Questions from

J. Wright asked some great questions on I answered them there but thought they were worth also posting on here. Here’s the questions and answers as posted on there:

1) What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected to the BOD?

I’d like to bring some transparency back to USPA. What USPA and the board does should not feel like a “black box” to the members – as a board member, I hope to help to bring the USPA back in touch with its individual members through active communication, accessibility, and encouraging new forms of open, transparent communication about board and USPA activities.

2) How do you feel about the current GM program?

I don’t believe that it should be a part of the USPA, which I think should represent individual skydivers. However, I also believe that given the current (and likely future) makeup of the board, the GM program is not likely to go away. As a member of the board if the GM program is still in place, I would like to propose mandatory annual reporting from each GM dropzone on their compliance with the GM pledge. This information could be included upon renewal of the DZ’s group membership, and published on the USPA web site for all USPA members to see. For reference, the GM Pledge is included in the GM Manual here (though it does not appear to have been updated to include the new language on high-performance landings referenced in question 5).

I recognize that many may consider self-reporting to be a weak alternative to getting rid of the GM program, but I think it’s a realistic place to start. Forcing dropzones to report in a format that will be publicly viewable will add some level of accountability that does not currently exist in the GM program.

3) How do you feel about DZ`s that engage in deceptive Marketing practices?

I’m not a fan. Loaded question, J … don’t think you’re going to get anyone to answer any differently. Laugh

4) What is your opinion on a wing loading BSR?

I’m not sure it’s the solution. I’d rather look at whether a focus on more canopy skills (other than accuracy, which is already a requirement for the B & C licenses) as part of the B, C, and D licenses (where many jumpers begin to downsize, some aggressively) could have a more meaningful effect than a wingloading BSR. There are enough wingloading recommendations out there that get ignored already; I don’t imagine adding them to the SIM would necessarily help, but perhaps a focus on additional canopy skills beyond the A license will.

5) Do you feel that addding the promise to seperate High Performance Landing by by time or space to the GM Pledge has been effective and should the USPA try to do more about this issue?

I have not been to enough DZs since the change was made to say for sure that “the pledge changed/didn’t change things.” Anecdotally, I’d say that the DZs that were inclined to change had already done so, the DZs that weren’t, didn’t. But that’s based on a very, very small set of DZs, so it’s hardly a valid sample on which to make a judgment on whether it’s been effective.

See my response to #2 above for an idea to give this pledge some teeth. I’d like to see each DZ have to report at renewal each year what their landing solution is – then see that published on the USPA web site for anyone to review. Then I can go and look and see for myself what the DZ’s solution is, and when I show up there to jump and ask for a briefing, I’ll see for myself whether what’s on the USPA site is bullshit or not.

6) Would you support increasing the experience level required for a coach rating?

No, but I think we need to ensure that the people who are evaluating potential coaches are doing their jobs effectively to ensure that the candidates are ready to be coaches. Some people are ready at 100 jumps, some aren’t ready at 500.

7) How could we improve the current Election process?

I wrote quite a bit about it on my election blog, but it boils down to finally getting electronic balloting going – which can improve ballot integrity and (I believe) offer a way to do a full membership vote to get rid of the much-maligned RD petitions. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t want those to go away! Also, I think all of the non-candidates who bitch about voter turnout can do an awful lot to encourage voter turnout in November and December – it’s not just the responsibility of the candidates, it’s the responsibility of all members who care about this election.

8 ) What is your opinion on a GM inspection program?

I think it’s inappropriate and inconsistent with the mission of USPA. Even if the GM program stays a part of USPA, a membership organization investigating / inspecting its own members is set up to fail no matter how many checks and balances you try to put into it. There are almost guaranteed to be conflicts of interest and biases (either positive or negative) built into the process. It’s an entirely different situation from (for example) an FAA inspection, which is being conducted by an (ostensibly) neutral, professional government agent who has the force of law behind his or her actions.

I realize that it may seem inconsistent given that USPA can and does occasionally investigate and discipline individual members, but that happens when a serious infraction is reported that would warrant a disciplinary action (see page 21). USPA’s not going around monitoring individual skydivers like “today we’re going to check out J Wright to make sure he’s not violating any BSRs” (nor should it).


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