Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

South Central New York Hang Glider Pilots' Association

Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby wingspan33 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:44 pm

Yesterday would have been my first flight in July. Unfortunately I was prevented from flying by more than one club officer of Rochester Area Flyers. One of those club officers could easily be described as physically attacking me. I would state that the attack involved forcibly knocking a camera out of my hand as I was about to use it, in video mode, to document his assertion that I was not allowed to fly at the site in question. However, the land owner had given me permission on more than one occasion to both be on his property and to fly there.

I have contacted my local Regional Director as well as the the main office of the USHPA with the following message -

To whom it may Concern,

. . . I am an independent hang glider pilot, meaning that I am not a USHPA member. I was a member until 2013 and held a Master rating (issued in 1991).

I live in south central New York State and have permission from a local land owner to enter and fly from his property. He also allows the USHPA Chapter known as Rochester Area Flyers (RAF) to fly from his property.

Upon arriving there yesterday (Sunday 7/14/19) within a few minutes I was told by Rick Brown, an RAF club officer that he couldn't let me fly there. I decided to document his statement and produced my Sony Cyber Shot camera in order create a video record. Before I could even turn the camera on Rick Brown swung his hand at mine knocking the camera several feet away into some tall weeds. This angered me greatly and I shoved him at least twice. He returned his own shoves. I've never been in a fist fight but was almost triggered into beginning one because of Rick Brown's completely uncalled for act of knocking my camera from my hand. This is a $400 camera that he sent flying.

I forced myself to calm down and began looking for my camera. I still intended to video record my interactions with Rick Brown. Oddly, Rick Brown decided he would help me find my camera and actually found it before I did. He then gave it back to me. I very quickly turned it on and began video recording. The video goes for a few minutes and he does repeat that he won't let me fly at the site. He insists that I get a signed note from the land owner stating that I can fly from the property. At one point I ask him to show me his signed note from the landowner which said that I can't fly from the site. He had no good answer to that.

I stopped the video briefly (I don't know why) and started it back up. Near the end of the second section, Rick Brown repeats a couple times that (parphrasing here) he would put me on the ground if he had to, or words to that specific effect.

I left the flying site and drove the short distance to the landowner's home. He's a very busy farmer and when I found him he was working on a piece of heavy equipment. He was nice enough to speak with me while he worked. When I described what Rick Brown had said to me (That he wouldn't let me fly there) the land owner said "He has no authority to tell you that!" Then he told me to go back, fly and have a good time. I did not insist that the land owner write out a permission note and sign it. I just drove back up to the launch site.

Since I had no "note" both Rick Brown and now Katrin (don't recall her last name but she's another club officer) were both telling me I would be stopped from flying. And again violence was implied and/or specifically threatened. For that reason I decided to call law enforcement. They were not going to show up immediately so I once again drove down to tell the land owner that I had called the police and that they may want to talk to him at some point. He explained that he would be out bailing hay in a certain field if they needed to talk to him.

It ends up that two NYS Troopers showed up, one about 15 minutes after the other. The first one somehow got the land owner's cell phone number and talked with him. He eventually came over to me and explained that the land owner wanted things to cool down and the best thing would be for me to leave. Which I did do. As I left I found the landowner about to begin running the hay bailer and he repeated what the Trooper had told me, that it was just best to let things cool down today and that he would talk with me later in the week about things. It was obvious that the land owner was very busy and had no time to spend driving up to the launch site to straighten out the situation, or even spend 5 minutes writing up a "permission note" (for me to use his own land???).

I would mention here that at least twice Rick Brown and Katrin told me lies that the landowner had told them that he (the land owner or his significant other) had told me that I was not allowed to fly there. This was utterly contradicted by every contact I had with the landowner yesterday, and on at least two occasions in the recent and more distant past. It should be noted that I first flew the site in 1980.

This event has upset me greatly and I have suffered damage as a result. I was personally attacked, had expensive personal equipment violently knocked from my hand, and threatened with further possible violence. I was prevented from having a great day of flying - which I will never get back. Since there were many people out to fly yesterday (who at least partially witnessed the conflict) my reputation has been damaged for absolutely no good reason. The actions taken, especially by Rick Brown, were intentionally malicious and criminal in nature. My responses, physical and verbal were nothing but defensive in nature.

