Forum rules
This forum is explicitly for submitting issues to the US Hawks Board of Directors.

If you would like to bring an issue before the Board, please read and follow the instructions posted in the topic titled: "Submittng Issues to the US Hawks Board of Directors" located in this forum.

US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Harry » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:28 pm

I'm not a board member, so I'm not sure where to post this, so I'll post it here anyway cause I believe it needs to be posted somewhere.

The question I have is, how did folks get ratings in the early days of the USHGA? I mean, really, how did we get raters, observers, staff, enough witnesses, etc. to issue ratings in the first place? I'd have to research this. I have the CD collection of Ground Skimmers et al, but it (ratings) had to start some where. People were flying without ratings. This is how the sport began, with nothing but new pilots skimming the ground. We watched each other and patted ourselves on the back, and we trusted our instructors (if you had a competent instructor) on each successful flight.

If I recall correctly, I got my H3 by launching from a cliff at Fort Funston. I made one or two turns and was required to land within so many feet of a designated target (LZ). In two tries, I nailed the target. A single off on my H3 and I didn't pay a dime more than my yearly membership. Was that a quality sign-off? Was that all there was to it in those days? Yep, it was.

Now, in my opinion, if you want quality ratings, or a higher standard, why not require two or more signatures to sign off on skills?
Why rely on one site, one signature for a rating? The fact of two signatures carries more weight than a single sign off. Granted, coordinating two signatures requires more effort on all parties, but is doable. Where I live now, finding an observer to sign me off on anything, takes an act of God. I would need to actively seek an observer to get a new rating. Hundreds of miles of travel and days of windshield time.

Another idea is one sign-off per site. Two sign-offs, two sites. Three sign-offs, even better. Example, an H3 gets a sign-off at Funston one weekend, the next sign-off at Kagel, meets a minimum flying time, say one flying season, triggers advancement to H4 for the NEXT flying season. Works for me. I got my H4 by flying at Torry. Go figure. Back then, I weaseled my way into flying on calm days. If I wasn't chased off, it was a good day for me. My observer acknowledged that I wasn't a hazard to other pilots, so he signed me off.

Sign-offs could be from any H4/H5 witness who happens to be around. There are plenty of H4/H5's drifting around to make this happen.
The next problem is verification. US Hawks would need to start and maintain a database. Doable. Either a competent volunteer or someday, a paid position. For now, a volunteer would suffice. These days, an H4/H5 could send an email to the database manager verifying the sign-off. The database manager then forwards the new rating to the pilot, a PDF certificate of some sort. Later, maybe a barcode that an app can read on a dataphone.

So this is what I propose:

H1: A single instructor sign-off. Pilot launches from the bunny hill and lands straight and level. No one injured.
H2: H1+ three new sign offs, three different flights, same signature or different H4/H5 signatures. Pilot completes flight with turns and lands safely each time.
H3: H1+H2+ three new sign-offs. Same criteria as above. Throw in some 360's, no crashes, no injuries, land in the designated LZ. No spots required as anyone can plant the nose into the ground to hit a spot, but should land in the LZ.
H4: H1+H2+H3 (for a whole new season)+ three new sign-offs. Fill in your own death defying skill, windy cliff, gentle slope, etc. The more added to the list of skills, the better to brag about.
H5: All the above plus maybe two or more flying seasons. Only a well seasoned pilot will qualify anyway. Have a board of H5's list the minimum skills and time requirements.
TANDEM: To be determined by someone better than me.

Launch the new rating system.

Think of it as an active digital log-book. If I was to get a sign-off on every flight I took/take from now on, does that not carry more weight over a current system of just mailing in a check to maintain a membership card that says nothing about current skills? Would not an active resume of skills outweigh a receipt that you paid your dues? If I had a sign off for every flight I ever took over the past 40 years of flying, it certainly would weigh more than my self-entered log book data that I currently maintain. In my opinion, an active hard copy log book with a digital backup carries more weight and has more value than a membership card (insurance receipt).

I may start doing that any way. I may ask fellow pilots to sign my log book from now on as witnesses to my flying skills. Best case is I make a lot of friends and collect a lot of signatures. Worst case, the minimum required signatures to obtain the rating.

