March 20 – March 21, 2022
Nick Jones, HPAC President and Ontario Director
Randy Parkin, HPAC Vice-President and Alberta Director
Tim Parker, HPAC Secretary Treasurer
Chris Jette, Atlantic Canada Director
Tyler Gillies, BC Director
Jon Lovering, Prairies Director
Dave McDonald, Yukon Director
Sandra Ducasse, Québec Director
Margit Nance, HPAC Executive Director
(Mark Damm, HPAC/ACVL Legal Counsel, and JP Robert Vandenbegine, Chair, HPAC Competition Committee, present for specific agenda items)
Nick Jones, President of HPAC, welcomed members of the Board of Directors to the online 2022 Annual Directors’ Meeting and introduced the two new Board members from Yukon and Quebec, Dave McDonald and Sandra Ducasse, respectively.
In his President’s Report, Nick Jones mentioned the functioning of the new website and the ongoing and prompt fixing of small bugs as they are discovered. He also indicated that the 9% increase in the insurance premium was due in large part to an increase in membership numbers in 2021 (5%) and some inflationary pressure (4%). Regional Director Issues:
Yukon: Dave Mcdonald reported that there had been significant fundraising for a program called “Get High the Natural Way”, which would include special opportunities for aboriginal youth and site expansion in Yukon.
Québec: Sandra Ducasse reported that as a result of the fatality at Yamaska, the school Distance Vol Libre was closed indefinitely.
Alberta: Randy Parkin reported that the paragliding flight undertaken by a pilot during an active heli-rescue near Canmore in 2021 resulted in a $3300 fine. There is now a much more active link-up with the helicopter community so that this kind of incident could be prevented in future. He also reported that there is active interest by a Senior Instructor for HPAC to developd a Hike and Fly endorsement. He also indicated active work by Brandon Hopkins of the AHPA Board in negotiating with Alberta Parks for access by the sport and that 31 pilots had recently participated in the AHPA AGM.
Atlantic: Chris Jette reported that the annual Festival of Flight in the Maritimes would move this year 2022 from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island. There continues to be no resident certified instructor in the Maritimes but an Ontario paragliding instructor had indicated significant interest in coming again to the Maritimes, if there was sufficient pilot interest.
British Columbia: Tyler Gillies reported that a special online meeting had recently been held between the West Coast Soaring Club and the Island Soaring Society regarding a merger of the two clubs, under the West Coast Soaring Club banner. The merger was approved by a large majority of those present, a merger that would result in administrative efficiencies and raise the profile of the Island flying community, while hopefully retiring some old unresolved issues that had been haunting the Island flying community.
Ontario: Nick Jones reported on the two World Records that had been earned by Ontario hang glider pilot Armand Acchione, which had ultimately been ratified by FAI, after much work from Martin Henry and Stewart Midwinter on the documentation required for formal ratification.
Margit Nance referred to her annual Executive Director report to the Board, made a brief report on the status of Parks Canada negotiations, which had recently resulted in the addition of Yoho/Kootenay National Parks to Jasper, where the sport was allowed; as well, she is assisting the process to add Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks (with negotiations being conducted by Revelstoke pilots Scott Hanson and Samantha Wex); and negotiations with Banff National Park continue. She also reported on ongoing international relationships, the workings of the new HPAC/ACVL website regarding member services, WordPress updates in progress, insurance negotiations 2022, work with the Competition and Safety Committees and recent orientation for new Board members.
Provincial Association/HPAC/ACVL Formal Relationships
(Mark Damm, HPAC’s legal counsel, joined the meeting for this item).
Nick Jones introduced the topic of the relationship between provincial associations and HPAC/ACVL. This topic had been discussed at previous Board meetings, without final definition by the Board of the day, triggered by a couple of members wishing an opt-out of automatic provincial membership. Currently, HPAC collects fees on behalf of provincial associations where they exist and the HPAC Treasurer transfers those funds periodically to the provincial associations.
Nick Jones posed the question to the Board to decide whether or not HPAC/ACVL should continue collecting fees on behalf of provincial associations: Board members were partially of the view that fees should continue to be collected since HPAC has the administrative capacity to do so, while provincial associations generally do not. Another view expressed was that provincial associations are potentially an unnecessary middleman and that the original intent of these transfers is ultimately to serve under-resourced flying communities. One Board member referenced a past Board having considered that the additional fee collection become part of a national fund with all pilots across Canada paying an equal amount for these local funds, administered by a national committee. The counter to that suggestion was that there would potentially be a loss of local pilot input, which is represented on the boards of the provincial associations. One Board member was of the view that since there are so few applications for site improvement/development to the provincial associations, small sites with few resources may be being overlooked.
