Chapter 35: Preserving the Sport (Not In
Jan 18, 2014 | Section VI: Getting the Most
Out of PPG
See related opinion article
How To Really Muck It Up.
It is a sad reality that some pilots are willing to risk the entire
sport for their own amusement, attention or gain. Such behavior won't
likely shoot us down at once, rather it will pick off our freedoms
gradually or sully our reputation one more notch. Eventually, any given
violation raises the possibility of starting an avalanche of regulation.
This is a web-only Chapter and will be updated as new material
It turns out that paramotors and skittish prey don't mix.
Given that hunters gravitate to the same times of day as we do and
frequently at the same times, it might be good to learn where they're
likely to be. Bullets fly. We fly. We'd rather not meet so this could be
quite beneficial. To date, I know of nobody getting violent but there
are anecdotes that include holes in wings.
Pilots have had nasty confrontations about what turned out to be
hunting grounds. Needless to say, if you have any evidence of getting
shot at, that's attempted murder and the offender should go to Prison.
Do everything you safely can to achieve that but, in the meantime, don't
go looking for a confrontation.
Yes, you may indeed have a right to the airspace but that property is
owned by someone. It's possible he's someone who could be friendly to
paramotorists unless he's turned off by an angry rent-paying
hunter. These people may be paying high dollar for their few days in the
"blind" so they may be easily provoked. Be reasonable.
Marty Hathaway in Florida offered up this website for locals but
other states will have something similar. It might be a good idea to
learn more about where and when these guys will be.
Be careful, not
every hunter follows these dates to the T.
Happy height hunting.
Most pilots who put us in a bad light don't want to. They may not
even be aware of how they are being perceived. Simply talking with them
will reveal if that's the case. Don't be intimidating or threatening,
just let them know that what they're doing could bring bad press or
worse on themselves and the entire sport. If delivered tactfully, your
message will probably be well received. Try to include the pilot
in groups that fly together and demonstrate responsible flying with
regard to the public. But if and the pilot persists, and continues
irresponsible behavior that attracts poor press, take the next steps.
Let the rogue pilot know that they're actions threaten everybody's
freedom and it is not appreciated. Talk to those they respect and try to
enlist their help.
Avoid contacting the FAA or local government agencies unless they are
already involved or their involvement is imminent. It is best to handle
our problems internally, to the extent possible, rather than increase
the awareness of our bad apples. But once they're involved, most
certainly let them know that you've tried to do you part, that most of
the pilots are trying to do the right thing and would rather work within
Thanks to Ed Poccia for suggestions in this material
There are a number of ways to put powered paragliding in a good
light. These can do a lot to counter the bad press that is,
unfortunately, what the media tends to focus on. Here are some
suggestions of things you can do although some may not be likely
depending on where you live. Thanks to Ed Poccia for pointing this out.
If you have other ways that you have been successful at putting PPG in a
positive light, we would love to hear them! Send your story or idea to
Offer organizations the opportunity to have
you or your group fly at local events. Of course you must be able to
remain clear of gathered people or congested areas but, in many cases,
that's easy. For example:
Albuquerque's Bob Morin had their group fly at the opening of golf
tournaments in Grants, NM to provide a bit of spectacle during the
of Colorado has had PPGs participate in a Balloon Rally used as a
charity fund raiser.
of Socorro, NM welcomes PPGs as part of their holiday celebration.
Charity Fly-In where all or part of the proceeds go to benefit the
charity. Get pilots to sign up contributors who donate some amount per
Each of these efforts will give PPGs a positive image and offset, to
some degree, the bad taste left by those who don't give a hoot.
Thanks to Jeff Burill for the information
ruining it for future generations of pilots, a rogue or thoughtless
pilot can feel the wrath of society, too. As the case below reveals,
authorities do sometimes intervene. Some interventions aren't always
even fair or legal but the pilot will still have to show up in court.
This pilot disregarded good practice and garnered some undesirable
attention when he
violated the country's rules. The
organization that covers
paragliding there is tasked with keeping the peace. Don't blame them for
trying to protect their member's privileges.