US Association Name

Let's make everyone feel as if they belong

by Jérôme Daoust, version 2006/3/21


1.      Open Letter

2.      Cost

3.      Name Recommendations

4.      Timeline

5.      Links + Documents

March 18, 2006: USHPA.


Open Letter

Top of Page


Our association's name (and its acronym) is overdue for a change to honor its multiple disciplines.


Abbreviations, which will be used :  HG (Hang-Glider), PG (ParaGlider).


Some advocates of keeping the name in its current HG-only form, may argue that :

  1. PG is by definition a HG, so HG is generic enough.  This is playing both sides of the fence depending on what is convenient at the time, because reality is otherwise :

·        Our association has separate rating designations, separate skill sets.

·        Pilots make a clear distinction of their equipment as being either PG or HG.  Tell a HG pilot you had a collapse on your HG or had problems inflating it, and they will quickly set you straight.

·        Accident reports and statistics make a clear distinction between PG and HG.

We must align ourselves with the common notion that PG and HG are 2 different things. 

  1. Cost (see section below).
  2. If PG turns out to be a temporary trend, we will be happy we kept the old name.  But PG seems to be growing at an increasing rate, not fading away.  Recent statistics:





39.5 %

60.5 %


40.1 %  (+0.6 over 2002)

59.9 %


41.7 %  (+1.6 over 2003)

58.3 %


42.8 %  (+1.1 over 2004)

57.2 %


44.4 %  (+1.6 over 2005)

55.6 %

Note:  Members who belong to both divisions are counted as both PG and HG pilots, subscribers are ignored.

  1. PG should reach 50% of members before we consider reviewing the association name.  This has no basis.  And what happens when PG reaches more than 50% ?  Can HG be dropped completely form the name as PG is currently ?  Deciding a name solely based on the majority of participants is wrong and ostracizes the other disciplines.
  2. We must keep the same name to preserve brand value and recognition.  Unlike IBM or big celebrities, our name has very little influence on our product sales.  Organizations we report to, will recognize us in the same way (there is no competition).
  3. You seem to forget that PG pilots were adopted into our association, not the other way around, and benefiting from all our previous hard work.  That hard work is recognized and our association's history will remain.  Not loosing sight of the past we must also look at the future and make every member feel as if they equally belong.  Our current name represents an old attitude, which needs to be refreshed.
  4. Why don't you learn to fly a real soaring machine (suggesting a HG) ?  There is no such thing as a real soaring machine.  A HG doesn't perform as well as a sailplane, nor offer the convenience of a PG, it is a compromise.  In my case, I spent a Summer learning to HG (in another country) and enjoyed it greatly, gathering a few solo hours.  Just not my choice at the moment, but I may return to it in the future, or try other ways of flying.  Our association name should not be based on a vote of what is the most popular wing type, and this will be good for HG when PG reaches more than 50%.
  5. If you don't like our association name, you are welcome to leave.  The name of an association and its benefits are different issues.  Not liking the current name has nothing to do with the appreciation of those working for our association or what it represents and offers.  Such comments just reflect frustration from closed minds.  Suggesting that members leave (possibly to for another association) because they raise issues, is self-destructive.
  6. People don't take up a new sport because of the name of an association.  Agreed, increasing membership is a different (and important) issue. This name change is aimed at respecting/pleasing existing members.
  7. A name change would require governing bodies like the FAA and Forest Park Service to modify forms and documents, inviting policy reviews and unwanted side effects.  This plays on the fear of the unknown, which is a good scare tactic to maintain status-quo.  Reality would be more balanced, and if any policy is reviewed, it could also be to our benefit.
  8. Efforts to change our association name are just scheming and destructive.  The goal is to eliminate the current name dissatisfaction, then move on to work on bigger issues together with a greater sense of belonging.  The goal is not to destroy or hinder our association.  That would be scheming and destructive.  This process is being done in an open and public manner, not lobbied in secret.
  9. If some members feel alienated by our current name, that's their problem.  Another disrespectful comment.  When will we hear "I care of what you think" ?
  10. There isn't a better name anyway.  I can think of many.  See list below under "Name Recommendations".
  11. This is a waste of time.  For those opposed to a change, I'm sure this is a true perception.
  12. We made our own poll at our club and there was no interest.  Small sampling group and local politics can easily prevail.
  13. If our association changes its name, I will leave.  Isn't this what people say (threats), when they run out of good arguments ?


