Reviews

WPSDA Sham, Dell Schanze & FlatTop (Flat Top) Paramotor Review

Updated 2008 Oct 3 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | About the Testing

Sorry, I just couldn't take it any more and removed the review due to the extraordinarily unethical behavior of it's maker.

2010 July 17 The sham that is Dell Schanze goes beyond anything I've seen, involving outright lies and remarkable jumps of fantasy. Beware that he will say anything to sell his gear regardless of its truth and has a well-earned reputation for vitriol. His "WPSDA" is a complete sham--merely a front to (not surprisingly) sell his gear. To support him financially is to deal a blow to the good efforts of many hard working instructors and volunteers of the USPPA, USUA and even USHPA.

One great irony of his rants is that he derides the USPPA for having no standards. Yet the USPPA's standards, all published quite clearly on its website and documents for instructors, are based on the USHPA's. His only actual "certification" comes through ASC which has no published standards whatsoever. Moreover, Most of the USPPA's officers are USHPA advanced pilots or instructors and 2 of its 3 training committee members are USHPA advanced instructors and tandem pilots.

2010 June 29 Dell Schanze is at it again. Spewing forth nonsense and vitriol and it's simply amazing someone can be so incredibly mean without any provocation whatsoever. Just amazing.

2009-Aug-18 I was recently forwarded a letter written by Dell Schanze, builder of the Flattop paramotor. It was incredible both in tone and the number of outright lies. This sort of behavior damages our sport by deceiving pilots who seek sound information and aren't used to encountering someone willing to so completely disregard truth. His travesty of lies and diatribes sickens those of us who strive to make a difference in the real world.

Dell's solution to safety issues are "buy my motor." Any merits of his statements are absurd in their conflict of interest let alone the fact that pilots will buy what the want for a variety of reasons. Real safety will come through efforts to improve all gear such as "A Better Paramotor."  It's up to the market and to pilot desires and always will be.

Even more than Dell's false and disparaging remarks against individuals, his disparaging lies about the USPPA are reprehensible in their vilification of an org that is working diligently towards real benefits for the paramotoring community. Efforts like maintaining the incident database, offering testing, and paying pilots to go through a complete training program are just a few.

That he is willing to outright lie is quickly seen in his many self-declarations of grandeur, not the least of which is his claim of being "World Champion." Dell has never won even a single U.S. competition, let alone a U.S. Championship or World Championship. The travesty is how such blatant lies detract from true world champions like Mathieu Roanet, 2009 winner of the World Air Games, paramotor, and Eric Dufour, winner of most U.S. Competitions.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend anyone listen to his vitriol since the rare nugget of truth will be ensconced in layers of ignorance and blatant lies. Additionally, buying anything from Dell Schanze is repugnant by virtue of fueling the fire of his deceit.

I'm compelled to address his vitriol here. Excerpts of Dells public writing, posted to an internet newsgroup, are in red.

Dell: "Jeff Goin will do ANYTHING to fight against the truth. They have their little USPPA group that will bully, defraud and blackmail in order to keep the truth away from those that need it. Like at the Flying Circus Fly In; these USPPA mafia threatened to spread a boycott to harm the promoters in any way if they allowed the truth to their show so they banned it."

A simple absurdity. Defraud? Bully? Blackmail? USPPA has no connection with any fly-in more than simply listing the event.

Dell has been banned from at least two events by their organizers but it was completely owing to his own obnoxious behavior and utterly unrelated to USPPA. In one case, the organizers simply wanted nothing to do with Dell after he viciously and personally attacked participant individuals in public forums. These attacks were so harsh, and so utterly baseless, that the organizers found it more palatable to ask Dell not to attend. Prior to the attacks, he had been welcome. USPPA had absolutely nothing to do with it.

See also The Truth About USPPA.

Secondly, I try extremely hard to maintain a balanced approach to information, especially regarding safety. I respect the right of pilots to choose: helmets, hang styles, starters, cage design, radios, reserves, home-building, wings, buoyancy devices, etc. Personal choices are a freedom we should relish. Dell's response is "You're an idiot if you fly anything other than my gear." That is obviously ridiculous, and completely ineffective at realizing actual safety improvements. I have nothing to sell besides information, and my traveling lets me see a lot--both what works and what doesn't.

They tried the same thing at Beach Blast. They threatened in every way they could to keep the truth out but for once an honorable guy stood up to them and told them to shove it."

Again, USPPA had absolutely no connection to Beach Blast, beyond promoting it, like at any other Fly-In. John Black, a friend of mine personally, never said anything about telling anyone to "shove it." There were, no doubt, pilots who expressed concern about Dell's appearance and some who didn't come because they knew Dell would be there. John explained that he had Dell's word that he would "behave" responsibly which, to Dell's credit, he did. John even said that Dell agreed to tone it down afterwards. We can see how far that went.

"For years the USPPA mafia has faught against the most experienced pilots in the industry to hide the truth and promote the cheap rip off copy equipment."

Hardly. The most experienced paramotor pilots in the industry were asked to make up its officers, training committee, and initial cadre of instructors. As it happens, most of them were also experienced paraglider pilots who were also Instructors in USHGA. Alan Chuculate, the first president, had nearly every rating USHPA offered. Secondly, some of the pilots he talks about, such as Chris Santacroce and Steve Mayer are, in fact, USPPA Instructor Administrators. As to equipment, it's ironic that Dell's own machine is a rip-off of the Walkerjet.

