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baronn

BOD Meeting July 2018

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michaelmullins

******Most non GM DZ's require you to be a USPA member so you have the 3rd party liability insurance. I don't necessarily agree with the GM concept but there is a practical reason for DZ's to require membership. I doubt that if USPA dropped the requirement that many DZ's would follow suit.



I never really understood the need for skydivers to have liability insurance. Liability against what? The scenario I was given when I asked was if someone pounded into a car on landing, damaged it and the owner sued the skydiver, the USPA's insurance would cover the tab. That sounds like an exceedingly rare scenario. Like, so rare it's probably never happened. In any case, umbrella insurance costs around the same as the USPA membership, but covers all your activities, not just skydiving, and is much more broad in scope allowing for far greater coverage. If you want to protect yourself from liability while skydiving, there are certainly better products out there.

Anyway, can anyone cite an actual example of when a skydiver used the USPA's liability insurance benefit?

Rare?? Hardly!!! I can guarantee you that there have been many, many cases just like you describe.

Here are a few:

Skydiver pulls up to a new DZ, parks his van in the parking lot. Soon after, one of their students lands on top of the van, crushing the roof. USPA insurance paid.

Skydiver has his car parked in another DZ parking lot, experienced jumper goes through back window, USPA insurance pays.

Skydiver has his car parked behind the DZ fuel tanks so that to hit his car a jumper would have to fly above the tanks, go through a 20', 2", steel vent pipe to get to the car. Skydiver did just that, USPA insurance did not pay as jumper was not a member.

A group of 6 skydivers hanging on the side of a King Air blow the exit and one destroys a $5,000 flap. USPA paid.

How can I be sure that all of the above actually happened? Easy, it all happened to me.

And, as a member of the Membership Committee, I have seen all the accidents that USPA insurance has paid for over many years and I could name a lot more.

BTW, there is no other insurance available to a skydiver that will pay for the damage he causes, and if not for the availability of this insurance many DZs would not exist at public airports, and without the USPA demo insurance, there would be very few demos. The insurance alone is a bargain that is worth your entire membership fee.

The cost of the insurance to USPA varies, it has been about $250,000 per year, this year we have had a carrier change and it went down to $240,000. That works out to about $6.00 per member, per year, or about the cost of a burger at McDonald's.

Mike Mullins
USPA National Director

Cool, thanks for the info. Interesting to know.

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I have been reading the complaints that the BOD does not care about the jumper, that we are only for the big DZs, that we do things on the spur of the moment that is detrimental to your particular view of things, etc.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

First, USPA is not a democracy, it is (just like the USA) a republic. You elect your representative to the board, the board makes the decisions. Just like you elect your Representative or Senator in the US Government.

A true democracy would have every member voting on every decision, and, just as in the US Government, this would not work.

As for how your BOD works, we follow our By-Laws and Robert's Rules of Order, as does virtually every other organization.

I have read all your complaints about "surprise" actions you did not like, and how you were not consulted, and how you had no say. Wrong.

Before any change to our BSR, SIM, Licenses, or most anything can happen, it must be put on the Agenda for a USPA BOD Meeting, and it will appear on the Agenda for the appropriate Committee. It will be discussed in Committee, the meetings are open to any member, any member can speak and give his opinion, or any member can write, email, or contact anyone on the Committee to give his opinion. If the item passes the Committee, it is then presented to the full BOD for a final vote.

Foe example, the currently much discussed in this thread changes to USPA licenses to meet FAI standards. This was on the Agenda of the Safety & Training Committee well before the meeting, it was:

Item #4: "License Requirements- To meet the equivalent of an FAI license, USPA needs to add or change a few requirements to the USPA A B and C license requirements."

The agenda was published on the USPA website for all USPA members, or anyone, to see. Also on the website are a list of the Committee members with all their contact information.

I would like to know, of those who did not like this particular change, who went to the agenda to actually see what your representatives were discussing? Who contacted anyone on the Committee to ask about this change or to give your input? Who asked what the hell is this change?

And, the agendas for all the other Committees were also on the website. Any change, or discussion of a change, is listed on every Committee agenda for all to see. We cannot do anything that is not proposed in advance for the membership to see.

Any comments from any members on anything we discuss are presented to the committee. There were some comments from those members attending the meeting but there were no comments or questions sent from anyone else.

