Home Forums Banter CSS Rumors & Board Meetings

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    As someone who volunteered the last two years to be a CSS board member, I understand that as soon as you’re elected, by default you might become a punching bag for some. It’s not all bad, but somehow people stop seeing you as a fellow pilot & club member, suddenly you’re the “authority”, and they begin to demand changes, or action either in person, or via email-mail, etc.

    I don’t want to be one of those people that harass current board members to take certain actions. I’ll politely request to know what’s happening behind the scenes, because I care about the continued existence of the club. If I hear rumors of big changes coming, I’d like to know more about them. How do they impact our flying site? I don’t want to find out AFTER those changes have been made and I see no good reason for secrecy.

    This club belongs to all of us and we should be able to talk about the direction it will take in the future. I know that some believe it belongs to them more than to others, but it really doesn’t. That’s why we need transparency, meetings, and minutes for those meetings posted for all members to see. Board members are supposed to represent the club membership, it’s not a carte blanche.

    I’ll be very clear. As a paying member who hopes this flying site sticks around for a long time to come, I do not like, or appreciate secrecy from the board – current or future. If the rumors are true, I feel like there may be a very big conflict of interest brewing. Please share your plans with the rest of us, or someone else may share them for you, and maybe not in the way you like.

    These plans & actions might be a complete non-issue! The secrecy is what makes it seem so nefarious, so please share the info with the rest of us, so we can help steer the club in a positive direction.

    Having scheduled board meetings and posting the minutes is one way to do it. According to the club By Laws, you guys are overdue for a meeting. Another way is for one of you to address it here on the forum and allow member discussion to happen. Thanks!


    Thanks to those expressing their concerns: Jana above, Linda here, and Zac here.

    There is value in validating an option before presenting it, but transparency about motivations and implications is just as important.


    Thanks Jerome,…

    and yes, the CSS Board members are supposed to meet once every two months, which last happened on April 16th, 2022. It’s been more than two months since the last meeting.

    Only the General Membership meetings happen twice a year.

    It’s important for our club officers to stick to our By Laws, because we are a non-profit org and it could jeopardize our status. If I’m wrong, please correct me and show me the way.

    Below are screen shots of our By Laws stating what meetings need to happen when:


    Linda Salamone
    General Member

    Well you can all weigh in on this very professional drawing for the new camping proposal at CSS! How very exciting! B2BE454A-DAFD-41B9-93A1-DA8A2C373DB0

    Marcello DeBarros
    General Member
    CSS Instructor
    1. The professional drawing above is just a sketch over a google map print of the property boundaries of the club, with just some INITIAL IDEAS of how we could solve the tight spaces in the parking lot and an attempt to organize the RV and Van parking for the overnight staying pilots, so if you don’t have anything constructive to say or great ideas to help with this issue just save your hate towards the volunteers that are actually trying to improve the club.
    Stan Barankiewicz
    General Member

    The Board is not being secretive in any way.  Additionally, there have not been any Board meetings since April because no Board decisions have been made since.  I don’t understand where these rumors are coming from, but they are untrue.  The Board has not been planning or considering getting out of USHPA, changing the rating system, or obtaining another rating provider.  Each and every one of these decisions would have to be made beforehand by a vote of the entire club membership.  Additionally, that vote would only occur after the Board decides to put it to a vote.  Neither a single Board member nor a minority of Board members can force a vote or make such decisions.  This club is entirely democratic, which I staunchly uphold.  There is no rule by one or a select few.  Nor is there secrecy.  Just because a few Board members discuss potential ways to advance freeflight and improve our club does not mean the Board is being secretive.  Just because ideas are bantered around does not mean that important club decisions are going to be made against the will of the members.  Rest assured that cannot, and will not, happen.

    The Board is in the process of determining when the next Board meeting will be held in the very near future.


    Additionally, there have not been any Board meetings since April because no Board decisions have been made since.

    We’ve been holding board meetings once every two months regardless of whether or not we’ve had big decisions to make. You guys can talk about the shade structure progress, what the next steps may be, how far we are with it, how much we still need to raise to complete it, how the club is doing financially, about the website & CSS app(?), the web cams we all see mounted on the shade structure but can’t view, and it looks like the camping plans are also moving forward in a direction I personally haven’t heard much about. I see Gene moving a lot of dirt around so I know it’s expanding the parking lot, but what’s the end game? I’m not opposed to it, I just want to hear more details. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to know. It’s nice to see that map drawing to give us an idea.

    Schedule the meeting, get a list of things to discuss (even if there’s not too much to talk about) and post the minutes, like we’ve always done. That way we stick to our By Laws like we’re supposed to.

    As for secrets and a new ratings…

    The Board has not been planning or considering getting out of USHPA, changing the rating system, or obtaining another rating provider.

    While the above statement may be true (that the Board as a whole is not pursuing these avenues, or looking to get out of USHPA), what about individuals currently on the Board becoming a ratings provider via AUA, or taking it over?

    Personally I have no objections to alternatives for ratings (as long as they have the same or better standards as current providers), Europe has a couple of different ratings providers, it’s never good for anyone to have a monopoly on anything, I’m just surprised I’m hearing about it now. I definitely want to make sure that all CSS pilots & instructors maintain the ability to receive and issue USHPA ratings at AJX, regardless of whether another ratings system comes in the future, because for now that is the accepted standard for most regulated flying sites.

    And lastly, since I’ve heard it said that a USHPA rep serving on the CSS Board would be a conflict of interest, same would be true for a AUA rep (assuming one or more of you eventually do end up in charge of running the AUA). Just something to keep in mind if/when that happens for one, or more of you.