One Board member felt that the “layer” of provincial associations allows for local decision-making and he did not see the purpose of eliminating that layer. Other Board members agreed on the importance of local pilot involvement in all things related to sites.
HPAC’s Treasurer, indicated that some provincial associations didn’t used to stay current or were complacent in terms of their required registration as non-profit associations in their provincial jurisdictions and suggested it be included in an SOP that that is a requirement. It was suggested that the membership SOP be changed to read that all members of HPAC have a right to be members of a provincial association, or not, but that the fees collected from regional members still go to the provincial association for local site improvement.
Nick Jones committed to drafting some wording changes to the Membership SOP for the Board to consider in the near future.
HPAC MEMBER/PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS
New Website Status
Nick Jones reported on the status of the new website and that glitches in any functions were being addressed promptly by the developers. It was suggested that the HPAC Smart-Waiver account could be shared with other HPAC-connected entities, such as provincial associations.
“Educational Opportunities” page on Website
It was suggested by a Board member that a special page be created on the website that showed links to instructor online educational material and upcoming courses, e.g. repack clinics, if those were communicated to HPAC. It was felt that as long as there was no endorsement from HPAC, simply to list those offerings would be useful to members. It was stated that it should not include advertising for schools or products, but rather educational opportunities. A disclaimer would be placed at the top of the page to indicate that HPAC does not endorse the course.
It was also agreed by the Board that course materials cannot include the HPAC logo, to avoid the perception that HPAC endorses that particular program.
HPAC/ACVL Streaming of Publicly Available Info to XContest, Provincial Associations, Meets, Local Clubs?
A couple of requests had been received by HPAC about the possibility of making the publicly available data on the HPAC website (membership currency, ratings, HAGAR) machine-readable from an external source so that it would be easier to determine validity of flights for X-Contest and scorers at meets like the Willi. USHPA apparently has this capacity.
The Board also welcomed the idea that in the future, the addition of a QR code for each pilot could be helpful. No motion was made related to this discussion at the time of the meeting.
Site Signage Standard Wording
To give reassurance to landowners of sensitive sites and discourage uninsured non-member flight, putting the landowner at risk, the Board discussed having a template designed by HPAC with wording as approved by the Board. The template would have space on it for the name of a club or local pilot group to add its logo/wording for that local site. The HPAC portion of the wording on the template will be in both official languages.
Temporary Member Sign-Up Protocols
One Board member stated that many members appear to have no idea on how to sign up a new visitor for temporary membership, and submit the paperwork to HPAC and that a newsletter piece on this topic would be helpful. It was agreed that having visiting pilots connect with local pilots to get site briefings, and sign up for temporary membership in that process, was helpful to both locals and visitors and protected sites.
One Board member stated that an online sign-up process would be easier for visiting pilots and also meet directors but stated that there would have to be agreement from HPAC’s insurer. It was decided that there should be a formal proposal put to the Board of Directors for the 2023 season in this regard.
Student Evaluation Update
Randy Parkin reported on the most recent student evaluations and noted that the response rate had decreased from previous surveys from 30% to 8%. One of the contributing factors may be that some ratings are sent in very late by instructors and details of the instructional experience may have blurred for some pilots.
A number of concerning questions were identified that would be caught up in future surveys: the mandatory Training Logbooks are not being used universally; and there seems to be little connection by new pilots to clubs/associations in the responses. On the positive side, it was reported that instructors were generally getting high marks regarding their business ethics.
It was recommended that the survey be continued and that instructors were to be advised in the Annual Instructor Advisory that they should encourage their students to complete the survey.
Proposal Acceptance Process
A Proposal Acceptance Process was developed by two Board members. It was stated that a transparent process would make it clearer for members to understand how HPAC makes decisions and would include member consultation. An SOP should make reference to such a process, which could become a template, and which would also provide guidelines for future Boards. Discussion centered around the importance of such a process not delaying decision-making. The process used by Transport Canada was seen as a good model. One Board member felt that if timeframes were attached to the process, it could actually speed up decision-making. There was also caution expressed that such a process should not impede the Board from making decisions outside of that process, as required.
MOTION: to adopt the Acceptance Proposal Process, with the HPAC President to coordinate any new proposals. Passed unanimously.