So, some bitch about decisions that they do not like but made no effort to actually see what your BOD is discussing and comment on it, or ask for explanations, before the meeting.

If you make no input before a decision, do not complain about the decision, and especially do not complain "where did this come from".

If you want your voices to be heard, do your homework.

Mike Mullins
USPA National Director

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Either:

1. Remove the GM program
2. Remove the requirement that GM DZ's require USPA membership



The real bottom line why DZOs require membership? Well, as I see it, DZOs are generally quite committed to the sport and industry. They believe, correctly in my view, that strong national associations are good for the sport. That also know that someone has to pay to keep them funded. So most of them agree to the system that forces you to either join, or jump somewhere that does not care about the sport that much. (Or a DZO that just can't be bothered)

Most skydivers understand this basic fact and just pay for a membership. Some people would prefer a free ride, or they strongly disagree with some of the rules and complain about it.

But DZOs are older and wiser in general. So just pay up or open your own DZ. It is set up the way it is in order to force skydivers to fund the organization. You are not wrong to believe that. But neither is the system wrong. It's well worth the small yearly fee. If only for the chance it gives you to complain endlessly.

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The real bottom line why DZOs require membership?



The USPA requires it.

The rest of your typing was nothing more that thin personal attacks and not worth a response.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I'll admit it, I didn't even know that this info was available. Now that I do, I'll be adding my .02 worth when I feel it's needed. Whether it gets heard, well, let's see. I think this little discussion clearly shows an overall disappointment in some of the decisions being made by the BOD. I, like other's here , Don't feel like the USPA is properly representing the majority of it's members. To hear folks say they wude drop their membership in a heartbeat if they didn't have to have it, it's troubling. I used to be proud to be part of this organization. Had the sticker on all my vehicles and everything. I don't anymore. After the Skyride fiasco, the targeting of Bill Dause and anyone associated with him and the many other bully type tactics I've witnessed, I try to distance myself as far as I can. I simply cannot endorse any organization that does such behavior. I hope that other members of the BOD are listening.....

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Ron

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The real bottom line why DZOs require membership?



The USPA requires it.

The rest of your typing was nothing more that thin personal attacks and not worth a response.

Except people have repeatedly claimed the USPA does not enforce any of its rules, and if it's not enforced then it's not really a requirement now is it?

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Westerly,
The changes do bother me to a fair degree given their focus on the safer freefall portion of skydiving and not on the more dangerous canopy phase. And the impact they have on smaller businesses.

But more than that, these changes were the byproduct of a foreign organization. You may not think it a big deal, but this does establish a discomforting precedent. Today it's "little" changes in licensing requirements, what will it be tomorrow? What about a decade from now? And those folks at the FAI have no reason to care absent any US representation on their Executive Board...or representation from many of the other countries who might abide by their rules.

As someone with nearly two decades of government service and an IR master's degree, I have to say this little stunt has the potential to impact our hobby more than you might think. Can you recall any other agreements gone bad that companies, government entities, or even private groups entered into with international actors that went bad? If not, look through a history book or thumb through the business section of a reputable news source. Examples abound.

I don't think Mike Mullins and the rest of the BOD understand the potential consequences of what they're doing. Yes, it was their call to adopt these rules. But in doing so they abdicated their authority to govern our sport on our behalf and opened they and the FAI to liabilities.

-JD-

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Mike,
I would love to come to a meeting and voice my opinions, but there's my job and then the many domestic responsibilities that the majority of us have. Most of USPA is comprised of ordinary folks who spend what little extra money and time they have to make a few jumps on the weekend...and that's if the lawn doesn't need to be mowed, the kid doesn't have a ball game, or the better-half didn't want to plan something else. We can't just leave work and our lives, buy a plane ticket, pack a bag, and show up when you tell us you're available. We have to be available too. This can't be a one-way street.

Yes, this is presently a republic and not a "direct democracy." But the turn of this past century is seeing that begin to change. State governments now routinely put specific issues to popular votes (referendums) rather than to a typical vote in their state legislatures. Voters appear on election day to pick their representatives, and also vote on significant issues. Why couldn't the USPA put specific items to a referendum? Why not include potentially controversial items on the annual BOD ballot for members to weigh in?

BTW, I did contact my regional director - several times - but no reply.

