Where to have changed course?

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At which point would it have been best for either USHPA or Bob to choose a different course of action?

1. Bob reports Torrey problems to USHPA.
1
33%
2. USHPA does nothing.
1
33%
3. Shannon is injured at Torrey.
0
No votes
4. Shannon sues Torrey business.
0
No votes
5. Bob testifies to problems (see 1. above).
1
33%
6. Shannon gets settlement.
0
No votes
7. USHPA loses insurance and expels Bob.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 3

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Where to have changed course?

Post by Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:12 pm

I've gotten considerable behind-the-back criticism by some folks for my testimony in the Shannon Hamby case, so I'm starting this poll to address it head on.

There were effectively 5 people/organizations involved in Shannon's case:

- Shannon herself (and her lawyer)
- Torrey concession (Air California Adventure - ACA)
- Bob Kuczewski (me)
- USHPA (and USHPA's lawyer)
- The insurers (of both USHPA and ACA)

Each played a different role in the matter, and each could have affected the outcome.

I think the best solution would have come from USHPA providing proper oversight all along, but that wasn't happening and that's what triggered the chain of events (above) leading to USHPA's uninsurability.

Since I can no longer fly at Sylmar because of USHPA's 2015 expulsion, this is an appropriate topic of discussion.

It's also an opportunity to clear the air and have an open discussion about how the sports of hang gliding and paragliding can keep this history from repeating itself. Thanks in advance for thoughtful posts.
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Post by Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:21 pm

It should be no surprise that I voted for option 2.

I had been reporting problems at Torrey for some time before Shannon's injuries in 2011. I had been reporting them both as a USHPA member and later as a USHPA Director. In fact I reported an incident with many similarities to Shannon's incident to the entire USHPA Executive Committee over a year before Shannon was injured.

If USHPA had taken some action or even expressed some concern, then most (if not all) of the resulting consequences could have been avoided. But USHPA did nothing.

Now some folks (you know who you are) have argued that I should not have testified as if our sport is some kind of organized crime outfit that doesn't tolerate "snitches". Is that what the hang gliding and paragliding branch of aviation has become?

More importantly, what are the long term consequences of operating our sport in such a manner that no one is held accountable? How sustainable is that model?

I assert that we're seeing those consequences right now. The loss of insurance was a direct consequence of USHPA's don't ask don't tell brand of "oversight". USHPA's lost respect among many pilots and even landowners is another consequence. It's only going to get worse.

If you look at that history of actions in Shannon's case, you'll find many places where USHPA might have gotten lucky. Maybe Shannon wouldn't have sued. Maybe Shannon's lawyers couldn't have found anyone else to testify. Maybe Shannon would have lost her case. Maybe the insurers would have just swallowed the loss. But counting on getting lucky isn't a long term strategy for maintaining a viable insurance program.

The only viable and proactive step that USHPA could have taken was to provide proper oversight to begin with, or at a bare minimum react strongly when one of their own members and/or Directors reported serious problems.

It would be nice if this were all in the past, but USHPA's ongoing retaliation (expulsion) against me is a clear signal that nothing has changed. In fact, through my expulsion USHPA has only dug their hole deeper. The recent opening of Dockweiler to non-USHPA pilots foreshadows USHPA's future decline.

There will be many more consequences of USHPA's decline, and some of them concern me as well. I would much rather see a strong, fair, and well-respected USHPA than the faultering, diseased organization on the decline that we see now. But that's not my choice. That's the choice of the three Region 3 Directors (Alan, Ken, and Dan). None of them has been willing to tackle this problem and stand before the USHPA Board with the right solution. In fact, they haven't even been willing to address these issues here on the Sylmar forum.

So that's where it becomes YOUR choice. If you want to see YOUR USHPA make the right choices then you've got to be telling your elected Directors to reverse course.

The time to turn back is now.
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Post by JD » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:29 pm

It would have been better had you just walked away in the first place. Why? Because, as the old saying goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't know anyone who would ever fault you for not having good intentions. Sadly, as with love, good intentions do not make the world go round.

