March 20 – March 21, 2021
- 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
- Logan Small, Yukon Director
- Bastien Dufour, Québec Director
- Margit Nance, HPAC Executive Director
(Martin Palmaz, USHPA Executive Director, and JP Robert Vandenbegine, Chair, HPAC Competition Committee, present for specific agenda items)
Nick Jones, President of HPAC, reported on the increase in membership in 2020, the status of national initiatives, such as the Board-approved instructor certification extensions, given the difficulty for instructors to access courses during the pandemic and the renewal of HPAC’s insurance policy for 2021-2022.
This report was followed by regional reports by all Directors. Highlights included the addition of Sun Peaks Resort as a major year-round flying site in BC, the reestablishment of the Alberta Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, the positive response by the Saskatchewan Provincial Park System to allowing the sport in provincial parks there, a new school called Northern Glide with certified instructors operating in the Ottawa/Gatineau area, the closure in Quebec of Voiles4Saisons as a school entity with the Senior Instructor there continuing to certify instructors. Other instructors at the school would be starting their own school. Site issues between various entities were reported in Quebec. Atlantic Canada saw the cooperation between Board members and instructors in the invigilation of exams, so that pilots could still be signed off during the pandemic. A Cape Breton ski resort had opened up to paragliding as well.
The report of the Executive Director, Margit Nance, reviewed HPAC Office participation in key projects such as the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project, HPAC Insurance negotiations and acquisition, legal issues, provincial association consultation, coordination of ongoing Parks Canada negotiations, consultation with international sister organizations, as well as internal activities, e.g. support to Board members, such as on the Student Evaluations being conducted by the Vice-President, writing and editing of the Newsletter, Committee coordination, and extensive services to over 1100 members, including ratings, instructor certifications, distribution of logbooks, etc. and inquiries from members, instructors and the general public.
A Project Process discussion was held regarding the initiation and completion of projects by individual HPAC Board members, with encouragement that all projects be first brought to the Board for general buy-in and assistance before the completed projects are presented. It was also important to keep members informed on the status of projects.
Board Portfolio Assignments for 2021 were made (this process helps distribute the policy work of the Association among the various Board members): Tyler Gillies portfolio continues to be the Speedflying Project, Chris Jette takes on Instruction, Jon Lovering continues with the Tandem Review, Logan Small continues with the Technology portfolio, Randy Parkin continues with the Communication Portfolio and also takes on the Competition portfolio, Bastien Dufour continues with the Safety portfolio, and Tim Parker continues as Secretary/Treasurer.
On the recent renewal of HPAC’s policy, a limit of $500,000 per claim, and in the aggregate, has been added to the Commercial General Liability policy, which provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage to 3rd parties for any claims arising out of improper instruction. The policy continues to include an exclusion for injury to participants, whether arising out of instruction or not. The process of issuing insurance certificates has had to be changed into a more labour-intensive system involving the issuance of the certificate by the broker instead of HPAC, due to the falsification of a certificate in 2020 by a member in BC.
A discussion on HPAC Copyright Issues included the difference between Open Source and Public Domain designations, in specific as it relates to documentation that is shared among associations. Nick Jones suggested that all volunteers on the Board and on committees sign a Volunteer Agreement, so that all materials developed under the auspices of the Association, continue to be the property of the Association. This is also a liability issue.
Randy Parkin reported that there were no disciplinary issues pending, other than to remind pilots, which he was doing on a one-on-one basis, that they must not violate airspace regulations.
He also gave an overview of Student Surveys, now beginning their third year. There were improvements in the use of the mandatory Training Logbook for P1/P2 and H1/H2; pilots also appear more confident in the training they have received. Some instructors expressed concerns about the length of time it takes for pilots to complete a Novice P2 (an average of 22.3 weeks). In some schools, a single instructor signs off on all students, making it difficult to specifically evaluate individual instructors in those schools where team-teaching takes place.
Margit Nance reported a series of programs on weather on the CBC program “The Nature of Things” in which paragliding had played a major role. Much of it was filmed at the 2019 Paragliding Nationals and involved pilots Nicole McLearn, Kevin Ault and Brett Hazlett.
COMMITTEE REPORTS AND PROPOSALS
On behalf of the Safety Committee, Bastien Dufour reported on the workplan of the Safety Committee and future projects, such as benchmarking. He also proposed an increase to the Committee membership by two, ideally one from the hang gliding community and one from speedflying (there are currently two paraglider pilots on the committee). Bastien indicated his willingness to serve as interim Chair of the Safety Committee.
