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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:02 pm

Looks like some of the pilots posting at the OZ Report are starting to see the light with the way the USHPA is running things.
For those that aren't able to get past the password here is an attempt (Copy/Past) of what I'm reading.
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Small Instructor Support Program
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Post Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 6:20:13 am
From the Foundation for Free Flight

http://www.ushgf.org/2017FFFISP.html

As a result of the new RRG Insurance program adopted by USHPA this year USHPA, PASA, and FFF have seen an adverse effect developing in free flight sport. Small, quality schools for free flight instruction typically run by one instructor schools are being impacted by the RRG implementation that threatens their capacity and drive to remain free flight instructors and keep their schools open.

As a supporter and partner in the RRG insurance movement, the FFF is interested in developing a instructor support program to assist helping struggling solo hang gliding and paragliding instructors. It's goal is to maintain a small instructor friendly environment and encourage solo instructors and small schools to participate in the USHPA's RRG insurance program in 2017 despite its operational procedures and costs that are now being put on them.

1. The program would pay out $500 to qualified USHPA instructors starting as soon as possible after February or March 2017.

2. Small USHPA schools or solo instructors must be certified by PASA and applying but not necessarily yet accepted by the USHPA's RRG insurance program to qualify for FFF grants.

3. Grants will be awarded from the FFF Safety and Ed Fund, which is one of the CORE funds in the FFF.

4. The FFF will payout a maximum of $33,000 toward this program in 2017. Actual payout totals will be based on numbers of applicants and financial need.

5. Instructors will be asked submit new FFF grant request form for this program that provides FFF with information about their eligibility and need. This program description and the new grant application form will be available on the FFF website in February. Grant request submissions are to be sent to the FFF Executive Director where they will be forwarded to the FFF Grant Committee for review.

6. Decisions to award or not to award will be at the discretion of FFF Grant Committee, which oversees FFF grant requests and finally voted on by the FFF Board.

PROGRAM FUNDING APPROACH:

Flat $500 Award Model:

A flat $500 award to any qualified instructor or small school that applies. This covers an instructor's or small school's $300 PASA application fee plus and additional $200 of additional funding for other various expenses they have.
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Andrew Vanis
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Post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 10:08:22 am
WOW, this is COOL!

Way to DO something about the issue rather than just complain about it.

What are the annual certification/insurance costs that a solo instructor school has?
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Brianscharp
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Post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 10:45:29 am
As a supporter and partner in the RRG insurance movement, the FFF is interested in developing a instructor support program to assist helping struggling solo hang gliding and paragliding instructors. It's goal is to maintain a small instructor friendly environment and encourage solo instructors and small schools to participate in the USHPA's RRG insurance program in 2017 despite its operational procedures and costs that are now being put on them.

http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.ph ... 811#392811
davisstraub:
RRRG.

Please, let's get this right for once.

At least we could come to an agreement on one thing.

This does not bode well. As a supporter, partner and apparent founder, they still don't know the name.Razz
https://recreationrrg.com/rrrg-our-story
Recreation Risk Retention Group, Inc. was formed in 2016 by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Inc., The Foundation for Free Flight, The Professional Air Sports Association, and several Hang Gliding and Paragliding Flight Schools, to protect free flight everywhere.
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Andrew Vanis
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Post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 12:18:29 pm
The Oz Report:
…This covers an instructor's or small school's $300 PASA application fee plus and additional $200 of additional funding for other various expenses they have.


so is the $300 app fee on top of the insurance costs on this chart?

BTW - the teaching days calculation is not straight forward as it counts the higher of students per day or number of days up to a limit. so if you have 4 students, in one day its 4 days, if you have one student 4 days, its 4 days. - fully explained here - http://www.pasaschools.org/small-school-info/

http://www.pasaschools.org/wp-content/u ... MATRIX.jpg
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Blindrodie
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Post I totally support this… Mon, Feb 20 2017, 5:36:04 pm
…but the fact is, the GOOD, lone wolf instructor will pass on this as well and just stick with what "we've" done all along. Learn from a good, local pilot via barter and love of the sport and maybe a little dough. It's the only way free flight has survived around here for decades. Hasn't killed anyone yet… Twisted Evil Actually seems to be helping of late. YMMV.

Cool
Jim

Tow me up. I'll find my way down
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Andrew Vanis
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Post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 6:28:55 pm
Also I'm unclear about:

PASA on its info page indicates its small business program is to facilitate/provide insurance for schools for which it is not economically feasible to go direct to the RRRG.

On the info page from this FFF grant on "how it works" they have this statement which indicates applicants would be applying to the RRRG…which seems counter to the PASA small school objective.

