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skydived19006

Rich Winstock Swoop Incident Cover-Up

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I don't spend much time in these forums these days, so wasn't at all aware of this until I received an email earlier today. I did search the forums and only found the thread in the Incidents. I didn't read every post there, but did get the feeling from moderator responses that a discussion of the USPA response was inappropriate in that forum, hence this thread.

I've cut/pasted the email I received from Tom Meyers (no idea who he is) below. Also talked with my Regional Director on the topic. He indicated that he is quite knowledgeable on the subject, also that the BOD pulled a "non disclosure" (terminology?) and that he was not allowed to discuss the subject with me. Seems that the Executive Committee has take the subject off the Full Board table and is dealing with it. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the Executive Committee's handling of another volatile topic, can I say it, SKYRIDE.

Please discuss. Or delete if this is redundant and I just don't know how to search well enough to realize.

Martin


Are you aware USPA National Director Rich Winstock swooped a spectator area and hit a spectator putting her in the hospital for 6-7 days?

Are you aware there is a very good chance USPA may be sued over this?

Are you aware this is not the first time Rich Winstock has disregarded safety and swooped spectators?

Are you aware there are other safety incidents committed by Rich Winstock with no consequences?

Are you aware Rich Winstock is the Chair of USPA Safety and Training? REALLY??

Are you aware there were calls for him to step down from his position as the Chair of Safety and Training from both inside and outside of the USPA Board?

Are you aware the president of USPA Sherry Butcher is attempting to cover it up?

Are you aware Sherry Butcher stated she feels it "was unfortunate" and "rich regrets it"?

Are you aware sherry wrote that the membership does not know or care who is on the board or chair of any committee? Really?

Are you aware that Sherry decided to keep Rich as Chair of the S&T Committee as if nothing ever happened? WTF? She even stated she would do the same for anyone let alone a Board Member. What? A Board member gets extra consideration? Especially a Board member???? OMG!

Rich should have stepped down immediately instead of begging Sherry to keep him as Chair. And Sherry should have taken action rather than trying to cover it up. The time for him to step down from the Chairmanship has come and gone. He now needs to step down from the Board. And while we are at it, Sherry should step down as well. Her poor handling of this and her attempt to cover it up is inexcusable.

Sherry should also make public the e-mail she wrote regarding this issue. Why would she not do this?

Call your Regional Director and the National Directors or e-mail them and tell them enough is enough. Here is where you can find their e-mail and phone numbers:

http://www.uspa.org/AboutUSPA/USPABoardofDirectors/tabid/140/Default.aspx


Don't let the cover up stand. TAKE A STAND!! A simple e-mail or call will send the message.


PASS THIS E-MAIL ON.

Experience is what you get when you thought you were going to get something else.

AC DZ

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I don't know if I'd go so far as to call not publicly releasing an email between executive committee members a "cover up," but it's definitely a "maybe if we ignore this long enough it'll go away" move.

But apparently we have a Parachutist article from Rich on the topic to look forward to, so I'm sure that'll set the record completely straight. :)

(And, oh yeah, to respond to the questions in the email you were forwarded. Yeah, I was aware. Unofficially of course.)
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I posted this in the Incidents section back on April 5th and I haven't seen or heard anything that would indicate anything has changed.

"For those that have been calling for various punitive measures, I think that in the end very little is going to happen. With the number of DZO’s on the Board it is unlikely that they will do anything to one of their own. As a DZO he also could just drop his DZ Group Membership and then all the rules about USPA ratings and appointments are moot and it’s back to business as usual. I suppose USPA might need to appoint a new S&TA for the DZ but those are easy to replace. As an elected Director he was voted in by the membership and even if he doesn’t follow the rules at his own DZ his elected job is to represent those that voted for him so I doubt that there will be serious repercussions from that area either. I expect that he will offer an apology either to the USPA Board or via “Parachutist” and that will be the official end of it. This may sound cynical but I think ultimately any effort towards contrition will be of his own volition in an attempt to repair his reputation and not from any official concern by USPA."

USPA is going to handle this event in the same way it's historically done. [:/]

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I am new so forgive me
do you need to be a USPA member to jump at most dropzones?
Obviously USPA is a self imposed governing body, I guess the question would be, if enough people are dissatisfied, someone should make a rival organization. Easy enough to do if a group is so inclined. THink PADI vs NAUI?

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Doug_Davis

I don't know who Tom Meyers is but sounds like we could use him on the board.

This swooping accident certainly isn't the first such demonstration by Rich where he has shown a lack of Consideration for the consequences of his actions.




Please expound on this. Since you're aware of other situations, then be specific.

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Hi Martin

Full disclosure: after 30 plus yrs I'm no longer a member of USPA.

OF course your correct read latest post in the incident forum about what the real story is about the Tm and student injury. The president of USPA made her standard comment to the press.