JP Robert Vandenbegine, new Chair of the Competition Committee, joined the meeting to present the report of the committee and propose short-term and long-term objectives of the Committee. He encouraged the participation of foreign competitors in Canadian competitions to mentor up-and-coming competition pilots in Canada, in the course of providing a mentoring pipeline for international competition by Canadian pilots. He also proposed the replacement of the old NTSS ranking system with the system used internationally by CIVL. It was agreed by the Board of Directors that foreign meet directors could participate in the presentation of Canadian competitions, as long as some kind of mentoring/meet director training would take place in order to strengthen the meet director contingent in Canada. Robert also mentioned the plan to initiate a “Competition Academy” that would provide a pipeline for competitors to advance.
The topic of Senior Instructor Self-Recertification is one that had been raised by an instructor and a concern that Senior Instructor ranks were static, with eligibility requiring that a Senior Instructor teach an Instructor Course every three years. The instructor had also suggested that HPAC “hire” instructors to travel to teach in areas with few if any instructional resources. Nick Jones addressed the topic with the Board of Directors. While the Instructor and Senior Instructor SOP’s likely need review, there was not a
consensus that the system is necessarily broken. There was unanimity that HPAC should not be “hiring” instructors and thereby getting involved in the commercial provision of instruction.
The Speedflying Project was reviewed by Tyler Gillies. A Speedflying Syllabus and rating system had been developed by a number of USHPA pilots, with input from New Zealand pilots and one from Canada. The concept was put forward that USHPA, NZHGPA and HPAC could share these materials. Martin Palmaz, Executive Director of USHPA, was invited to the meeting for this item, and reported that, after the syllabus and rating system, came out of the Safety and Training Committee of USHPA, the material would be going out to USHPA members for a 30-day feedback period, prior to coming to the USHPA Board for the development of an SOP and a vote. He also indicated that he would develop a shared-use agreement, as a way for a number of national associations to benefit from this development. After that, the new rating system would need to be integrated into the Membership Management System of the USHPA website. This would be a similar process in Canada.
Issues of insurability were also raised but at present there are no separations by insurance companies of paragliders versus speedfliers and no data are available about any increased accident rate. One Board member took on researching accident data for speedflying, as a matter of due diligence.
The Board reaffirmed the decision from the 2020 ADM that bringing speedflying into the fold and providing good instruction, would improve overall safety of pilots who were now speedflying under the radar both with and without membership in any association. In the immediate future the proposed speedflying syllabus would be sent to the Council of Senior Instructors (CSI) and other instructors for feedback.
Jon Lovering reported that the Tandem Certification Project had not progressed beyond the survey of instructors/tandem pilots that was conducted in the fall of 2020.
BUDGET AND FINANCE:
Tim Parker reported that in the 9 months prior to December 2020, there had been 996 member renewals in addition to new members. There was Board discussion related to the Competition budget allocation, and commitment expressed that support funding from HPAC should continue to be focused on regional and national meets in Canada, as well as international competition.
Nick Jones reminded the Board that funding would also be required to translate the lengthy speedflying syllabus. And Tyler Gillies said that a corresponding Training Logbook for Speedflying would also have to be developed, but that the existing Training Logbooks could serve as templates.
There was also reconfirmation that all designs involving uses of the HPAC logo by the Competition Committee, e.g. for the development of t-shirts for Team Canada, would need to be pre-approved by the Board of Directors through the Office in order to maintain the brand of the Association.
Tim Parker indicated that there were a full year’s operating expenses in HPAC’s reserves as a hedge against rising insurance rates or legal fees related to future cases.
Tim Parker also presented the Provincial Association Documentation Requirements, which would allow for HPAC to continue to collect provincial association fees on behalf of those associations where they exist (Yukon, BC, Alberta, Atlantic Canada, Quebec). Provincial associations will need to send their provincial filing documentation to the Secretary/Treasurer in order to be eligible for the annual transfer of funds to the provincial association and continued collection on its behalf.
Tim Parker recommended to the Board that HPAC apply for Registered Amateur Athletic Association status. One of several benefits is that donations could be received by HPAC and a tax receipt issued.
Margit Nance presented the award nominations that had been sent in by members. The Board reconfirmed that all award nominations continue to require a description of the service rendered that would make the member eligible for the award. All awards are kept confidential so as to give the nominator(s) at the local level the opportunity to surprise the recipient at a local event of their choosing.
2021 PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT ELECTIONS AND SECRETARY/TREASURER APPOINTMENT
The following were elected/appointed unanimously:
- President: Nick Jones (Nick Jones abstained from vote)
- Vice-President: Randy Parkin (Randy Parkin abstained from vote)
- Secretary/Treasurer: Tim Parker (appointment) (Tim Parker abstained from vote)
Regional elections to take place in late fall 2021 in Alberta, Quebec and Yukon.