2. Small USHPA schools or solo instructors must be certified by PASA and applying but not
necessarily yet accepted by the USHPA’s RRRG insurance program to qualify for FFF grants.
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Angelo
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Post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Mon, Feb 20 2017, 7:00:09 pm
In the 80s and 90s, I ran a small hang gliding school at Warren Dunes, Michigan. Just me, teaching on a sand dune, max of 6 students a day, sometimes just one. From what I can make of this chart, which is not the easiest to figure, I would never have been able to afford, let alone make a profit from, teaching at those volumes, even with that $500 "grant".

35 years ago, I learned to fly from a one person hang gliding school. Many areas of this country that are great for flying cannot support a big school. The RRRG may help us in the short run, but it's cost on instruction may kill hang gliding in the long term.
I have from time to time scared myself. Even at the height of my powers, I was not in good health. But a furious metabolism preserves my physique, and I am considered a tribute to evil living. - Thomas McGuane, Panama
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Andrew Vanis
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New post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Wed, Feb 22 2017, 3:56:17 pm
Andrew Vanis:
What are the annual certification/insurance costs that a solo instructor school has?

Bump…

If I wanted to get into the HG instruction business, what would I be looking at as annual costs?
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Angelo
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New post Re: Small Instructor Support Program Wed, Feb 22 2017, 7:50:45 pm
An instructor I know told me it would cost him $1800 to meet PASA and RRRG requirements.
Like RM said: Hang gliding isn't dying out it's being murdered!
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Rick Masters » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:38 pm

Why would a lone wolf hang gliding instructor even want to be involved with the USHPA?
Involvement with USHPA destroys any financial incentive.
And the FFF dilutes any assistance it could provide to hang gliding with support for paragliding.
So what slice of that $33,000 would go to paragliding? $29,000 or the like, I'd think.
Murder or suicide, the victim's still dead.

NOTE: My friends taught me to fly for free.
All my money went for equipment.
If I had it to do over again, I would definitely go that route.
All this external crap reminds me of Obamacare.
The old ways worked better.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:15 am

Joe Greblo posted this:

http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44009&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=53

Greblo wrote:
20766430015660c8279645c.jpg
20766430015660c8279645c.jpg (11.08 KiB) Viewed 196 times


The Most Important Man in Hang Gliding

My thoughts on growing our sport take me in a different direction than asking how do we better promote our sport.

It could be argued that the most important man in the development of our sport is John Harris of Kitty Hawk Kites. Year after year he encourages and trains many young, goal oriented hang gliding instructors. He has single handedly produced more instructors in the last 40 years than the rest of the world combined. Many of the america's largest hg school owners began as instructors at Kitty Hawk Kites.

Even so, few of these young, new instructors choose to establish careers in hang gliding. Why? And if they don't, who will? 

The primary reasons for a shrinking hang gliding population are a reduction of both instructor talent and entrepreneurial economic opportunity.

Today there is little economic entrepreneurial opportunity in the hang gliding industry. For any person to consider a career as a hang gliding instructor, he/she would have to see a reason to invest time and money here, rather than some other other potential career. 

1. Over the years, more and more hang gliding schools and instructors have thrown in the towel and are not being replaced by new instructors. This means less and less effort, less and less capital expenditure, and less and less promotion is being directed towards getting students into our sport. We are past the "tipping point" on this downward spiral in new participation in hang gliding.

2. The average age of a hang gliding student is over 30. The average age of a hg pilot is well over 40. Most everyone in these age brackets that can afford the initial high costs of hang gliding, already has a job or career they are unwilling to give up for a risky, non-lucrative career in hang gliding. In addition, those in this age bracket are more likely to have already developed financial assets they are unwilling to risk with the potential accident liability in our sport. 

3. High school and college aged men and women generally can't afford thousands of dollars needed to learn to hg and purchase their gear, so we have a very small pool of potential entrepreneur instructors.

4. Training sites near large population bases are few and far between, further reducing entrepreneurial opportunity.

5. Already trained hang glider pilots have little incentive to promote or support hang gliding schools as these pilots find the instructional process is no longer necessary, and online equipment suppliers lacking the overhead associated with a school, can offer products at lower prices.

The million dollar question…what needs to be done?

At least the following 2 problems must be solved if we are have any significant effect on the future growth of our sport.

1. Find a way to reduce the cost of hang gliding training for high school and college students as they are the only ones likely to invest in hang gliding as a business opportunity.

2. Create entrepreneurial opportunities for young, goal oriented pilots to become flight instructors and school owners.

Although difficult and daunting, solutions are possible; but only if we recognize and confront the above obstacles and stop trying to resuscitate a dying system that lacks a foundation of talent and economic opportunity. 

