it would never pass if it weren't for the PG population voting for it. By far its HG pilots who oppose this..

Until this take-over attempt I was still for a dual Org. That is the straw that broke my support of this dual Org. If the Take-over fails I will be less an advocate for the split.

But I beleive the damage is done and ultimately a split will occur. Maybe it will be an alternative that shares our flying sites. Many pilots are done nursing USHPA and being manipulated by false crisis and fear management. Many major HG schools are preparing for an alternative.

If they keep including speed wings and mini wings it will lead to wing suits. That will split the Org further.

USHPA could save itself but some of the BOD and EC have got to go…

B R


Here's my suspicion. I think the vote will "magically" turn out to be whatever the USHPA insiders want it to be. I personally know of cases where votes were selectively not counted for bogus reasons. There's nothing to stop that from happening this time around.

If the new proposal passes, it will be because the "USHPA insiders" wanted it.
If it doesn't pass, it will be because the "USHPA insiders" didn't want it.
It's as simple as that.

At this point, the USHPA insiders have a "win-win" situation for themselves. If the proposal passes, then they get the concentration of power that they want. If it doesn't pass, then they will have the renewed loyalty of many (like Ben?) who will falsely feel that defeating this governance proposal will somehow fix the long-standing problems in USHPA. It won't. It will still be the same corrupt USHPA with the same corrupt (or lazy) Board members who lost USHPA's insurance in the first place. It will be the same corrupt (or lazy) Board members who approved the exorbitant salary for Martin Palmaz in the first place. It will be the same corrupt (or lazy) Board members who voted to expel me for my testimony as an expert witness. That includes Mark Forbes, Tiki Mashy, and everyone in between.

Don't be fooled by this "fire drill" no matter how it turns out. It's just a diversion to keep anything from really changing.
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue May 28, 2019 8:02 pm

A number of people have reported the governance proposal as passing.

From what I've been reading, most HG pilots were against it. It would be interesting to see how the vote broke down along HG/PG voters.

As I've said a few times, I don't think the outcome matters that much since USHPA has been controlled by a small handful either way. This just makes it official. Maybe that will be a wake up call for some folks ... or maybe not.      :roll:
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby wingspan33 » Tue May 28, 2019 8:18 pm

A vote is either under way or the topic (one way or the other) has been voted for by the majority of voters. Unless the vote has ended and votes tallied then what the "voting" is indicating is more or less moot.

Does anyone know for sure when voting is ending, or if it has already has ended? I have not yet heard a definitive end date for this U$hPa vote.
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby dhmartens » Wed May 29, 2019 9:52 am

The vote passed 1484 to 1400
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed May 29, 2019 12:01 pm

Bob Kuczewski wrote:If the new proposal passes, it will be because the "USHPA insiders" wanted it.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:Don't be fooled by this "fire drill" no matter how it turns out. It's just a diversion to keep anything from really changing.

The best thing about this proposal is that it reveals the USHPA that has existed for decades. It's been a very small core of rotten apples running the organization. At least now they've made it official.
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby SamKellner » Fri May 31, 2019 4:29 pm

:(
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Re: u$hPa BOD Reform Vote

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:31 am

Breakdown of vote by region and wing type:

VoteByRegion.png
VoteByRegion.png (61.73 KiB) Viewed 966 times


VoteByWing.png
VoteByWing.png (82.62 KiB) Viewed 966 times


Notice that USHPA's inclusion of the blue "Total" bars helps obscure the differences of opinion in these graphs.
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