But if what I'm reading about the GMDZ, DZO, TMI ST&A where the incident occurred is accurate. The situation can be easily corrected. It's not that complicated.
One Jump Wonder

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I don't see why this incident would affect whatever office he was elected to.

Yeah, I think he's an idiot and a hypocrite for trying to impose extra rules on wingsuiters while he's off swooping crowds like an asshole but he was elected to the board because enough people like the way he represents them. I don't think any one person should have the authority to over ride that. If the people he represents want him out they will vote him out.



He should face the exact same consequences as anyone else w
ho fucked up the way he did. Nothing more and nothing less.

Was there even a bsr violation?

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Rich Winstock swooping spectators as the director or chair of S&TA, is like the president of MADD getting arrested for DUI.

Get him the fuck off the USPA board, period! >:(
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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Spectators plural?
This is news, different from the other documents I've seen on this incident, different than what I've been told by more than one person, and different than what the injured person's partner has written/posted.

It seems like there is a lot of unknown information now floating out there that wasn't part of the USPA investigation?

I'm still waiting on Doug_Davis to share his inside knowledge or evidence that this isn't a one-off.

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DSE

Spectators plural?
This is news, different from the other documents I've seen on this incident, different than what I've been told by more than one person, and different than what the injured person's partner has written/posted.

It seems like there is a lot of unknown information now floating out there that wasn't part of the USPA investigation?

I'm still waiting on Doug_Davis to share his inside knowledge or evidence that this isn't a one-off.



Doesn't matter if it is one spectator or ten thousand, it was bad.

top
Jump more, post less!

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>Yeah, I think he's an idiot and a hypocrite for trying to impose extra rules on
>wingsuiters while he's off swooping crowds like an asshole but he was elected to
>the board because enough people like the way he represents them.

To me it's similar to a local sheriff that drives drunk, runs into a pedestrian and puts her in the hospital. At that point he's going to be less effective as a law enforcement officer, and his judgment on setting/enforcing limits for other drunk drivers will (rightly) be brought into question.

One of the requirements for the position of S+T chairman, is good judgment on what constitutes a safe skydive and what doesn't. He's shown that he doesn't have that good judgment and thus IMO isn't qualified for that position.

A wider effect of this decision will be to reinforce the commonly-held perspective that "rules on swooping are for newbies; if you are good, go for it, and if something really bad happens - well, you'll be forgiven if you're popular." USPA has been garnering the reputation as an organization that says one thing and does another, and this will reinforce that view.

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IMO, the entire incident and the handling of it tells me that safety is NOT a concern nor priority for the USPA.
So, safety third IS accurate.
I'm over it.
I'm over trying to make safety an important part of our sport while the USPA doesn't care.
I'll stop being a safety Nazi, as it doesn't matter.
I could care less about the USPA any longer.
I won't vote again - for what?
If I wasn't forced to have the membership, I wouldn't.

Have fun out there kids.

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Quote

Was there even a bsr violation?



The BSRs are not all-inclusive in scope, so a reasonable argument can be made that they are not necessarily either the beginning or the end of the analysis as to what constitutes conduct warranting disciplinary action.

Here's the link to the USPA's Governance Manual. http://www.uspa.org/portals/0/downloads/man_govman.pdf. Please refer to Section 1-6, "Disciplinary Actions". Thereunder, refer to 1-6.4, "Scope"; and thereunder, refer to B.3 and B.4. At a minimum, in my opinion, the language from B.3 - "Is so grossly negligent in his conduct or acts as to imminently imperil his fellow skydivers or aircraft or persons or property on the ground, or wantonly disregards the safety of himself or other persons" - would seem to warrant scrutiny - including, of course, Rich's full opportunity to address this himself.

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I voted for him because I liked the things he promoted over the Internet. I never met him in person, just online. I had NO CLUE he was as reckless and dangerous as he apparently is and he apparently swooped spectators regular in direct disregard to USPA safety regulations. He apparently was a complete hypocrite. I didn't have any idea about that when I voted for him. I agree - it really is like the head of MADD getting arrested for drunk driving - he no longer has the respect to hold the office.

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normiss

IMO, the entire incident and the handling of it tells me that safety is NOT a concern nor priority for the USPA.
So, safety third IS accurate.
I'm over it.
I'm over trying to make safety an important part of our sport while the USPA doesn't care.
I'll stop being a safety Nazi, as it doesn't matter.
I could care less about the USPA any longer.
I won't vote again - for what?
If I wasn't forced to have the membership, I wouldn't.

Have fun out there kids.



I'm with you except for this:
Quote

I'll stop being a safety Nazi, as it doesn't matter.



I'll still try to do what I can, locally, to keep up the safety culture at my home dropzone. I'll continue to try (perhaps in vain) to get through a safety message to at the handful of the YouTube/GoPro generation that'll actually listen to a grumpy middle aged lady. I'll continue to "vote with my feet" by not jumping at places that I feel have a poor safety culture. But expecting diddly squat from USPA... nah. I'm with you on that.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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>But expecting diddly squat from USPA... nah. I'm with you on that.