Since the USHPA tells Chapters to not allow non USHPA pilots to fly from their (insured) sites, it is, for all intents and purposes, endorsing the extreme action taken against me yesterday. Unless and/or until I get a written and signed public apology from the Rochester Area Flyer's complete "board of directors" as well as a statement from the USHPA that it DOES NOT endorse the extreme actions taken against me yesterday then the USPHA should consider that a Federal civil law suit is pending. And if the land owner decides it's best that I not fly from his land anymore then my civil damages will greatly increase.

Sincerely, [ . . . Me . . . ]

PS - The right thing for Rick Brown and/or Katrin to have done is to have driven down with me to talk with the land owner. That would have settled everything without conflict, in a civil and peaceful manner. Oh, and I proposed that to Rick Brown and he told me he wouldn't do it because it would cut into his flying time!

_ _ _ _ _ _

I think that it is important for members of the US Hawks to read the above and realize the seriously negative behavior that the U$hPa's "site insurance" situation effectively promotes. What happened to to me yesterday fits with violent gang behavior. It doesn't belong in the sport of hang gliding. :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby JoeF » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:14 pm

So sorry, Scott!
==============================
Petition:

Rick Brown,
You are grounded from that site for a year.
Take the time to mull over what you did to a highly experienced,
qualified, respected, and responsible master hang glider pilot.
==================
Signers of the petition:
Joe Faust
....
....
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View pilots' hang gliding rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby wingspan33 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:55 pm

Thanks Joe! I don't think I can sign your petition but I hope others will, electronically.

BTW - Joe, a number of years ago you joined the RAF's Google Group to help sort out a conflict I had with some of RAF's members. I thank you for that effort but it didn't work. In response to your basic "let's try to be friends" type post, Linda Salamone responded with a negative comment and a link to a document file. A very small excerpt from that document included this statement about me by Rick Brown -

Rick Brown wrote:Thu 3/26/2009 9:02 PM From Rick Brown to [RAF] BOD

I agree the gu[y] is a . s h i t . head and needs to be pounded . . .


Seems that he still has the same violent inclinations.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:14 am

JoeF wrote:So sorry, Scott!
==============================
Petition:

Rick Brown,
You are grounded from that site for a year.
Take the time to mull over what you did to a highly experienced,
qualified, respected, and responsible master hang glider pilot.
==================
Signers of the petition:
Joe Faust
....
....

Please add my name to your petition Joe.

From the description given, there was no justification for Rick Brown to have made contact with Scott.

I am, however, concerned that the RAF (likely backed by USHPA operatives) may try to convince the landowner to keep Scott from flying there. I sincerely hope that the landowner recognizes the gang-like behavior of those trying to keep Scott from flying.

This situation highlights the fraudulent nature of USHPA's insurance scheme. USHPA's "policy" is only good if EVERYONE flying at a site has purchased that same policy. What would an auto insurance policy be worth if it stated that it was only valid if everyone on the road had purchased that same policy from that same company? It would be worthless.

At any busy flying site, it's reasonably likely that one person might be flying with an expired membership. That one person would invalidate USHPA's insurance for everyone else - EVERYONE ELSE - leaving the land owner with no protection at all.

Compare that to a personally signed waiver between each pilot and the land owner. Those waivers are NOT invalidated by the actions of anyone else ... ANYONE ELSE.

If USHPA were smart (and you can bet that some of their insiders are smart), they would intentionally plant a few non-members at every site to invalidate their insurance 100% of the time. No more payouts from USHPA. There are no such loopholes in direct waivers such as the one we have with Los Angeles County at Dockweiler. Here's a copy of the Los Angeles County waiver for anyone who could use it.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:28 am

I shudder to realize the extent USHPA had me brainwashed in the past.
I carried wire cutters for nonmembers trying to fly Dry Canyon.
Rick Brown hasn’t yet seen the light.
A restraining order is warranted along with a subpoena of witnesses that stood around
and didn’t intervene. Let the the unspoken penalty of perjury weigh on their testimony
as a reminder they can’t as a club disassociate themselves from the unjust behavior
of other club members. A Restraining Order will have a chilling effect on the bravado of
other misguided pilots.
The paper trail on Rick Brown needs to be complete.
I recommend a signed copy of the NY RECREATIONAL HOLD HARMLESS ACT
be given to the land owner.
I am worried that this disagreement between pilots has come to the attention of the
land owner as often as it has.
Last edited by Bill Cummings on Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:39 am

Bill Cummings wrote:A restraining order is warranted ...