Having an association name biased as HG-only, it conveys :  HG rules here.  The longer it takes to switch from a HG-only form, the increasingly obvious it becomes that there is resistance to change, for the sake of resistance.  This does not put us in good light.


The current HG-only name is a marketing error.  See letter by James Bradley.


Let's turn the tables and consider the reverse image :

Our association has a PG-only name.  How does a HG pilot feel about it ?

That's the way I feel now.  Making our association name non-HG specific, will generate a greater sense of belonging from other disciplines.


This change is overdue as other countries are far in the lead in revising their names.  A few examples…

Free Flight


Federación Argentina de Vuelo Libre



Fédération Belge de Vol Libre



Associaçiao Brasileira de Vôo Livre



Fédération Française de Vol Libre



Federazione Italiana di Volo Libero



Federação Portuguesa de Voo Livre



Slovene Free Flying Association



Asociación Venezolana de Vuelo Autónomo


Hang gliding and Paragliding


Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada



Danish Hang gliding and Paragliding Association



Irish Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association



Korea Hang & Para Gliding Association


New Zealand

New Zealand Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association


South Africa

South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association



British Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association



Let's stop talking about collaboration, let's show it to the world,

            Jérôme Daoust, mostly PG, a few solo HG hours.




 Top of Page


Discussion :

·        Concern :  It will cost money to handle the name change and more important issue could be addressed instead.

o       Jérôme Daoust, 2004/2/20:  Money and time well spent too.  Associations, which have done this, seem to have survived the hurdle. If left unresolved, the future cost will keep growing, as this issue will remain and grow.  If it is found that this is the main reason for not updating our name, the association should supply the estimated cost, and I personally pledge 250 $US and will help to gather donations toward eliminating this concern.  Once the change is made, we will look back and realize we made a bigger deal out of this, than it was worth.

o       Canadian cost example.  Andre Nadeau, HPAC Transport Canada Liaison, writes (2004/3/2)…  What we did in Canada was not changing the name of the existing corporation but creating a new corporation with a different structure and then transferring the holdings of the old corporation into the new one. What the US Association wants to do is simply change its name.  In Canada, there is a small fee to change a corporation name - I think $50. There should be something similar in the US.  There should also be a number of expenses associated with changing the association name. These include new domain name, new letterhead, stamps and assorted administrative paraphernalia. There may be some marketing costs involved as well but I would not know the details. These costs can add up quickly. We did not have to worry about them in Canada. Overall, the big cost is the hassle associated with filling up the necessary paperwork.

·        Jim Macklow, 2004/3/16 :  How about the cost of the name change ?

o       Mark G. Forbes (Association VP at the time), 2004/3/16 :  Minimal, I expect. First off, we're not going to 'scrap' anything. We'll use it up, and order new stuff as needed with the new logo and/or name.  We don't keep huge amounts of inventory around, in any case. We probably have less than fifty USHGA-branded shirts and so on, and small amounts of other clatter. The magazine gets printed every month; changing the name there isn't going to cost much. Stuff on the website will get updated as it gets touched for other reasons, but we wouldn't spend a whole lot of effort on that.  We're going to have to move the office, so some stuff will have to change anyway. Whether it's across town or to a new city, the address is going to change. For the short term, we can just put a cheap sticker on to cover up the old address and change it to the new one.

·        Anticipated costs :

o       Jim Macklow, 2004/3/16 :  Informing the FAA of our new name (since all the exemptions for tandem "instruction" and aero towing are given to the "USHGA"). Before that, spending time with FAA finding out the process for informing them of the name change... Who in the USHGA office has spare time for this? Oh do the same for the FAI and CIVL, too.

§         Mark G. Forbes (Association VP at the time), 2004/3/16 :  Informing FAA isn't a big deal; our exemptions are being revised as Sport Pilot is implemented, and they know who we are whether our initials are "USHGA" or something else.

o       Jim Macklow, 2004/3/16 :  Changing all the printed matter (forms, magazine, letterhead/envelopes at the main office, etc). New checks from the bank with the new name would be nice, too.  Pay a designer for new logo with new name in it.  Pay trash company to haul away the old logos, t-shirts, and other valueless swag with the old name on it. (or maybe auction it off on E-bay to the diehard HG pilots wanting a piece of the past).

§         Mark G. Forbes (Association VP at the time), 2004/3/16 :  A new logo has been considered before, and we've got both our magazine art director and some volunteers who have put efforts into that area. We need to decide what sort of logo we want, but that's a separate question. Lots of people like that orange meatball, just for recognition reasons.