Insurance may soon follow if US Hawks presents a higher quality product of rating system. Something to think about... ;)
Harry Martin
Fear is not boring, the stupid shall be punished
Harry
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:17 am
Location: Wild and windy Casper, Wyoming

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:57 pm

Hello Harry,

I think we talked about making you a US Hawks Board member if you're interested. From what you've just posted, you'd get my vote for sure!!!!

As a matter of book keeping, I've moved this topic into the "Issues for the US Hawks Board of Directors" forum, and I've left a link to it in the Ratings section so you can find your way here.

Your idea is very very very good. I have often wished that my USHPA ratings could have been signed by ALL of the instructors who helped me at each step of my progression. I really really really like this idea, and it fits nicely with Joe Faust's thinking as well.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Here's the only tricky part ...

If we want to present a strong argument for insurance, we'll have to be able to say that our ratings are at least as good or better than USHPA's. Your system is arguably better, but that takes the arguing. If we say are ratings are exactly equivalent to USHPA's ... because they were issued by USHPA, that doesn't require much arguing.

But that brings up another good point. Our ratings and our insurance (if we decide we need it) don't have to be identical. We can have ratings that specify pilot ability and ratings that are recognized by an insurance company. You can be rated as a Hawk4 but still not have an "insurance sign off" yet. What do you think?
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org
View my rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
Every human at every point in history has an opportunity to choose courage over cowardice. Look around and you will find that opportunity in your own time.
Bob Kuczewski
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 8153
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:40 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Rick Masters » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:04 pm

Harry, your ideas closely reflect mine. I think we need to do away with all the profiteering that has pulled the sport in the wrong direction and get back to the grassroots philosophy. The first thing I would do is offer all H4s in the Hawks the opportunity to quickly become official Observers by passing a written or online test. Do away with official "Instructors" and H5s all together.

Second, to do away (in a big way) with the following liability problems for our young organization, there will be no sanctioned tandem or formal instruction. Anyone taking payment for training does so as a private contractor and is not sanctioned in any way by the Hawks. No one who takes money for training is to be allowed to rate a pilot they trained. No tandem is sanctioned at all. No formal competitions. Let those folks stay in the USHPA and share their increased liability with paragliders. :shock:

H1: A single instructor sign-off. Pilot launches from the bunny hill and lands straight and level. No one injured.

Let H3/4s sign-off provisional ratings after 10 successful flights. An Observer can sign off, later.

H2: H1+ three new sign offs, three different flights, same signature or different H4/H5 signatures. Pilot completes flight with turns and lands safely each time.

Provisional sign-offs by H3/H4s. Sign-off by official Observer, later.

H3: H1+H2+ three new sign-offs. Same criteria as above. Throw in some 360's, no crashes, no injuries, land in the designated LZ. No spots required as anyone can plant the nose into the ground to hit a spot, but should land in the LZ.

Provisional sign-offs by H4s. Six month minimum tenure including summer. An H3 rating requires a written test on site protocols, safety procedures and FARs administered by an Observer for the license application.

H4: H1+H2+H3 (for a whole new season)+ three new sign-offs. Fill in your own death defying skill, windy cliff, gentle slope, etc. The more added to the list of skills, the better to brag about.

Provisional logbook sign-offs by 2 H4s and an Observer for the license application.

H5: All the above plus maybe two or more flying seasons. Only a well seasoned pilot will qualify anyway. Have a board of H5's list the minimum skills and time requirements.
TANDEM: To be determined by someone better than me.

We don't need to go there.
Hawks should officially recognize hang gliding as a solo sport.
Anyone flying tandem is not flying as a Hawk.
For the Hawks, an H5 is not meaningful.
Keep it simple like this and we will land an affordable insurance policy.

You can be rated as a Hawk4 but still not have an "insurance sign off" yet. What do you think?

This is an entirely separate issue from ratings. Hang gliding and paragliding insurance is public liability insurance only. I have only bought it to stage competitions. If a landowner requests it, you're stuck, but remote flying sites on public lands hardly need it. As JoeF has pointed out, if we get our own insurance, we cannot legally be prohibited from flying at USHPA regulated public sites.
Rick Masters
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:11 am

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:42 pm

"Harry, your ideas closely reflect mine. I think we need to do away with all the profiteering that has pulled the sport in the wrong direction and get back to the grassroots philosophy. The first thing I would do is offer all H4s in the Hawks the opportunity to quickly become official Observers by passing a written or online test. Do away with official "Instructors" and H5s all together."