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Post by Bob Kuczewski » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:32 am

Thanks for giving it some thought Jonathan - unfortunately, not enough thought.

What you probably don't know is that I was not the only expert witness willing to testify. When I showed up at the office early, I happened to see into the conference room and another pilot was already being interviewed. There may have been even more that met on other days and times.

You cannot expect 10,000 people to keep the secret that P0 & P1 pilots don't have the see-and-avoid skills to fly a busy P3+ site like Torrey without direct supervision (as listed in the limitations of those ratings). That rules out choice 1 as unsustainable. If you go with that strategy our sports are doomed (not to mention the injuries and injustices done to people like Shannon who just wanted to learn to fly).

Feel free to try another answer. There's no additional charge.

NME wrote:It would have been better had you just walked away in the first place. Why? Because, as the old saying goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't know anyone who would ever fault you for not having good intentions. Sadly, as with love, good intentions do not make the world go round.
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Post by JD » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:19 am

Bob Kuczewski wrote:Thanks for giving it some thought Jonathan - unfortunately, not enough thought....
No Bob. I've given it plenty of thought and you handled it wrong. When has any of your meddling ever prevented an otherwise avoidable accident? The way I see it is you may have created a backlash and actually worsened the situation. I looked at all the documentation that was shared with USHPA members when you were expelled. The other expert witnesses were on the side of USHPA and had stellar credentials. The only good, if any, that your presence did was to create what is commonly known as nuisance value to the plaintiffs. Had the case actually gone to trial Shanon may have easily ended up in the red, with nothing to show for her time and money in litigation. Any award that a jury may have approved could have easily been less than the total of her legal fees. Any award that the insurance company gave Shanon was less than or equal to the cost of defending the case regardless of the outcome. That's why it's called nuisance value or a nuisance settlement. Sadly, you made such a nuisance of yourself that you were given the boot. Too bad about that. I never had any issues with your own flying.

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Post by Bob Kuczewski » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:23 pm

Jonathan, you're peddling hogwash. Insurance companies are not in the business of losing money. But let's indulge your theory to see where it goes.

If you get a ding in your car door, do you file an insurance claim? Why not?

If the Torrey settlement were small wouldn't it be better to pay it than sell the USHPA Headquarters building? Wouldn't it be better to take out a small mortgage on that building than to sell it? The Torrey business grosses over a million a year (about 1.4 million in 2012 - look it up). If the claim were small, why didn't they just pay it off out of their petty cash drawer?

And why was Tim Herr flying all over the place grilling me for a full day trying (unsuccessfully) to poke even a pin hole in my testimony? If it were a "nuisance" amount, then why was Tim Herr wasting the member's money?

Sorry, but nothing you say adds up Jonathan. Your comments only serve to prove that a fool and his (insurance) money will soon go their separate ways.

As for my testimony, it was rock solid and unassailable. It was based on years of facts and documentation. USHPA's leadership may have been too hard-headed to turn back (as they typically are), but the people with their money in the game knew when to cut their losses ... and did.

But you go right on putting your faith in the clowns at USHPA Jonathan. Go right on being the spokesmouth for USHPA because they give you shiney trophies. I can summarize in 2 words: tick tock.

NME wrote:
Bob Kuczewski wrote:Thanks for giving it some thought Jonathan - unfortunately, not enough thought....
No Bob. I've given it plenty of thought and you handled it wrong. When has any of your meddling ever prevented an otherwise avoidable accident? The way I see it is you may have created a backlash and actually worsened the situation. I looked at all the documentation that was shared with USHPA members when you were expelled. The other expert witnesses were on the side of USHPA and had stellar credentials. The only good, if any, that your presence did was to create what is commonly known as nuisance value to the plaintiffs. Had the case actually gone to trial Shanon may have easily ended up in the red, with nothing to show for her time and money in litigation. Any award that a jury may have approved could have easily been less than the total of her legal fees. Any award that the insurance company gave Shanon was less than or equal to the cost of defending the case regardless of the outcome. That's why it's called nuisance value or a nuisance settlement. Sadly, you made such a nuisance of yourself that you were given the boot. Too bad about that. I never had any issues with your own flying.
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Post by JD » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:35 am

Bob Kuczewski wrote:Jonathan, you're peddling hogwash....
Only if I quote you as a source of factual information. Quit while you're ahead Bob while there's still time. Repent now.

