and those that set the train in motion have enough tar/egg to follow them around and be remembered by
You keep acting like this is somehow an us versus them thing. This is why we can't have nice things...
A proposal was made by a few groups in response to information that indicated that regulation was coming. One of the groups was willing to share their proposal with the public. In fact, those in our group all agreed that it was not just a really good idea - but the whole damn point. If I have a self-criticism or a "lessons learned" for our group, it's that we didn't present it to the wingsuiting community earlier.
Lots of people don't like the proposal. They wanted something else or nothing at all. Personally, I'm totally cool with that - I think I told that to a bunch of you in PMs already. Here's why:
We made a well thought out product. We made a damn good - and original - first flight manual (I got to see a copy of a Birdman manual earlier today, I stand by my earlier statement that ours is NOT a copy of the Birdman manual. They teach the same stuff, for sure, but we didn't copy theirs and it doesn't even really look like we did, as had been previously asserted.) The First Flight Manual summarizes many of the best practices that we were able to gather from the instructors in the working group and their friends. Did you even read the First Flight Manual? It very easily could serve as a useful resource for non-USPA regulated wingsuiters (be they Phoenix Fly, Birdman, or independents). If - as I suspect - USPA makes no changes, we still have offered up a great resource to all wingsuit instructors, not just in the US, but everywhere. That's a pretty neat thing, and I'm proud to have played a small role in it.
We got the community talking about the pros and cons of regulation - and I think we pointed out a few problems with some instructors and methods of instruction (that's not a comment about any school or rating, it's a comment about the stories of, for example, instructors who weren't there for first flights). I think we stopped talking about whether there are "problem instructors" and started talking about how to deal with them. That's progress.
We got people talking about the importance of standardization - to make sure that all new wingsuiters learn everything that they need to know to do it safely and to have fun doing it. Again, that's a good thing.
The very people who didn't like the proposal are now talking about making a C license a requirement. Stop and think about that! That itself is change. (I'm not going to get into how it's inconsistent with the whole "Freeeeeedoooooom" argument that some of them used, but if the general consensus is that USPA requires a C license, that's cool. It might reduce the 99 jump wonders who put on a wingsuit, who knows.) Others who didn't like our proposal have suggested that wingsuiting instructors should have a coach rating. In my opinion, that's a good idea, too. Hell, it was part of our proposal! (Oh, and by the way, I'm a professional instructor and I would benefit from a coaching course were I to want to become a wingsuit instructor. Different skills are taught and learned in different ways. Just because I'm a good law professor doesn't mean I could teach yoga well.)
If Stokes' letter and the various proposals hadn't come about, I wonder how much we'd be talking about these subjects. My bet is not at all. So I think the net result is a good thing, no matter how it shakes out.
Bottom line is that the proposal stirred dialogue. It was meant to be presented to the wingsuiting community for just that purpose (see, e.g., the memo... you did read the memo, right?). So whether it gets adopted or not, I view it as a success.
So if that's tarring and feathering, I dig it - you need feathers to be a good bird anyway, right?
(This post was edited by Skwrl on Jul 7, 2009, 6:12 PM)