§         Steve Roti (Honorary Director), 2005/3/6: Almost all USHGA forms are in electronic format and are printed on demand now so there will be little "reprinting cost" for forms.

o       Jim Macklow, 2004/3/16 :  Pay swag company for new stuff with new logo/name on it. Redo all the advertising so that the newly logo-ed swag is pictured in the ads.

§         Mark G. Forbes (Association VP at the time), 2004/3/16 :  As for swag, that's an area we could use some help on. We haven't put any effort into new stuff in the past few years, because it's mostly not much of a moneymaker for us. We make a little bit on it, but not enough to spend a lot of time on new designs and promotion. If you know some hotshot swag masters, we could use some help to update the stuff we have now to something cooler.

o       Web site update.

§         Steve Roti (Honorary Director), 2005/3/6: I will volunteer my time to make all necessary changes to the USHGA Web site at no cost.



Name Recommendations

Listed by personal preference

Top of Page



Full Name



United States Free Flight Association

Free Flight allows motorized flight, as Free stands for the liberty from requesting flight authorization, not engine-Free.  Because some people (looking for a loophole) may think it may relate to a financial attribute (No site/membership fee) we should have a disclaimer.  This name is generic, not focused on specific wing types, and follows a pattern demonstrated by other associations.  Also good for rigid wings who don't use weight shift for control (like the Swift).


United States Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association

Too focused on the types of wings.  What if the list grows in the future ?


United States Ultralight Glider Association

Does Ultralight convey the wrong message for our typical choice of wing ?


United States Light Glider Association

Acronym is hard to pronounce (not important).


United States Foot Launched Association

Foot Launched would include typical tow launches as the feet are still used.  Need a provision for those using a dolly ?  What about paraplegic pilots who use a cart to launch ?  I don't like the word Foot being at the center of attention, sounds like a fetish.

- - - Not acceptable below this level - - -


United States Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association

Uneven HG and P letter count.  The concept (HG, PG) is what matters, not word counting (those saying HG is 2 words, VS one for PG).


US Human Gliding Association

The only advantage is to keep the same acronym but it conveys the wrong message :  That flight is possible mainly from the human body shape.  This would be better suited to skydivers who get some glide from special suits.  Maybe that is what a small critter on you back, would be doing as you fall though the air : Human Gliding.


General comments :

  • Selection should not be dependent on available domain names.  The URL for the association does not have to match.
  • Looking at the FAI list of other countries' association names and comparing the "Free Flight" and "HG & PG" names, they seem evenly matched: 7 for "Free Flight" (in their own language) and 7 for "HG&PG".




Top of Page


  • 2003/3/17.  Discussion on the Big Air Forum. See Discussions.
  • 2004/2/20.  Creation of this web page.
  • 2004/2/29.  On-line Poll , created by Steve Roti, goes live under our association's web site.
  • 2004/3/12.  Colorado Springs BOD meeting :

o       Membership and development committee report.
Members present and voting :  D. Jebb, S. Mayer, P. Voight, Bill Bryden, B. Weaver. G. Tradeau, John Greynald, Urs Kellenberger, M. Forbes, T. Hurst, J. Johnson, D. Sterling, F. Amanutegui, Paul Gazis, J. Zieset, L Tate.
David Jebb moved that the BOD should solicit and promote a membership debate to determine what the name of the Association should be. This to be completed on or before spring 2006. Seconded by Bruce Weaver. Motion approved.

o       The Membership and Development Committee appointed  John "Tad" Hurst <thurst AT chemnavigator DOT com> to come up with a process for reviewing the question of what the name of the organization should be.

