How to Become an Observer

Observers are appointed by an Examiner for one or more craft (hang glider/paraglider/both) for which they are an Examiner.

Observers are appointed by Examiners within his/her region and must be USHPA Full Members with Intermediate or higher pilot flight rating. The Observer's duties are to observe pilots' flying skills for rating Intermediate and Advanced ratings, Special Skills, administration of oral (optional) and written (mandatory) tests for those ratings and skills, and to write letters of recommendation for Master Rating applicants to indicate that he/she has known of the applicant's good judgment, safe practices, etc. for a period of three years, or less if indicated. Observers are to actively work to establish proficiency ratings for any flying sites in their area which are presently non-rated.

Observers are renewable each calendar year by the Examiner. If there is a change of residence, the Observer can rate pilots anywhere in the U.S., but must be renewed by the Examiner in the 'new region' in the following year. An identification card and materials will be sent to all Observers by the USHPA office upon receipt of notification of appointment or re-appointment, and receipt of signed acceptance of appoint form.

Administration of Ratings

  1. Observers may rate all levels of Intermediate, Advanced, Special Skills and make Master recommendations for their craft. An Observer may not issue a rating or special skill that he/she does not possess.
  2. Pilots being observed must be Full Members of USHPA or be in the process of obtaining membership, and must have a previous rating one level below the rating being observed.
  3. The pilot's flying skills, as required in Part 104, must be actually observed. The appropriate oral (optional) and written (required) tests can be administered at any time during the rating process.
  4. The written test is corrected, using the appropriate Key Answer Sheet, after which the pilot is informed of his/her score.
  5. The Observer completes the rating application, being sure to circle the proper rating level. The pilot (student) completes and signs the waiver and receives the rating portion of the form. The Observer retains the Instructor portion of the form for his/her records.
  6. The Observer's signature on the rating application designates that the pilot has passed the flying and written test.
  7. The pilot's portion of the rating application is only valid for 30 days, so the pilot should be informed that he/she must send in the waiver/application and appropriate rating fee (if needed).
  8. It is the pilot's responsibility to send in the paperwork. Observers should not take the responsibility for sending a pilot's application to USHPA.
  9. Foreign pilots may be rated for any level deemed appropriate. (See foreign rating policy.)
  10. Specific foreign equivalent ratings are accepted for conversion to the USHPA system, as noted in USHPA SOP 12-6.


A. Log Books:

  • Observers are encouraged to use, and suggest that pilots use, log books.

B. Revocation/Reduction of Ratings:

  • Ratings may be revoked or reduced; see SOP 12-7.

C. Observer Ratings:

  • Observers may NOT rate themselves for any rating level. They must be rated by another Observer or Advanced Instructor for the appropriate craft.