-JD-

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baronn

I'll admit it, I didn't even know that this info was available. Now that I do, I'll be adding my .02 worth when I feel it's needed. Whether it gets heard, well, let's see. I think this little discussion clearly shows an overall disappointment in some of the decisions being made by the BOD. I, like other's here , Don't feel like the USPA is properly representing the majority of it's members. To hear folks say they wude drop their membership in a heartbeat if they didn't have to have it, it's troubling. I used to be proud to be part of this organization. Had the sticker on all my vehicles and everything. I don't anymore. After the Skyride fiasco, the targeting of Bill Dause and anyone associated with him and the many other bully type tactics I've witnessed, I try to distance myself as far as I can. I simply cannot endorse any organization that does such behavior. I hope that other members of the BOD are listening.....



However you decide to comment on any issue it will be heard. All emails, letters, and any comments however received are definitely read by whatever Committee is considering the action that you are interested in. Very few comments are received, some members come to the meetings and voice their opinions. Please do not confuse what you may consider an adverse decision as a result of not listening to those that wish to voice their opinion, the BOD may just not agree with you.

For every decision your BOD makes, there are some that like it and some that don't. It is not possible to please everyone.

Since you have mentioned some disciplinary issues that you do not like, I will say that in most cases any member complaining about disciplinary actions taken against others do not have the complete story. Due to the confidentiality requirements of our By-Laws, it is simply not possible to tell everyone, everything.

Half of the membership claims that the BOD does not take action against miscreants, half claims we are too severe and take too many actions.

The general explanation of a disciplinary action taken is in the minutes. The gory details are confidential. I have been on the BOD for 20 years and I have been involved in every disciplinary action taken during that time as first a member of the DG (Disciplinary Group, now Compliance Group) and as a member of the Executive Committee. USPA strives for compliance over discipline (when possible) and in that light I was the one that put forth the motion to change the name of the Disciplinary Group to the Compliance Group.

I was also the Chairman of the 1-6 Task Force and, along with Directors Finley and Hall, we recently completely revised the 1-6 Disciplinary Process. This revised process is much fairer, quicker, and gives 2 avenues of appeal to any member facing discipline.

I will tell anyone that thinks that USPA is unfair, or does too much, or does too little in disciplinary procedures, that all involved do our best to be as fair as possible with everyone. We do not go on witch hunts. Remember, due to our By-Laws, you are only getting half the story. The members who have been disciplined can put forth whatever story they choose, the BOD cannot comment.

As for USPA member participation, in the last election there was 6,400 votes cast out of a total of about 35,000 members. This is truly apathetic. If you do not wish to get involved in the process and look at the information readily available on the agendas for the meetings, then don't bitch if you don't like the results.

As for those of you who say that they "would drop their membership in a heartbeat", I hope they have some way to get liability insurance as without it there may be a real problem with public airports and demos. The insurance alone is worth the entire cost of your membership.

And for those of you who may not like how a GM DZ operates, or their policies, or their procedures, USPA cannot dictate how they operate, only that they follow the BSR. The only real difference between a GM DZ and a non-GM DZ, is that the GM DZ requires USPA Membership of anyone on solo self supervision. Your individual USPA Membership requires you to follow the BSR wherever you are jumping: GM DZ, non-GM DZ, your backyard, farmer Brown's field, anywhere.

For all you haters out there, just keep on hating and spreading false information, half-truths, and claiming that we are on "witch hunts", instead of doing something productive like reading the information available to you and being involved in the elections and the matters that come before your BOD.

Mike Mullins

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Couldn't agree more. In this day and age, the necessity of the BOD traveling for meetings around the country and then expecting the members to show at their little shindig on their dime and time, is totally ridiculous. Nothin like acting above those you are Suppose to represent. Caving in to foreign interests has got to be 1 of the most nutless things I've seen. Very disappointed Mike wude even attempt to justify such behavior. I wuda thought you'd be the 1st 1 standing in the middle of the room saying, "Fuck the FAI!"

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If the changes requested were reasonable, and they are, then no reason to complain. It is trivial

I firmly believe that a low % of members voting should not be taken as a bad sign. It ought to be taken as a compliment to the BOD. Doing well enough to not motivate people to vote against you is a good sign.

I think some people have unrealistic expectations of any such organization such as the USPA. My memory of the cost compared to other nations, and the impositions those organizations impose on their members, I think we got it good.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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skyfox2007

Westerly,
The changes do bother me to a fair degree given their focus on the safer freefall portion of skydiving and not on the more dangerous canopy phase. And the impact they have on smaller businesses.