"Second, to do away (in a big way) with the following liability problems for our young organization, there will be no sanctioned tandem or formal instruction. Anyone taking payment for training does so as a private contractor and is not sanctioned in any way by the Hawks. No one who takes money for training is to be allowed to rate a pilot they trained. No tandem is sanctioned at all. No formal competitions. Let those folks stay in the USHPA and share their increased liability with paragliders."


The quotes above, from Rick, I really like.
In recent years I've been mentoring people that have an interest in hang gliding. I do this for free.
I tell them that I'm not an instructor but I will show them how I fly and that they can watch, ask questions and learn from being around flying.
If they want to try running with a glider on the flat and then backing up the training hill one yard at a time I will tell then what technique I use to arrive correctly at the end of the run. I have put in hundred of miles of driving time to meet with interested people.
I don't sell them anything.

They advance at their comfort level and if I feel they are going to advance themselves too quickly I start putting on the brakes by telling them what the dangers are. What history the sport has revealed to us.
No one has been hurt while I've been watching people advance themselves in this manner.
Bill Cummings
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3349
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Las Cruces NM 88005 (Region 4)

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal H4nomo

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:17 pm

Hawks,
I had a call from a 30 plus year USHGA/USHPA H4 pilot. I'll keep the pilot anonymous for now.
The pilot received a USHPA renewal notice. If I understood correctly it said, "H4 no more," where pilot's are to sign their name then send $150.00
The pilot will soon in fact be known as H4 no more. The pilot has signed on with the US Hawks.

If and when this pilot asks for a Hawks rating I will be able, as a Trial Board Member, to vouch for this pilot's flying abilities.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Soon I'll be at my renewal date.
Bob talked me into staying on and advocate for the needed change of direction at the U$hPa. My emails to three directors hasn't done anything about correcting the expulsion problem at the USHPA.
I will really be throwing good money ($150.00) after last years bad money ($99.00) so Bob's silvery tongue will really have to wag this time if I'm to waste any more money.
I set up an account in my check book. Instead of sending it off to U$hPa. I'll save said money for the time when members of the US Hawks have need of donations, "To promote, protect, and serve recreational hang gliding in the United States. = Mission Statement of U. S. Hawks Hang Gliding Association. (special thanks to JoeF)
Bill Cummings
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3349
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Las Cruces NM 88005 (Region 4)

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Rick Masters » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:59 pm

I will really be throwing good money ($150.00) after last years bad money

Image
U$hPA will need that money to go after other U$hPA members who threaten to form a better national hang gliding organization.
Look how much "they" (you U$hGA hang glider pilots) spent to punish the last guy who tried it.
I still don't get it.
There is no way a single cent of membership funds should ever have been spent on anti-competitive action.
I think that was pretty clearly illegal, as well. (Shows you the quality of their legal advice, huh?)
America was built on competition.
American citizens thrive on competition.
And what is coming next?
That U$hPA ship has lost its rudder.
Every dollar sent is a vote for the continuance of this wrong-headed stuff.
Every dollar withheld is a vote for change.
Rick Masters
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:11 am

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:21 pm

RickMasters wrote:America was built on competition.


This is a very profound statement - more so than most people realize. A contrast might help bring it into focus.

Imagine that you were king of the United States, and as King you would oversee all products and services provided to the citizens. You would want to provide them with hamburgers, so you would have a Ministry of Hamburgers. You would want to provide them with automobiles, so you would have a Ministry of Automobiles. You would want to provided them with hang gliding, so you would have a Ministry of Hang Gliding.

Now let's suppose that you're a really really good king, and you sincerely want to provide the best products and services possible. In other words, assume that you're not corrupted in any way. How in the world will you be able to manage all the Ministries of every aspect of human life (housing, food, health care, computers, transportation, books, television...)? How will you know if the hamburgers being provided are good or not? People will always complain about something, so what kind of bureaucracy would you need to determine if each little complaint was justified or not and what should be done to fix it? It's an insurmountable task, and the bureaucracy needed to do it - even close to right - would be so burdensome that it would crush your kingdom.