While all the traditional, promotional efforts obviously have some merit, I believe new efforts need to focus on developing opportune business environments by subsidizing the cost of training of young pilots, and acquiring new training sites and flying sites. Those with experience and talents at fundraising and writing grant requests of industry and government are truly needed, as are those with interest and experience finding and opening new training sites. Schools and instructors should consider lowering their training rates for teens, serious about learning, as parents can't afford the high costs of instruction and equipment. This would also provide incentive for aerospace and other industries and governments to award grant moneys towards low cost training programs for the young.

A hang gliding school in southern California has experimented and had some success with 1/2 price lessons for teenagers that make strong commitments towards learning. 

Let me close by saying that I believe there is no greater need in the future of our sport than this one as I'm one who's close to retiring and see no one coming to take over my role as a producer of new pilots.


Joe's post was followed by another of Harry Martin's clever cartoons:

Harry Martin wrote:
father_and_son_204.png
father_and_son_204.png (235.63 KiB) Viewed 196 times


I think Harry's cartoon makes a valid point and speaks for itself. So I'd like to focus some attention on Joe Greblo's post.

Joe's post makes the assumption that paid instruction is the only path to growth in hang gliding. But is that really true? Let's examine the growth of hang gliding throughout its history and compare that with the codification of professional instruction.

It's my understanding (backed up by Bill Bennett's own testimony in "Big Blue Sky") that early "instruction" was friends teaching friends. That's the dynamic that can make a sport "go viral" as it did in the 70's. Hang gliding in those days spread by the very human excitement of sharing it with friends. The barrier to entry was very low. Contrast that with the bureaucratic system we have today where pilot to pilot instruction is so frowned upon that It's almost considered a criminal activity at some flying sites.

The best example I have from recent memory is the great pilot to pilot mentoring by the good volunteers (like Bill Cummings and Robin Hastings) in the RGSA (Rio Grande Soaring Association). I've personally witnessed new students being carefully guided by their senior pilots week after week. They do a fantastic job and they do it for the love of the sport. When they teach, they're not on any ticking time clock to make so much money per hour. And similarly, the students don't feel the need to 'get through it" as fast as possible to save the cost of yet another lesson. The pace is set by progress without money entering the picture.

It reminds me of how I learned to swim and to ride a bicycle. Both are dangerous activities, but I learned them both without any paid instruction (as well as skiing, sailing, fishing, snowboarding, driving, windsurfing, kite boarding, water skiing, surfing, checkers, chess, tennis, and ping pong). What do you think would happen to bicycle participation and sales if learning to ride a bicycle took even one tenth of the professional instruction that USHPA pushes on hang gliding students?

Now I can already hear the cries of horror: "Oh my God! Unpaid and unprofessional instruction? Oh the carnage! Oh the humanity!" Could it be any worse than the "professional" instruction/oversight that we've seen at Torrey Pines? They are routinely in the local news for accidents and deaths. Many of those accidents and deaths have been due to the overcrowding brought on by their business need to keep pushing new pilots through their "guppy mill". Furthermore, the so called "professional" instructors are often just regular pilots who want to make a buck while getting to fly. They are not the self-selected mentors who give their time for the love of the sport or the satisfaction of passing on their knowledge. There's a big difference and it does not favor the "professional" instruction model.

But here's the big question. Is the "professional" training model even sustainable? You could probably mandate professional bicycle instruction for every child and still have a thriving (though greatly diminished) bicycle market. Nearly every town (or county) would have enough business to support at least one "professional" bicycle instructor. But could you do that for, say, the sport of curling? How many towns would have enough people willing to spend money to support even one full time curling instructor? Doesn't that sound EXACTLY like what we're facing in hang gliding? And yet, rather than working to make instructing LESS burdensome, USHPA is doing the exact opposite by raising the bar and making it more difficult for people like Bill and the RGSA to turn out new "USHPA" pilots.

In conclusion, Joe Greblo's analysis is flawed because it's based on the assumption that growing hang gliding requires more support of professional instructors. That's not supported by the historical evidence, and it's not supported in comparison with other recreational activities. Indeed, USHPA's continued focus on the profits of their business owners has done the greatest harm to the sport (loss of observers, barriers to entry, loss of part-time instructors, etc). This needs to be reversed to reverse the decline. The efforts by Bill Cummings and the RGSA are in the right direction. The efforts of Joe Faust and the USHGRS are in the right direction. And the efforts of everyone who supports fairness and openness through the US Hawks are in the right direction.

Please feel free to quote this post anywhere that you can mention "U.S. Hawks" without getting censored (which is the other thing killing the sport of hang gliding).
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org
View my rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
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