But more than that, these changes were the byproduct of a foreign organization. You may not think it a big deal, but this does establish a discomforting precedent. Today it's "little" changes in licensing requirements, what will it be tomorrow? What about a decade from now? And those folks at the FAI have no reason to care absent any US representation on their Executive Board...or representation from many of the other countries who might abide by their rules.

As someone with nearly two decades of government service and an IR master's degree, I have to say this little stunt has the potential to impact our hobby more than you might think. Can you recall any other agreements gone bad that companies, government entities, or even private groups entered into with international actors that went bad? If not, look through a history book or thumb through the business section of a reputable news source. Examples abound.

I don't think Mike Mullins and the rest of the BOD understand the potential consequences of what they're doing. Yes, it was their call to adopt these rules. But in doing so they abdicated their authority to govern our sport on our behalf and opened they and the FAI to liabilities.

-JD-



I totally agree.
Countries should be wary of big foreign nations trying to force their own agendas onto them.

Have you met mr. Kettle by the way? :P
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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But more than that, these changes were the byproduct of a foreign organization. You may not think it a big deal, but this does establish a discomforting precedent.




Man, just how "American" is that? Imagine the Great Empire bowing down to Internationalists! The New World Order.

USPA issues FAI credentials. If you don't want to adhere to FAI standards all you have to do is get USPA to withdraw from the National Aero club and stop issuing internationally recognized ratings. Simple. Just don't expect to be able to use them when traveling outside of the USA. Of course most Americans would have no problem with that because other countries don't count anyway. You could be a leader in isolationism!

BTW, what makes you think America has no representation on the FAI BoD? Just because it has a "foreign" name? In fact, the USA is one of the founding members of the World Air Sports Federation (it's English name) and it has always had considerable influence on the body.

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I was part of the FAI BOD for 12 years including several years with B.J. Worth as President. I participated in the Task Force that created the FAI license and I remember that the USPA regulations were almost completely copied. Even because at that time most of the countries of the world copied the USPA regulations. It is always easy to criticize but to make things happen is very difficult. 20 years in the federation of my country served as a lesson ...

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>In this day and age, the necessity of the BOD traveling for meetings around the
>country and then expecting the members to show at their little shindig on their dime and
>time, is totally ridiculous.

They should all stay in DC so _everyone_ has to travel? I think the policy of moving it around so it's local to some skydivers (different ones each time) is a pretty good one. It gives you a chance to meet people on the BOD.

>Nothin like acting above those you are Suppose to represent.

?? How is traveling to be closer to skydivers "acting above those you are supposed to represent?" I would think that sticking to some nice digs in DC, far from most DZ's, would be the more 'uppity' thing to do.

>Caving in to foreign interests has got to be 1 of the most nutless things I've seen.

The change helps US skydivers who want to jump somewhere else.

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Ron

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why is a C license important? What's wrong with "average fun jumpers" just getting a B license and hanging out?



Nothing, but some DZ's may require a "C" for certain jumps. I knew one DZ that required a "C" for balloon jumps and another that required it for beach jumps (The only reason I got a "C", I skipped A and B).



Jumping at Moab, for example, requires a B, C or even a D license for some of the off-site jumps...for reasons other than formation jump numbers...namely, the expectation that you can land in a tight/rough area in potentially sketchy wind conditions...oh, and without killing others on the load or non-jumpers on the ground...

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Baksteen,
In my previous comments, I also stated, "or representation from many of the other nations who might abide by their rules." See your quote my comments in your previous reply to me.

This has nothing to do about about bilateral international relations - one country and another. It has everything to do with how one multinational organization influences private business and personal conduct in others, be it in the states or in the Netherlands.

This affects us all...American, Dutch, or wherever you come from.

-JD-

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skyfox2007

Today it's "little" changes in licensing requirements, what will it be tomorrow? What about a decade from now?

More changes presumably? Of course they are going to change things. Why wouldent they? Change is necessary to advance the sport. What is the alternative? Never update the BSRs or consider better ways to do anything?

skyfox2007

Mike,
I would love to come to a meeting and voice my opinions, but there's my job and then the many domestic responsibilities that the majority of us have. Most of USPA is comprised of ordinary folks who spend what little extra money and time they have to make a few jumps on the weekend...and that's if the lawn doesn't need to be mowed, the kid doesn't have a ball game, or the better-half didn't want to plan something else. We can't just leave work and our lives, buy a plane ticket, pack a bag, and show up when you tell us you're available. We have to be available too. This can't be a one-way street.