"Just watch the black hawk video where Jeff Goin himself flat out lies to people. He lets the shoulder straps all the way out on a Walkerjet and then pretends to show how it hangs low and bangs you in the back of your legs. Jeff pretends to be "neutral" but here he is in a SALES video lying about the safest unit on the market at that time: Watch at 1:35 where Jeff Goin, the "president of the USPPA" scam flat out lies to people. Look how he has the shoulder straps let all the way out and they just totally try to misslead people away from the truth.  youtube.com/watch?v=rojnftTd6tY

I don't say a word!

That video, shot in 2001 for a non-advertising purpose, probably followed nearly a minute of kiting and indeed it was a relief to get the heavy machine off my back. I *DO* find those machines more tiring to kite because of weight and where they hook in, a common trait of the style. It's not an issue because we don't kite with motors on our back unless we're making videos.

Secondly, the harness straps were NOT all the way out, they were in the position left by the owner/pilot, the position that he last flew it! Another flat out lie. Plus, that's a pretty common hang amount for the Flattop, see the column picture above right; that's an experienced Flattop pilot preparing to launch -- notice where the machine hangs down to.

Phil Russman another thug of the USPPA mafia also promotes the cheapest and lowest quality unit in the sport. They sell their souls for money attacking the safest units in the industry and leaving a trail of blood and carnage behind them because of it.

What Phil sells is up to him but he is neither a "thug" nor is there any "USPPA mafia". Utter nonsense.

In the realm of studying safety, this type of hyperbole is destructively misleading. Constructive dialogue on safety would concentrate on traits not brands. I have nothing to do with any manufacturer and, in fact, have turned down free gear in order to remain neutral, even in competition.

Dell tells new pilots that other paramotors will "Fall apart like a cheap suit" in a crash, yet I've seen the Flattop be severely damaged in a crash. NO paramotor is made to survive a crash. All paramotors will bend in a crash which is desirable in order to protect the pilot. And I've watched, or seen the results of crashes from nearly every paramotor brand out they and they all provide some significant level of protection. There are problems, of course, including the Flattop. Problems that should be addressed individually rather than through this ridiculous "Mine is good, yours is trash" approach taken by Dell Schanze.

Dell added "USPPA Instructors" ... promote the most horribly unsafe equipment and training in the industry. Another of their ring leaders, Bob Armond, would tell people they could safely train on their own and would mail them a DVD to learn with. This nightmare was promoted by the usppa scam as "Approved Instructor". They also bully pretty much all the other groups to ban and badmouth up and down the safest equipment because they don't get a kickback from it.

There are many, many brands represented by USPPA instructors from Fresh Breeze to Pap and even Flattop. To make such a ridiculous generalization is an obvious lie and destructive. If an instructor obtains his instructor certification, he is listed as such. Secondly, Bob Armond was never an Officer, Chairman or Instructor Administrator. He was an instructor, one of many. Hardly a ringleader.

Thirdly, USPPA never "promoted" any individual instructor. In fact, in about 2005, it began promoting those instructors who used the syllabus. And it put its money where its mouth was by paying training reimbursement only to those students whose instructor used the syllabus all the way to a rating. It encouraged (and still does) students to both find not just a USPPA instructor, but one who uses the full program. This accusation of bullying is utterly baseless. USPPA encourages pilots to use certified instructors who use the syllabus and get ratings for a very good reason--it helps insure more thorough training.

USPPA backs this up by PAYING pilots a portion of their training cost if they complete the requirements, using the syllabus, and earn a rating. Every pilot who earns a PPG2 rating is entitled to $150 from USPPA. Find me another org doing that! USPPA is able to do this because the day-to-day business is run by volunteers.

Very few reasonable people would purchase the outdated units with the known safety problems if they simply had the facts.

Poppycock! People ride motorcycles which are MUCH more dangerous than cars. Some even do so without helmets, almost doubling their risk. Such a statement ignores the fact that pilots will buy what they want for many reasons. If Dell really wants true safety improvements he would work to encourage safety features rather than just defaming non-Dell brands. Its a shame because there ARE units with more comfort, better weight shift and great net protection. Moreover, there are very effective ways to make existing paramotors nearly prop-proof. See if you ever hear that from Dell.

As to the FlatTop, there is no doubt that a pilot can learn on it and succeed. Once learned, his success will be the same as any other experienced pilot. But it is harder to learn on for a number of reasons. That's not just my observation, it comes from prolific paramotor instructors who sell and teach on both attachment styles. There are exceptions, of course, but that observation is way more widespread.

I would love to spend my time on more productive pursuits but sometimes these baseless attacks are just more than I can stand without getting real truth out there. See also www.PPGTruth.com.

Dell Schanze has erupted again, accusing me of misstating how low the Flattop hangs.

Guess what, the top picture is a properly adjusted Flattop getting ready to launch. There's nothing wrong here, it's just amusing that I was accused of attacking the low-hanging nature of the machine and here is an experienced flyer of the thing showing its configuration.

There are others with this characteristic, even some high attachment models. But, if said about the Flattop (actually the comment was about a Walkerjet), I get viciously attacked.

The next picture is for comparison and is why most pilots find a higher balancing point more comfortable.

If you're looking for low hang points and weight shift, this is most certainly not the best choice. Competition and Aerobatic pilots in Europe nearly universally choose machines with moving arms which the FlatTop does not have.


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!