WPSDA Sham, Dell Schanze & FlatTop
(Flat Top) Paramotor Review
Updated 2008 Oct 3 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | About
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.
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.
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
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
"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
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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
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