Well that is how it works at literally every BOD meeting for any organization I have ever seen. What exactly do you expect the USPA to do? There is no date, time or location at any point in the future that will work for everyone. Accommodating everyone's schedule is an impossible task which is why no organization does it. They could maybe set up a public VTC where everyone could voice a concern. That could be useful, but even that is rare. I dont think I've ever seen a BOD do that. At most, some will film it for viewing later.

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Gowlerk,
None of the current Executive Board members are from the US.

See my previous reply on why other countries DO count. American jumpers are not the only ones who stand to lose here.

I can see why these changes don't matter much to you as an individual and do appreciate your point of view. You don't feel that 10 formation jumps for a C-license are that big a deal. I hear you and would say more power to you. But allow me to come clean here...I have 100+ 4-ways thus far and exceed the new C-license requirements. That's all we do at the DZs I frequent. They are - in my opinion - much more difficult from a Cessna with a small jump door that barely accommodates 1 jumper at a time.

If you're a small business owner somewhere - American or not - the USPA and FAI have just made life a little more difficult for you. If you're jumper - regardless of nationality - both of these organizations have just created new rules that address the safest phase of our sport while ignoring the more dangerous canopy phase. If you're a weekend jumper and not a competing athlete and your home country abides by the FAI or USPA - what do you stand to gain from these rules changes, exactly?

American, Canadian, Dutch? What does it matter? Did this decision by the FAI or USPA really do much to benefit us as skydivers?

-JD-

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They actually matter to me not at all. They don't affect me in the least. I'm not sure of the nationality of FAI BoD members. It hardly matters to this subject. Parachuting is only a small part of the air sports that FAI organizes. It's actually the IPC, which is a sub committee of the FAI that looks after these rules. The IPC lists the names, but not the nationalities of it's board members. But I'd be surprised if there are not Americans there.

As far as the rule changes for USPA licenses goes, they are long overdue. USPA is playing catch up here. No matter what the minimums are someone will object. Some will say they are too high, others too low. In Canada we laugh at how low the D requirements are for the USPA. Even tandem makers accept C CoPs from CSPA as good enough. Few Canadians hold CSPA Ds. US standards are regarded in the rest of the world as very low.

I'm not sure why you are looking for more safety rules for canopy flight from USPA. I'm guessing a vote of the membership would say no thank you to more BSRs.

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skyfox2007

I have 100+ 4-ways thus far and exceed the new C-license requirements. That's all we do at the DZs I frequent. They are - in my opinion - much more difficult from a Cessna with a small jump door that barely accommodates 1 jumper at a time.



Sure, I get that. But the USPA's focus is safety, not convenience. If we all said that dual parachute systems were too expensive, do you think it would be reasonable for the USPA to okay jumping with single parachute systems? The focus should always be safety and finding ways to increase competency. Even with the 10 group jumps, the standard for a C license is still really easy--easier than it should be. Again, you're not required to obtain a C license. It doesent stop you from jumping. I've only been to one DZ that actually requires one and there was a different DZ an hour away that would let you jump with an A license.

skyfox2007

If you're a small business owner somewhere - American or not - the USPA and FAI have just made life a little more difficult for you. If you're jumper - regardless of nationality - both of these organizations have just created new rules that address the safest phase of our sport while ignoring the more dangerous canopy phase. If you're a weekend jumper and not a competing athlete and your home country abides by the FAI or USPA - what do you stand to gain from these rules changes, exactly?




I find it strange that we are trying to argue for incompetency over competency. The notion that we would argue to lower the standards in an otherwise very risky sport is extremely bizarre. We need to find ways to increase the standards and training, not lower them down to the easiest, most convenient, and ineffective level possible just because they are inconvenient.

When the consequence is life or death, the training needs to be effective no matter how many people fail to meet the standard. In the special forces some 75% of students dont graduate. You dont see the military lowering their training standards because of it. The students increase their level to match the standard or they take a hike. You dont decrease the standard to match the student's [lack of] ability regardless of what the reason is.

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