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Post by Bob Kuczewski » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:02 am

NME wrote:
Bob Kuczewski wrote:Jonathan, you're peddling hogwash....
Only if I quote you as a source of factual information.
Jonathan, on KiteStrings you wrote:
NMERider wrote:Bob, on the other hand was impeached as a witness. His credibility was a liability.
Neither my testimony nor my conduct in that trial was ever "impeached". What is the foundation for your slanderous statement?
NME wrote:Quit while you're ahead Bob
A Freudian slip?
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Post by JD » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:55 pm

Bob Kuczewski wrote:....
NMERider wrote:Bob, on the other hand was impeached as a witness. His credibility was a liability.
Neither my testimony nor my conduct in that trial was ever "impeached". What is the foundation for your slanderous statement?...
Send me your complete USHPA expulsion package and I'll point these things out in the transcript of your deposition, etc. Better yet Bob, post the entire expulsion package on a Google Drive folder and link it here so any interested party can peruse through it an be reminded why you were expelled if you are that confident in your innocence. I'll be happy to let the readers draw their own conclusions from the documents and media. Some may not agree with my views while other may not be nearly so kind or generous to your cause.

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Post by Bob Kuczewski » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:55 am

Here's your claim Jonathan:
NMERider wrote:Bob, on the other hand was impeached as a witness. His credibility was a liability.
You're the one making the false claim that I was "impeached" as a witness. Don't you already have the evidence? If you don't actually have it, then can't you at least remember what it was that convinced you so strongly that you'd make such a statement?

I suspect you're just parroting what you got from some USHPA insider who's smart enough not to say it himself. So he (or she) whispers it into some chump's ear to have them spread the lie.

You asked me for some complete USHPA expulsion package as if they gave me such a thing. Do you know that I wasn't even able to see my own video of my own testimony? I tried and tried, but their server would give me nothing. I complained to USHPA that I was unable to even see the video, but they didn't care. They held their kangaroo court just the same. Even to this day USHPA has never provided me a copy and I've still never seen it.

Since you're still a member of that rotten organization, why don't you make a request that USHPA release my own video to me, and then I can share it with you? It would be interesting to see what kind of response you get. Go ahead, ask them Jonathan.

For anyone else following along, USHPA's refusal to let me see the evidence was just one example of how crooked that expulsion was. USHPA also refused my repeated requests for them to cite the SOP or bylaw I was accused of violating. I was told to read the whole book. USHPA's expulsion letter included claims for which there were no witnesses. Who was I supposed to cross examine if there was no one testifying? The false claims did't even list the dates or times of the offenses. Tim Herr should have been disbarred for his participation in that injustice.
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Post by dhmartens » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:45 pm

I can tell you exactly where we went wrong - 2 events.

First event: at 3:49 on the clip
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCe_aAdDhDI[/youtube]

Second event: The only way to answer the question is to do what IBM did in the 90s and hire my aunts company http://qsaresearch.com/ and pay her company over $500,000 why companies with IBM consultants hate them, then parse the data with spss.

The question is why are there nearly 100,000 pilots in EU with maybe 10,000 hg/pg pilots in USA? We can pay to get this answer but we don't know lets admit it. Switzerland has more hg/pg pilots than all USA? Their country is a launch? $500,000 could go to something else like a Superbowl commercial.

The flaw was that USHPA turned Torrey into a Lucy Show paraglider puppy mill.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPzLBSBzPI[/youtube]

Bob should get a medal for saving lives by pressuring them over a decade at that $1.5 million a year operation. Bob has their record been clean?

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