Competition Committee 2022 Proposals and Budget Request (Chair: Randy Parkin)
Robert Vandenbegine, Chair of the Competition Committee presented his proposals and Competition budget for 2022, which would also include some new initiatives, such as coaching for competition pilots, so that the activity of competition could grow.
He also reported that the Committee had approved the application by Tyler Borradaile and Jamie Sheldon to host the 2022 Canadian National Hang Gliding Championships in Savona, BC May 28-June 4.
Regarding the Paragliding Nationals for 2022, there had been no application made to date and therefore other options were being considered if no one came forward. Any National competitions held in conjunction with a foreign competition should require a vote by the Board, but there is currently no prohibition in the SOP’s for that to be considered. One Board member felt that any reference to funding not be too specific, so that there was flexibility to support periodic requests, such as for X-Alps. An application had been received from a BC pilot participating in a high level Hike&Fly competition in Europe.
Robert Vandenbegine also presented proposed changes to SOP 290 (Competition) for the Board to consider. One feature would be to discontinue use of the NTSS system and instead utilize the CIVL rankings in FAI, which allows rankings to be selected on a country basis.
The question was raised whether all pilots competing internationally should be supported or only the leaders in each discipline. The decisions would be made at the discretion of the Competition Committee working within their approved budget.
Nick Jones confirmed that after Board discussion, all proposed changes to the Competition SOP were approved in principle but would be sent to the Board for approval vote.
One Board member asked about the current status of National Champion in each discipline because these pilots are eligible for HPAC awards. Robert Vandenbegine indicated that the Competition Committee would still have to address that as there were nearly no competitions held again in 2021. There would be greater clarity after the 2022 season.
Regarding World Record Applications: One Board member requested there be a ladder or map as to the process for applying for a world record. He also reported on a request from a member for the XContest winner in any given year to be acknowledged, which used to be the case. He suggested that perhaps the Competition Committee could write a piece for the newsletter about the XContest winner in any given year so that all members could be made more aware of it.
Randy Parkin stated strong support for capacity in Canada for running meets. Margit Nance suggested that perhaps experienced visiting meet directors, who had a long history of running meets internationally, be asked to possibly do a workshop for aspiring meet directors, while they were here.
Safety Recommendations from the 2021 Quebec Fatality Investigator and proposed SOP Revisions
Nick Jones reviewed the recommendations from the 2021 Accident Investigation Report and indicated that he would draft the proposed SOP changes, as recommended by the Accident Investigator, with the assistance of the ED, and would then forward these to the Board for revision and vote.
One of the recommendations was that the last page of the completed Training Logbook for P1/P2 and H1/H2 (with signatures) would have to be submitted to the Office by instructors, along with the rating form, in parallel with documentation requirements in other forms of aviation.
One Board member indicated that perhaps a sub-Committee of Senior Instructors should be monitoring individual instructors. He recommended that all instructor courses should include extensive discussion of the Code of Conduct and a thorough understanding of the operating limitations of the various ratings.
One Board member asked that Senior Instructors might be asked to summarize their syllabus so it could be shared among Senior Instructors. Nick Jones suggested that a syllabus be created for HPAC, with recommendations from Senior Instructors.
First Aid Clarification Project
Nick Jones reviewed HPAC’s previous effort to give more guidance to pilots as to what constitutes an acceptable First Aid course in satisfaction of those requirements for instructor certification. It was agreed that the Occupational Health and Safety guidelines in each region included providers in most provinces, but not all of those programs might be adequate.
(Foreign 1-2 hour online refresher courses were no longer accepted for completing the First Aid requirement as of a few years ago).
Margit Nance reported that there had been inquiries about the Wilderness First Aid courses, and it was agreed by the Board that these courses far exceeded the offerings of standard first aid providers. She also asked about the international PADI First Aid program, which differs slightly from country to country and involves the water sport of diving rather than an aviation sport and will therefore have different kinds of injuries requiring First Aid. The question was whether the Board of Directors would accept a PADI Diving First Aid course, which was taken either in or outside Canada, as fulfilling the HPAC First Aid requirement for instructors.
Dave McDonald, Director for Yukon, and a professional EMS, offered to take on the project of First Aid clarification so that more specifics could be included in the SOP.
Instruction/Tandem Project, including On-Line Instruction and SIV protocols
Prior to discussion of a general Instruction/Tandem Review, the Board discussed proposed changes to SOP 420-9 (Instructor Certification) in which wording related to providing instruction to “remote” areas should be much more specific. It should also identify specific criteria for HPAC support that would need to be met. With Tyler Gillies in agreement, it was proposed that a course must be proposed by an instructor a minimum of 60 days in advance,
Must take place in a truly underserved area, and it must not otherwise be accessible for the pilots. It was also discussed that HPAC financial support would prioritize recertifying instructors over recertifying tandem pilots who do not teach ratings.
