Here are some frequently asked questions about the USHPA Mentor Program. For more information about the program, check out the Mentor Program overview.
What is the USHPA Mentor program?
The USHPA Mentor program supports advancing pilots by pairing them with more experienced pilots who can introduce them to the local flying community, introduce them to new sites, help them evaluate weather and other local conditions, develop flight plans and help them have safe and successful flights.
What is the purpose of the USHPA Mentor program?
The Mentor program helps advancing pilots progress their flying and decision making skills while introducing them to new sites.
Also, the USHPA Strategic Plan recognizes there is a large loss of members after they achieve their Novice and Intermediate ratings. The Mentor program attempts to keep pilot interest so they remain in the sport longer, and hopefully, permanently.
Why do we need a Mentor program?
As explained above, the Strategic Plan addresses the problems associated with the erosion of our pilot population. The Mentor program helps USHPA retain pilots by keeping them connected with other more senior pilots and exposing them to the camaraderie and pleasure of free flying.
Who is a USHPA Mentor?
A USHPA Mentor is a USHPA pilot appointed by an Examiner. Hang gliding pilots are appointed as hang gliding Mentors and paragliding pilots as paragliding Mentors.
What are the requirements of a Mentor?
A Mentor is an Intermediate or Advanced rated pilot. A Mentor does not need to be a rating official (Instructor or Observer), though a Mentor has many of the same qualities as a rating official and therefore rating officials may be good Mentors.
A Mentor must be practiced at judging pilot skills and provide advice to help a pilot stay within safe boundaries.
A Mentor must be able to easily communicate and have a friendly and supportive demeanor.
How do we identify pilots to be Mentors?
USHPA chapters are encouraged to nominate pilots as Mentors to support their local flying community and help pair Mentors with advancing pilots.
Why not just let any pilot volunteer to be a Mentor?
Mentors are required to have the characteristics listed above in order to be effective. Having Examiners appoint Mentors and having appointments expire helps assign qualified people as mentors.
What does a Mentor do?
A Mentor should stay in contact with the mentored pilot and help provide flying opportunities. It is expected (but not required) that the mentored pilot will make the contact.
What should a Mentor not do?
A Mentor is not (necessarily) a rating official and must not offer instruction.
How do sponsored pilots find Mentors?
Chapters, Instructors and Observers are encouraged to suggest Mentors to advancing pilots.
Who can have a Mentor?
Mentors will be made available to any Novice or Intermediate pilot who requests one.
How do pilots learn about the Mentor program?
Notification of the Mentor program will be made in a broadcast email to all USHPA members, announced in Hang Gliding & Paragliding Magazine and advertised on the USHPA web site.
How does the Mentor program work?
The Mentor program requires some support from USHPA Chapters, Regional Directors, Examiners, Mentors, the USHPA office staff and a new Mentor Coordinator. The Mentor Coordinator is appointed by the President of USHPA and is responsible for managing the Mentor program. It is expected that chapters will do much of the work matching pilots with Mentors, but the Mentor Coordinator may help at this level. The Mentor Coordinator may contact Examiners to identify new Mentors, if the need arises.
USHPA chapters will nominate Mentors to the Examiners and will encourage advancing pilots to find a Mentor. In some areas of the country where there are no local chapters, Directors and the USHPA office will fill in to support the program.
Pilots can request a Mentor by contacting their local chapter, the Mentor Coordinator or the USHPA office staff. The Mentor Coordinator relies on the chapters and rating officials in the area to match pilots with Mentors.