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I live primarily in Albuquerque but come out to my cabin in Crestline every 4 to 6 weeks. In New Mexico, training hill sites are virtually non-existent. Our only instructor teaches by towing and once or twice a year takes students to the Craters in Arizona for some foot launch experience. The newer pilots have almost no good sites for practicing their first higher flights. Thus we lose most of our pilots due to their inability to find places to hone their skills and become real pilots. I encourage our newer pilots to go to places like Marshall to get airtime but I can’t mentor them there because I am not a local instructor. I’m not an instructor at all anymore but I have been flying hang gliders for 40 years and paragliders for 20 years. But I have at least 25 years of experience flying Crestline/Marshall. So I can’t mentor newer pilots there. Instead, if I bring a pilot out there they have to find and pay an instructor multiple hundreds of dollars to observe their flying skills that they have already proven to the instructor who gave them their P2. Seems excessive to me. USHPA has always encouraged mentors so let’s let pilots with massive amounts of experience provide guidance to our newer pilots.
David, regarding some of your concerns, I think P2s should be limited to flying during early morning and late afternoon, not mid-day in summer. Such conditions clearly are appropriate for P2 pilots in almost all circumstances. Isn’t the LZ visible from the hang glider launch? If so, the P2 could launch down there and be in full compliance with the USHPA limitations for P2 pilots. I actually prefer to launch my paraglider down there rather than in the dirt up at the parking area. The LZ certainly is visible from Regionals.
My thoughts on this aren’t focused just on reducing the number of rule breaking P2s. I just strongly believe that the 750 and maybe Regionals and Marshall launches should be open to P2s early and late in the day. We are very lucky to have good launches and a big excellent LZ that late in the day almost always has a smooth consistent wind that will be from the south or west or somewhere inbetween. You should see what we have in our area for pilots to launch from and land on–small spots with cactus, rocks and shifting winds. This issue needs to be strongly considered by the club.