I learned my lesson on that as well.

About six years ago, after Bob Holler's death, we started a drive to get a BSR passed to require standard patterns in main landing areas. We got petitions, sent emails, and eventually gathered about 20 people and flew out to a USPA meeting to demand a change to the BSR's.

The USPA was receptive and proposed something different - they would change the group member pledge to require that DZO's separate the landing areas. This was a good compromise, we thought, and would accomplish the goal without making the more difficult (according to them) BSR change. By putting the onus on DZO's, the change would be made at the drop zone level rather than burdening individual skydivers with it.

I was impressed. I thought they'd blow us off, but they really seemed to take us seriously, and even Larry Hill gave an impassioned speech about how sick he was at seeing people die at his drop zone due to collisions.

About a year and a half later I called Sherry Butcher to see how it was being implemented. I think she thought I was a DZO asking how to implement it. She said "oh, don't worry about that. Just tell people to be careful."

After that I started to think that maybe USPA was more about appearances than anything that actually makes skydiving safer. I think many of the individuals who make up USPA have their hearts in the right places, but the organization itself stifles any such changes.

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About a year and a half later I called Sherry Butcher to see how it was being implemented. I think she thought I was a DZO asking how to implement it. She said "oh, don't worry about that. Just tell people to be careful."



First I hear about that... Wow....
Remster

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Quote

I was impressed. I thought they'd blow us off, but they really seemed to take us seriously, and even Larry Hill gave an impassioned speech about how sick he was at seeing people die at his drop zone due to collisions.



At least Larry's walking the walk at his own dropzone with respect to separation of high-performance landings from standard patterns (though unfortunately, it hasn't entirely eliminated canopy collisions at Eloy). I've been to other dropzones run by board members that hadn't done much to implement the change required in the group member pledge, though that may have changed since last I visited.

Quote

After that I started to think that maybe USPA was more about appearances than anything that actually makes skydiving safer.



Yup. From what I've learned about the EC's response in this particular situation, it's very much all about appearances.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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That example is part of my thoughts as well.
Canopy collisions and swooping problems are still there.

Then the wingsuit proposals were tossed aside and we still seem to have some major issues there to.

Also have to agree with you that there are some on the BOD that are doing the right thing or are at least trying to.

Krisanne, I know I am going to fully agree with you too.
I can't help it either. ;)

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DSE

***I don't know who Tom Meyers is but sounds like we could use him on the board.

This swooping accident certainly isn't the first such demonstration by Rich where he has shown a lack of Consideration for the consequences of his actions.




Please expound on this. Since you're aware of other situations, then be specific.

Yeah...and I'm kinda curious about the 'USPA being sued' over this incident as was mentioned in the email the OP received?

I'd bet there might be some kind of action regarding the injuries...but USPA?



~ I'm not defending Rich's actions, clearly they're indefensible - but wow, talk about 'burn the monster' mob mentality! :ph34r:

IIRC - when the guy ran for the office, everybody and his dog was heaping praise on Winstock. Both here and on Facebook...now we can't get a noose tied fast enough? :S

I dunno...I've seen the 'private email' to the board too, I wouldn't really put it in the category of a high level 'cover up'. Maybe could have been worded better - but heck it wasn't a press release...and strictly speaking I gotta agree with Sherry as far as who better to warn the unwashed masses about doing as you preach. :D

Guy made a major mistake, one of the absolute worst kinds...he hurt someone ~

~ However the Rich Winstock I've spoken to on several occasions concerning various matters, has been for the most part pretty straight up as far a his goals in improving the organization...and worked hard toward that end.

He's one of the few on the board who communicates with the membership openly both on here & his website. He's the guy that was trying to set up BOD / Membership dives coinciding with the meetings...I could go on, but the point is - what say we all take a deep breath & see how this thing actually plays out...see what Rich has to say for himself when he addresses the incident.


I agree 100% with the sentiment ~ VERY dumb thing to do, shouldn't have happen & yes it adds insult to injury considering the position he holds...but I too have made regrettable mistakes, learned from it - asked forgiveness and maybe some understanding from the 'family' we so often claim to be.


d00d fucked up...we all do from time to time ~ but like my boxing coach in college said after I tried to showboat and got knocked on my ass :

Bet he won't do THAT again! :ph34r:










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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USPA is the ONLY organized group that keeps us in the air. REMEMBER that as you 'bash' them.

USPA is US. Every board member was voted in by us. If they aren't doing something right, ELECT DIFFERENT BOARD MEMBERS instead of bashing them. That's like bashing yourselves.

SO FEW members actually vote, so it would be REALLY EASY to get organized and get the board changed. If you DIDN'T VOTE for the board, then you have absolutely NO RIGHT to complain.

As for Rich's mistake - he made a mistake. Everyone criticizing him has never made a mistake while jumping, right?

Do we have nothing better to do than complain? GET A LIFE!! GO SKYDIVE and let it go.

:)

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