  • 2004/10/6.  The On-line Poll is closed (2004/2/29 – 2004/10/6).  A majority is for the change. See Latest Snapshot.
  • 2004/10/14.  Tad Hurts writes:  At the Oct, Board of Directors (BOD) meeting, the procedure for the name change effort was approved. See Approved procedure for the name change.
  • 2005/3/1.  The On-line Poll for alternate names is closed (2004/10/25 – 2005/3/1). The 2 favorite new names are "United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association" and "United States Free Flight Association".
  • 2005/3/16.  Preparation of the letter in favor of the name change, which will appear in the magazine.
  • 2005/5/31. Discussion on the ParaglidingForum.
  • 2005/5/31. On-line Poll is closed (2005/5/31 – 2005/6/10). A majority is for the change. See Latest Snapshot.
  • 2005/6/28. On-line Poll is closed (2005/6/28 – 2005/10/1). It was a re-start of the previous one. A majority is for the change. See Latest Snapshot.
  • 2005/10/5. With the majority in favor of a change in the previous poll, we will have a formal vote in January 2006.
  • 2005/10/22.  Name Change Committee Report (October 22, 2005). Summary: Membership vote at a meeting in March 2006 (with previous by proxy mail voting). The committee votes to adopt USHPA as the acronym.
  • 2006/3/17. Today's final membership vote is clearly in favor of a name change. Waiting for official result.
  • 2006/3/18. David Jebb writes… The final vote: 1590 for name change (61% of voters are in favor), 1014 against. The Board of Directors approved the vote this morning so now the name change is official. We now have a new name: USHPA.
  • 2006/3/18. Creation of the USHPA discussion group. See Discussions.



Links + Documents

Top of Page


  • Discussions:

o       USHPA Yahoo discussion group. Started 2006/3/18.

o US association name

o       HG list

o       Big Air Forum: US association name + US association - Name change poll - Ends March 1, 2005

  • Approved procedure for the name change (October 2004) :


o       Local copy (2004/10/11).

  • Discussion on US association web site (you can only join one) :

o       In favor of a change :

o       Against change :

  • Opinions :

o       In favor of a change :

§         Jérôme Daoust, today (top of this page).

§         James Bradley, 2004/3/9.

o       Against change :

§         Warren Schirtzinger, 2004/2/27.

§         Mike Vorhis, 2004/2/27 (PDF).

  • On-line Poll (2004/2/29 – 2004/10/6):  Consider changing the name.

o       Final Results.  Comments:

§         Final Snapshot.

§         Jérôme Daoust,  2004/10/6.  401 in favor (52.6 %), 361 against, 1 undecided.  This shows that opinions are evenly divided, and that there is significant interest in changing the current name.

§         Steve Roti, 2004/3/4 :

q       After three days of polling the association name ballot has drawn votes from 517 members. That's more than the previous two ballots drew after months of polling. (Total votes on previous ballots were: 287 for #1 and 482 for #2.)

q       The lead has changed hands between Yes and No a number of times over the last three days. Right now the Yes and No vote totals are only 1% apart. Here are the current totals:  No 259, Yes 254, Unspecified 4.

q       Most of the votes are along division lines (HG members voting to retain the USHGA name and PG members voting to change it), but approximately 15% of the members have crossed division lines with their votes. The members in Both divisions are equally divided between retaining and changing the name.

q       Regarding preferences for a new name among those who voted to change, USHPA has the majority of the votes with USFFA ("Free Flight") holding a substantial minority. There are also some good names submitted by members using the Other option.

§         Argument for not changing the name :  Looking at the results, the current name is greatly favored to any single new name.
Reply by Jérôme Daoust …  The second part of the poll is just to get a feel for potential new names.  Those in favor of replacing the current name can, and should, be given the opportunity to unite.  The favored new names (USHPA, USFFA) are both better than the current name.

o       Result analysis by Mark G Forbes.  Comments :

§         Jérôme Daoust, 2004/3/8.  Newest members are clearly in favor (70+%) of a name change

  • On-line Poll (2004/10/25 – 2005/3/1):  Alternate names.

o       Final Results. Comments:

§         Final Snapshot.

§         Jérôme Daoust, 2005/3/1. I'm happy the foot-launched name wasn't popular, the other 2 names are good.  :-)

  • Other documents :

o       Letter submitted to the magazine, in favor of a change (Word *.doc format). Prepared in March 2005.

  • On-line Poll (2005/5/31 – 2005/6/10):  Name Change Poll. Purpose: If 50% were in favor of a change, an official vote would be done in January 2006. 51.5% were in favor of a change on 2005/6/10 (464 out of 901 votes).

o       Final Results. Comments:

§         Final Snapshot.

  • On-line Poll (2005/6/28 – 2005/10/1) is a re-start of the previous poll. Name Change Poll: Purpose: If 50% are in favor of a change, an official vote will be done in January 2006. 54.5% were in favor of a change on 2005/10/5 (1528 out of 2804 votes).

o       Final Results. Comments:

§         Latest Snapshot.

o       Graph of the voting VS time by Tad Hurst.

o       Statistical analysis charts by Mark Forbes. 2005/10/5 snapshot: page 1, page 2.