New England Paragliding and Hang Gliding Club Meeting Minutes – December 7, 2019
The meeting started at 6:30pm and ended at 10pm. There were 30 members and family at the meeting.
Opening statement and recap of flying community was made by our Club President Pete Williams.
Denize introduced the agenda and meeting protocol and asked us to play nice.
Membership information and financial report by John G. We have 143 members and we had 7 visitor members. We started the year with $6,926.13 in the club account. We collected $6,980 in membership fees and we have had $1,337.71 in expenses year to date. We currently have $12,397.65 in the bank account and PayPal account. We have an additional +/-$300 in expenses to pay. A detailed financial report will be shared with all members via an online file system in the near future. A detailed estimate of 2020 expenses will be shared after the members make some decisions on the future of Cannon, improvements to Mt Tom and other potential flying sites.
Tim lead an overview and discussion on our flying sites.
Cannon – No club members have flown Cannon in 2019. A few non-member hikes up and flew speed wings at Cannon. Our members will be asked to decide if we should continue to pay approximately $500/year to keep Cannon as a flying site. Since we cannot fly until the spring, we have some time to discuss and vote.
Mt Tom – We discussed why we have not moved forward on getting approval for the planned improvements that we wanted to make to the Mt Tom launch. The launch area is listed a high priority by the Mass Wildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and requires permits to make any improvements to the area. Our concern is that if we file the permits for work in this highly sensitive area, they may tell us to stop flying. Further discussion is necessary.
Plymouth/Bourne – John gave an update on the situation with the Town of Bourne. The Conservation Agent sent a person to video our activities and it was not good what was documented. Pilots were videoed yelling in the air, landing in trees and bushes, pilots grabbing other pilots as they flew through launch and gear, bikes and other bags laying in vegetation and trees. The Conservation Agent also has videos provided by the complaining neighbor of every dune and tree landing. In a meeting with the Conservation Agent in October, he requested that we attend a November 21st Conservation Committee meeting with a plan to eliminate the incidents. At that meeting John G presented an overview of the club and what we will do to reduce the incidents. A copy of that presentation was reviewed at this meeting and we will also make that available to all members via the online file system. We have to review all incident with the Conservation Agent, so please report all incidents ASAP to Jeremy Nickerson, the site director. Changes in club behavior at Plymouth must include the following: No walking, launching on or from dunes. Launch only from designated launch site and path up to launch site. No landing within 100 feet of people on the beach. No yelling from the air. No interfering, grabbing, or playing with pilots coming in for top landings. No flying over the neighbor to the left of launch house. P2 requirements to fly Plymouth were also discussed. A draft of a revised and more detailed Mentoring program was discussed and it will soon be shared with all members for review and comment. Plymouth can no longer be the first flying site that new pilots come to fly. The officers are proposing that we return to the existing requirement of a 10 hours of soaring experience for new PGs and 6 hours for new HGs to fly Plymouth. More discussion and vote to follow. The Town of Bourne will definitely be monitoring our activities, so we have to behave, especially when anyone arrives on launch. We suggest that we use the word “THERMAL” to notify all pilots that there is someone other than pilots on launch. It can be broadcast on radio and yelled out on launch to notify pilots.
The new Mentoring program was presented and discussed. We will also share this document for review and comment. The new program outlines specific skills and knowledge that must be conveyed by the Mentors. All mentors will be trained in the use of the document. The positive of this new program is that after completion of the program, a new pilot will be signed off to fly Plymouth with a P4/H4 or higher.
Wellfleet – The club will meet with Town officials to see if our club can control flying activities and expand when we can fly there. It was reported that a P4 pilot climbed up the dune multiple times attempting to launch approximately 500-700 feet north of the launch area. New pilots witnessed this and asked their mentors why they were asked to only climb on a dune on the paths to and from the beach and here some advanced pilot was breaking the guidelines. Pilots can only launch in designated areas or on existing paths to and from the beach. The pilot will be spoken to and repeat offenders will be banned from flying our sites if necessary. Please report any pilot that climbs on a dune and puts this great flying site in jeopardy.
We also discussed that all club members should be investigating any potential location for a new flying site. That includes a mountain top or a large field or open space that may be a potential tow site. We are also investigating if any of the empty lots where the houses were removed on the dune in Plymouth could potentially be for sale.
Education clinics presented by Tom Lanning. Upcoming plans for multiple clinics including an XC clinic in January.
Volunteers called for to write/update NEPHC bylaws. Mike Holmes, Jon Atwood, Stacy Patterson and John Gallagher will be reviewing and proposing new bylaws. Please contact John Gallagher if you would like to help with the new bylaws.
Club Officer nominations for 2020 were:
President: Pete Williams
VP: Denize Guimaraes
Treasurer: Brian Clew
Site Director: Tim Coleman
Secretary: Aine Friend
There were no other nominees. You will be asked to vote via an electronic voting system in the next week.
Meeting was webcast and an audio line. We welcome and encourage feedback. Please let us know if you tuned in via web forum and the quality of that experience. We hope to use this service for future meeting and educational programs.
You will be receiving e-mails with links to electronic voting of the officers, surveys and your input on matters such as the Cannon Mountain, improvements to Mt Tom and more. We need to develop some pros and cons for you to consider.