Nick Jones expressed interest in heading up the general Instruction/Tandem Review, that had begun in various contexts in past years but had not been finalized. He briefly reviewed the past efforts through the CSI, the tandem pilot consultation and various other proposals that had been put forward. The project would also include the option of some online instruction. He indicated he would consult with the CSI and other instructors, which members of the Board agreed was critical.
The Board determined that there should be a page on the website which would list (and link to) any online and other special instructional programs that various instructors might have. It would not be a page for advertising schools or products, but rather a listing of educational online opportunities for pilots. The page would have a disclaimer at the top that HPAC does not endorse any of these offerings. One Board member suggested that there should be some kind of curation so that instructors and students can know that the programs listed there are at least credible, with contact information for the person offering the course, so that instructors could review the program before adopting it for their students.
Regarding online exams, Nick Jones reported that one Senior Instructor had developed a good system for invigilating written exams, and that Nick Jones had witnessed this as working well. He would be consulting with instructors on this as well.
Regarding SIV endorsements, Margit Nance reported that Board policy is currently not clear as to who is qualified to offer an SIV course, with many pilots going outside the country to do an SIV. She asks pilots to connect with an HPAC-certified instructor prior to taking a foreign SIV as an instructor has to ultimately send in the SIV endorsement. Many instructors are very familiar with foreign SIV offerings. Margit Nance also reported that Patrice Jackson, President of AQVL, had had a huge amount of experience with SIV in France and had offered to set out for HPAC a set of criteria for an SIV course. The Board accepted this offer and Patrice Jackson will be asked to develop such a document for Board consideration.
Regarding HPAC-certified instructors offering travel programs for Canadian residents to start or complete ratings. One Board member suggested that the wording in SOP 420 needs to be expanded to show that that is permitted.
BUDGET AND FINANCE
Proposed Budget 2022
Tim Parker, Secretary/Treasuer of HPAC/ACVL presented the proposed 2022 budget. A Board member asked if there should be a formula or percentage as to how much of a balance HPAC should be carrying. Tim Parker indicated that he had kept roughly two years’ worth of operating capital in the account/investments at any given point in time in case of unexpected spikes in insurance or any other unexpected expense. Nick Jones stated that the Board also has to anticipate new costs such as adapting the website to accommodate a third tranche of our sport and so a financial cushion is important.
MOTION: to accept the budget as amended; passed unanimously.
Choice of Auditors
MOTION: To accept Jorgensen & Bickerton as Auditors for HPAC’s 2021 Financial Statements; passed unanimously.
SOP 220-6 Revision Proposal
Tim Parker proposed that the requirements in SOP 220-6 for provincial associations to be able to receive funds collected on their behalf by HPAC be changed to include basic provincial reporting requirements so that the provincial association was legally current.
MOTION: to make the changes as proposed by Tim Parker; passed unanimously.
Registered Amateur Athletic Association Application
Tim Parker indicated he had made application on behalf of HPAC which could open up funding opportunities for certain kinds of activities.
The Board reviewed the various nominations and approved them. (Awards are kept confidential so that local pilots can make the presentations at the local level at a time or event of their choosing; awards will be publicized in the newsletter after they have been awarded).
MOTION: to make the awards as nominated/discussed; passed unanimously.
2022 BOARD PORTFOLIOS
Board Portfolio Assignments
Nick Jones explained the Board portfolio system for the benefit of new Board members. The purpose is to focus individual Board member attention on recurring categories of issues, so that individual members could inform the other members of the Board on developments in that particular category of issues.
Board members volunteered for the following portfolios/special issues:
Communications: Randy Parkin
Competition: Sandra Ducasse
Safety and First Aid: Dave McDonald (with the assistance of Tyler Gillies)
Instruction/Tandem: Nick Jones (with the assistance of Chris Jette and Jon Lovering)
IT: Jon Lovering
BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE
It was determined by the Board that Board meetings would take place quarterly and virtually. The Executive Director was tasked with polling the Board for the next meeting in early June, 2022.
BOARD EXECUTIVE ELECTIONS
Nick Jones was nominated as President; Randy Parkin was nominated as Vice-President; Tim Parker was nominated as Secretary/Treasurer and Special Director to serve in that role; MOTION: to elect the President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer; passed unanimously.