Powered Paragliding Truth
Respected Sources Separate Fact from Fiction for Paramotor Pilots
Dell Schanze, Flattop & Powered Paragliding
This website was inspired by Dell Schanze, a firebrand maker of pronouncements that sells his soul for the sale of his gear. He crossed the line one too many times and has made such ridiculous claims that I'm forced respond. The problem is that he'll say anything, regardless of its truth, to woo those who are either looking for gear or for advice.
His compulsive lying has landed him in legal trouble numerous times but, on Aug 28, it finally landed him in jail. This is the best single expose on his willingness to ignore truth.
His most destructive verbal diarrhea regards the USPPA which is trying mighty hard to encourage thorough training with certified instructors who use the syllabus. Going so far as to PAY pilots who go all the way through earning a rating. Neither myself (2009 president) nor any other USPPA officer or volunteer has ever gotten any money for their services. Even their web services was built by a particularly talented paramotor pilot volunteer. The organization has among the lowest overhead cost of any national nonprofit out there.
Dell Schanze has made all manner of ridiculous and completely false accusations of its leadership and instructors. Here are a few of the most heinous.
1. He has called me (Jeff Goin) a murderer. In spite of success in numerous areas of education, he says this. Accusing me personally of nearly all the fatalities in the sport of powered paragliding. I'll leave you to savor the ridiculousness of that.
2. Accused the USPPA of being responsible for nearly all the fatalities in powered paragliding. That is, of course, complete nonsense. First, there's no good data on which to base accident rates because we have no way of measuring flight times. Second, USPPA has had a limited effect to begin with since, for most of the sport's history, it didn't exist. Suffice it to say that fatal accidents were happening long before USPPA was around just like paragliding accidents were happening before USHPA was around (and APA before it).
By his logic, USHPA would be responsible for all the paragliding deaths. That is obviously preposterous. It's far more likely that the rates would be worse without USPPA's and USHPA's efforts.
Find another organization that PAYS its members for getting complete training.
3. Accused me of taking "kick backs" from the USPPA. The truth is that USPPA probably owes me at least $1000 for unbilled expenses. Evidence is in the bank account which, in spite of averaging only 500 members, has over $20,000 in its training fund.
4. There are many other accusations that have been made, all completely baseless. Many regard equipment. Anyone who does not "fall in line" with his or disagrees with him or sells gear other than his is lambasted
5. Calls himself "World Champion" and claims to have broken numerous world records. In fact, he has never even been US Champion let alone world champion. Such a claim demeans the real world champions including incredible pilot Mathieu Roanet. Regarding records, Dell has not made any US records let alone world records. It's just another example of saying whatever he wants regardless of the truth of it.
6. Accused the USPPA of being "fraudulent" in its issuance of ratings because it has no authority to do so. That's utter nonsense. USPPA has the same authority as any other volunteer organization that steps up to standardize training in its field. Like USHGA, USUA, the Scuba diving orgs and so on. USPPA was started by USHGA pilots who wanted to improve the standard of training since the USHGA didn't want anything to do with power.
That's the same way they all started. The FAA recognized USPPA when it granted it the first foot-launched training exemption after Sport Pilot ended the old ones. Hardly fraudulent.
7. Dell accuses the organization of "promoting" some instructors. The reality is that USPPA doesn't promote any instructor over another, rather it simply lists those who are certified, just like all the orgs. His beef is about some only do a short training program that is inadequate. USPPA doesn't like that either!
Instructors can become rated but not issue ratings, just like they can under any other org, or even FAA instructors for that matter. But USPPA, in an effort to combat inadequate training, implemented the pay-for-ratings program and required completion of the syllabus to participate. The instructors who Dell bashes don't participate in the program because it does indeed take more time.
So, unlike Dell, the org is doing something proactive, putting its money where its mouth is. What is Dell doing? Just spewing at the mouth.
Secondly, none of the orgs control business practices. Dell is always saying how USHPA is better. USHPA is a great org, of which I am a member, ardent supporter, and occasional contributor to their magazine, but its full of humans. Neither USPPA nor USHPA regulate business practices. If someone wants to sell gear to anyone who orders it, the USPPA has no ability to interfere. Just like USHPA. Peer pressure is the only avenue available.
8. He used to say the only way to good training is free-flight training first. And it is indeed a great way to start, that's how I started. In fact, that's why I started USPPA—to bring a similar, but appropriate, training regimen to paramotoring. But when Dell wanted to sell more gear by gaining distributors in flat parts of the country, he changed his tune. Now you don't hear him say that free flight first training is the ONLY acceptable method.
9. There are many more statements he's made that are completely false. Of less consequence but still lies—examples of his willingness to utterly disregard the truth. Many regard the history of USPPA. For example, he has said that I've been the president for its entire run. I haven't. A high-ranking USHGA Instructor Administrator was first. There are many more examples.
If you want even more evidence of his willingness to disregard the truth, see what the legal system thought in Salt Lake City. Make sure to read down to the line about "a conviction for giving false information to police" and "[prosecutor] Jarvis said Schanze had contradicted himself several times, was "a compulsive liar" and that his only witness was his wife, who said she supported her husband." There's plenty more.
Know who you're listening to
So be careful who you're listening to and apply the appropriate grains (or bags in this case) of salt to their advice. Know that anything you get from Dell will bash the competitors and exalt his own gear without regard to truth.
If you hear him tell of gear that will "fall apart like a cheap suit" know that I've seen one of his machines break the usual prop and cage when the pilot simply fell on launch. Paramotors aren't made to crash. Theyl ALL break when crashed!
The problem is that some of what he says is true, namely regarding the value of getting thorough training. But along with those few nuggets, he'll spew many others that are completely erroneous. Information buyer beware.
Do get good training all the way through a USPPA PPG2 rating and enjoy the incredible sport of powered paragliding.