I agree with this completely. The thugs at Torrey (including Gabriel Jebb and Robin Marien) had a habit of putting their hands on people as part of their bullying and intimidation. I filed for restraining orders to keep both of them from touching me. The restraining orders were not granted, but comments from the judge gave them fair warning not to touch me again. They haven't touched me since.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby wingspan33 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:41 pm

Bill Cummings wrote:I shudder to realize the extent USHPA had me brainwashed in the past.
I carried wire cutters for nonmembers trying to fly Dry Canyon.
Rick Brown hasn’t yet seen the light. . . . I recommend a signed copy of the NY RECREATIONAL
HOLD HARMLESS ACT be given to the land owner. I am worried that this disagreement between
pilots has come to the attention of the land owner as often as it has.


Bill, I was the first person to ever give the land owner, what in NYS is called, the General Obligations Law. It contains all the non liability information that nearly all other states also have. I gave him that copy back in 2012 (or earlier). He'd never heard of it and was VERY happy to learn of its existence. At the time, he told me his neighbors thought he was crazy to allow hang gliding on his property but that the NYS non-liability law made all the (positive) difference.

And unfortunately, the land owner did learn of the dispute. I was the one who told him. He told me he would speak with me sometime this week about a resolution(?) but nothing so far.

Oh, and the wire cutter idea, . . . with the land owner's permission to fly there that would have been a very bad thing. In this case, I was first threatened before the glider ever came off the rack. And the comments seem to involve stopping ME bodily (one way or another) from flying. But who knows, maybe someone also had some snipers in their vehicle too.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby wingspan33 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:49 pm

Bob,

I thought of another example of you car insurance idea. Imagine a small privately owned airfield . . .

At this airfield there's a few guys who've pooled their money and bought a couple small private planes. They call themselves a "Flying Club". Well, they have insurance associated with their operations. However, one evening, when no one from the Flying Club is at the field, a pilot lands who has permission from the field owner to drop in. This visiting pilot spends the night at a local motel, and comes back the next day to continue on his journey.

As he prepares to depart, a couple of the "club" members approach him and tell him "You can't fly here!"

The visiting pilot says "What the heck are you saying?"

The club members respond "We have insurance but it only covers us and not you. So you can't fly here! Unless you join our club!"

Visiting pilot responds "That's a bunch of BS. I'm taking off and you've got no right to stop me!"

Club members reply "Just try and take off. We'll slash your tires before you even start your engine."



How much sense does this story make? Well, it makes no sense at all. It's very much like my situation this last Sunday. It's also like Bob's car insurance story since the "club" wants the visiting pilot to have the "same" insurance. But there's no such thing as a BIG private pilots club that you have to join in order to take off from "club authorized" flying fields.

I would also mention that the FAA does not require "insurance" for US citizens to transit the airways.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby wingspan33 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:54 pm

I would also add the following -

I just looked into the scenario of a private individual who acts, without legal justification, to restrict your movement (i.e., from an HG launch into the air). Came upon - False Imprisonment.

The common law tort of false imprisonment is defined as an unlawful restraint of an individual’s
personal liberty or freedom of movement. In order to constitute the wrong it is not necessary
that the individual be actually confined or assaulted.

It is to be noted that, there is no necessity in a false imprisonment case to prove that a person used
physical violence or laid hands on another person. It is sufficient to show that at any time or place
the person in any manner deprived another person of his/her liberty without sufficient legal authority.


I think there's very real criminal laws on the books for this type of act. Next stop - Look up NYS False Imp. laws.

In NYS it's called Unlawful Imprisonment.

New York Penal Law § 135.10: Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree

A person is guilty of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree when he restrains another person under
circumstances which expose the latter to a risk of serious physical injury.

Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree is a class E felony the maximum possible prison sentence
is 4 years.
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Re: Violent Confrontation with USHPA Chapter Officer

Postby dhmartens » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:37 pm

I am glad you did not fly that day after the incident. It sounds strange and trying to figure it out in the back of your mind as you try to launch would be a distraction. My take on the issue is ushpa black listed you after I posted the Hogans Heroes episode at shga.com onto a personal attack posting which violated forum rules and was taken down. The RRG is still a startup and they are trying to defend it at all costs. If I might take this opportunity to announce the creation of ushawks first privately owned flight park in Lancaster California. I personally witnessed the application of deed transfer and assurance of prop 13 property tax assessment for family transfer. I am open to letting ushpa and the ultralight group compete for affiliation. It is also my intention to seize the avenue L and avenue S launch sites. I will have more later.

Doug
p.s there is a man made thermal generator near by and yes there is a bulletproof monster that eats livestock in the area.
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