The genius of competition is that every single consumer - who is right there at the point of delivery of every product and service - is empowered in making those determinations and those decisions. And they make their decisions not because "it's my job and I have to do it", but because it's in their best interests and they really really want to do it. They have a vested interest in making the right decision every time. That level of commitment can't be duplicated by a bureaucracy regardless of how well-intentioned it might be.

And then there's the issue of corruption. Everything I've said so far assumes a sincere and honest king who is able to magically create a bureaucracy of similarly sincere and honest civil servants. How likely is that? Right. It's virtually impossible.

So what has made our country great is the ability to distribute the decision making authority to each and every consumer who is empowered with one thing ... choice.

A monopoly such as USHPA has no competition, and so they get no feedback as to whether they're doing the right thing or not. They have no way to observe the ebb and flow of membership that might choose alternatives ... because there are none. Without choice, even the best intentions are blind to see what is really needed. That's what made America great.

Thanks, Rick for making that excellent excellent point.

Having said all of that, I do think that it can be helpful for us to have some members who are also members of USHPA. This is especially true because USHPA will try to discredit the complaints of non-USHPA members: "Oh, that guy ... he's not even a USHPA member". That may sound like a ridiculous criticism to us, but it will sway some. I am often tempted to think less of those who would be swayed by such shallow arguments, but the reality is that there are large segments of good people who just don't have the time to consider these issues to the depth that we have on this forum. They're not bad people. They're just people who haven't given it enough thought. I don't think we can afford to disregard them.

Also, as many of you know, Bill wrote an excellent letter to my Regional Director Ken Andrews advocating for a reversal of my expulsion so I could continue to fly at all the sites I've flown for the last 10 years. It would be much easier for Ken to dismiss Bill's letter if Bill were not a USHPA member, so again, I see some value in people remaining as members ... even though it seems they're being ignored.

But above all of that, I want to sincerely thank Rick and Bill and all members of the US Hawks for an effort that I believe will eventually save the sport of hang gliding. Thanks!!!!
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org
View my rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
Every human at every point in history has an opportunity to choose courage over cowardice. Look around and you will find that opportunity in your own time.
Bob Kuczewski
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 8153
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:40 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:15 pm

Thanks for the input. I've started emailing local pilots for their advice because I see both (Rick's and Bob's) positions worthy of consideration.
USHPA has been too far off of the rails for so long that I wonder what is it going to take?
If we get this train wreck back on the rails with the RRG effort will the rails take the train in the same direction? Will the end of the line have us paying $1,000.00 for a years ticket only because we refused to uncouple and sidetrack the overloaded cars that are slowing us down?
Let the business cars, school cars, and insurance cars couple up to a different engine.
Let's stop our train at the recreation hill where the land owners and managers are protected from prosecution by the, Hold Harmless Acts in each state.
As MGF on the OZ Report Forum pointed out that Hold Harmless Acts do not stop a law suit. Let me point out that nothing will stop a lawsuit. Not even an RRG which more likely would inspire a lawsuit.
Is a lawyer more likely to go after putting a lean on a family car and house; or is it more likely the lawyer will go after a two million RRG nest egg?
As far as loosing my H4 rating--
Contrary to what greedy people think not paying your USHPA dues does not mean you will forget everything you had learned and been rated for. Just do your best to stay current. Safety is what matters not money going from you to someone else. If it mattered the FAA would say so. If they ever do - it would be a mandated lie. (Just another prophecy.)
Bill Cummings
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3349
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Las Cruces NM 88005 (Region 4)

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Frank Colver » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:58 pm

We need a group of hang gliding attorneys to form a pro bono organization to handle suits against landowners, at no cost to them. After several lawsuits get thrown out, because of the landowner liability protections, then they could just present some "boiler plate" papers to a judge to get cases thrown out, without a lot of work on the attorney's part.

There could also be some donations to help with the attorney's out of pocket expenses.

Frank C.
Frank Colver
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 1285
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 11:21 am

Re: US Hawks Rating System Proposal

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:43 pm

by FC
There could also be some donations to help with the attorney's out of pocket expenses.

Attorney's for HG pilots and not insurance companie$. That DOES sound like, "To promote, protect, and serve recreational hang gliding in the United States." I would donate toward those expenses.
Bill Cummings
User avatar
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3349
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Las Cruces NM 88005 (Region 4)

Next
Forum Statistics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Options

Return to Issues for the US Hawks Board of Directors