    Marcello DeBarros
    General Member
    CSS Instructor

    AUA is owned and administered by Ed Pittman and yes I’ve been a member of it for 2 years now and if the club decides to accept this new rating system it will be a decision made by all members of the club. The system is equivalent to USHPA with an even stronger and more complete FAA exemption.  The cost now to be an AUA member is only $50 per year regardless if you’re a tandem instructor or just a pilot, it is a simple form of administration like USHGA used to be back in the day before the junction of APA and USHGA. The club should have no problem in accepting this rating system and that means you can choose who’s tandem exemption you want to be under, if you love the way USHPA manages your ratings you can stay with them or you can join AUA and have the freedom every paraglider or hanglider would love to have. Stan, Jaipal and I took a trip to AUA headquarters to ask questions about insurance, FAA interaction, rating system, pilot protection from law suites, expansion AUA services to our club members and how that would work.
    We were really happy with our meeting with the entire board of AUA and they said they could serve CSS members starting now and if one day the president of AUA for some reason can’t continue the job, he said someone will take over and AUA will never die. If anyone has any questions about AUA or wants to become a member call me and I will explain more. 714 608 3451


    Stan, Jaipal and I took a trip to AUA headquarters to ask questions about insurance, FAA interaction, rating system, pilot protection from law suites, expansion AUA services to our club members and how that would work.

    Can you please elaborate on this? Do they provide insurance to pilot members? How does their ratings system work? What protection do they offer pilots and/or instructors against lawsuits? What services do they offer to the club?

    If anyone has questions, keeping the discussion in this thread seems like a good idea.

    Marcello DeBarros
    General Member
    CSS Instructor

    Since the FAA does not require insurance for you to operate and fly a hanglider or a paraglider AUA does not offer insurance. Aviation insurance is a flaw in the USHPA concept. Greedy lawyers will love to hear the word insurance so they can collect a fat paycheck. No insurance no law suit. No lawyer will take a case if there’s no money to be made. In our case we have to have GLI general liability insurance required by the DWR to keep our lease. Aviation insurance is not required by the  FAA or the DWR for the practice of our sport. The rating system AUA has now is the same used by the FAA for Sport Pilots and we are trying to add an extra more simplified pilot rating system similar to all international PG and HG rating system used all over the world like the FAI. That also will take board meetings so we can come on an agreement for a simple and effective rating system. Again it will be OPTIONAL FOR MEMBERS. if you thing the USHPA rating system works for you it’s a choice of everyone of us. You also will be able to have both like I do.  We’re trying to offer choices and not live under a monopoly. Back in the early 90’s we used to have APA American Paragliding Association that merged with the former USHGA to cut the costs on the insurance provided by loyds of London making USHGA the only entity to provide cheap GLI to small clubs and pilots anywhere in the United States. But it was third party liability insurance only, not aviation or pilot on pilot type of incident. More detailed explanation will be available in the general club meeting coming up soon, I’m trying to find a date for the meeting that will work for everyone or most members.


    Marcello wrote…

    No insurance no law suit [sic]. No lawyer will take a case if there’s no money to be made.

    Wishful thinking (Rationalization) may help to sleep at night, but… For those teaching at the site, and especially for the older instructors who have gathered assets, your financial loss risk exposure can be significant. Some surgeons retire early for this reason. For your sake (and your family), maintain adequate protection for all that you have worked for.

    Linda Salamone
    General Member

    marcello wrote,

    “I’m trying to find a date for the meeting that will work for everyone or most members.“

    Happy to hear this instead of “we don’t want meetings because they are work”.  Looking forward to it. It will of course be available virtually because that technology isn’t burdensome as we found out during the pandemic. It makes it even EASIER for more members to attend.


    I have a question about a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that sometime in the future the club votes to accept AUA ratings the same way we accept USHPA ratings now. Lack of insurance (from AUA) aside, let’s say that a pilot or instructor loses his USHPA ratings for one reason or another, but he/she is still a member of the AUA. Will that pilot or instructor be allowed to continue to fly or teach at AJX? What if that pilot or instructor loses their USHPA ratings and is not an AUA member? Will they be allowed to join the AUA and continue to fly and/or instruct at AJX as before? How is that going to work?

    Marcello DeBarros
    General Member
    CSS Instructor

    Yes. We’re trying to add to the bylaws of the club to accept other forms of rating system such as USHPA, IPPI, FAI and AUA. And if you are rated by any of these you will qualify to safely fly here by adding the CSS membership and waver so the DWR, National Forest, and the XC ranch will be covered as we have in our current policy. If it passes by majority member vote, instructors will be able to transfer all credentials from USHPA and no longer will be needed the 30 day temporary USHPA membership for tandems or lessons. Only the new waiver being redesigned by the club. It might be called in the future a contract and not a waiver,  But if you’re an instructor and want to better protect your assets you will be free to choose a better and stronger company to provide you with that policy, another way to open the door for personal choices like adding your paragliding school to an umbrella policy from your home insurance. Basically we’re trying to make our club better for everyone and being more inclusive to members like Zack majors that could not teach here under the RRRG program. And Dusty Rodes that only does tandems and don’t teach primary students, or Luke weaver that only teaches his best friends to share the passion of the sport, and Chris Tillier that brings family and friends from work to have a fun weekend with them. I hope I answered your questions and concerns and I’m glad that you are helping other members understand what the board of CSS is working for.

    Marcello DeBarros
    General Member
    CSS Instructor


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