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The Launch

Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada


Hello fellow pilots and friends of free flight in Canada,

With this flying season well under way and Canada heading towards legalization of marijuana, I’d like to take this opportunity to explore how this issue relates to HPAC/ACVL and flying in general, and also provide updates on a few topics discussed at the recent Board of Directors meeting.


Air Sports and Legalization of Marijuana

HPAC/ACVL does not have any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that specifically address the use of drugs or alcohol, and the Board has determined that it does not currently need any.

Piloting an aircraft while under the influence of any substance that impairs a pilot’s ability or judgment is already addressed by the Canadian Aviation Regulations, and also by section 253 of the Criminal Code. Flying while under the influence of drugs (prescribed or otherwise) or alcohol is a criminal offense (a.k.a. DUI) that has the same penalties regardless of the type of vehicle (car, train, airplane). Bottom line: flying a Hang Glider or Paraglider after consuming drugs or alcohol can cost you your driver’s license, fines and/or jail time.

HPAC/ACVL recommends that members use their good judgment and avoid consuming drugs or alcohol before flying. A very simple approach might be to consider consumption of cannabis to be equivalent to alcohol and avoid flying afterwards (8 hours is the minimum interval for alcohol). However, it should be noted that THC remains detectable in your body far longer than alcohol and therefore an extended interval may be appropriate.

Aside from the legal implications, please consider how your use of cannabis or alcohol before (or after) flying might be perceived by spectators and landowners and volunteers. Protecting access to our flying sites is extremely important and maintaining a good relationship between the flying community and landowners is key. This means avoiding any behavior that could cause a landowner to withdraw permission to use their land. Groups and individuals that manage flying sites are well within their rights to apply and enforce local rules to ensure continued access.

HPAC/ACVL is also monitoring developments related to drug use and competition, it is still unclear whether pilots competing at the international level will be subject to drug tests or whether HPAC/ACVL will be required to have a drug screening program in order for our pilots to compete internationally.

Lastly, I encourage all members to be considerate of other pilots and especially the volunteers who generously donate their time to support our activities. Please demonstrate common courtesy and ask your shuttle driver, retrieve driver, and other volunteers if they mind you smoking tobacco, smoking pot, or consuming alcohol in their presence and absolutely before doing so in their vehicles or on their property.

Board of Directors Meeting

Among several issues discussed at the recent board of Directors Meeting, there are a few noteworthy items:

  • The use of the new H1/H2 and P1/P2 training logbooks has been made mandatory. This is an important step towards uniformity of training across the country and also provides each student with a record of their training that is universally recognized by all HPAC/ACVL instructors.
  • Having completed a review of the pilot ratings over the last few years, HPAC/ACVL is now starting a review of instructor certifications starting with the tandem instructor endorsement. The first step is gathering feedback from Instructors and Senior Instructors with anticipated updates to the SOPs later this year.

Wishing you all a great year of free flight!

Nick Jones
President, HPAC/ACVL


The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held online from Wednesday August 8, 2018 – Sunday August 19 (inclusive). Members access the agenda at or, and select Forum on the left hand side menu on the homepage and the 2018 Annual General Meeting is displayed. Please be sure to be logged in. Call the Office if you have any difficulties accessing the 2018 AGM and we will help.



With the support of the Board of Directors, the HPAC/ACVL Safety Committee (Suzanne Francoeur and Tyler Gillies, Co-Chairs) has established a new Annual Safety Award for a pilot who most exemplifies the safe practice of, and the promotion of safety in, the sport of hang gliding or paragliding. The Committee will recommend its first award to the Board of Directors at the next Annual Meeting of the Board in April 2019.

In addition, the Safety Committee will be selecting up to 4 of the most instructive accident/incident reports from the 2018 accident/incident submissions, as a way of encouraging greater safety knowledge among members of HPAC/ACVL. The 4 exemplary reports, 2 for hang gliding and 2 for paragliding, will result in a free one-year membership for the pilot who submitted the report. Pilots are encouraged to file all reports at

A separate Safety Advisory will be sent to all members shortly.



The Aero Club of Canada (umbrella group for aviation associations in Canada and our conduit to FAI/CIVL for all things competition) recently awarded a grant of $2500 to HPAC/ACVL for development of Paragliding Accuracy Competition in Canada. Jimmy Giroux, the initiator for bringing this branch of competition to Canada, is now the first Chair of the Accuracy Sub-Committee of the HPAC Competition Committee. The grant allowed the Sub-Committee to purchase the electronic measuring equipment required for this kind of competition.

Already last year an Accuracy World Cup was held in Quebec, and other competitions are planned elsewhere in Canada. Sandra Ducasse, member in Quebec, and an FAI-licensed accuracy competition judge, is organizing the next Accuracy World Cup in Canada, together with Jimmy Giroux, at Yamaska, Quebec October 5-8, 2018. A special Facebook page has been started for all information regarding accuracy competition: 


Congratulations go to the 2018 Winners of HPAC Awards:

Instructor of the Year Award:
  • Kevin Fisher for instruction excellence at his new school in central Alberta
Solid Ground Awards:
  • Bud and Maxine McGrade for the provision of the Duncan Training Hill on Vancouver Island
  • Ken Steiner for his site work in the Okanagan region of BC
  • Rick Chubey for his long-term site use plans for the Qu’Appelle Valley on the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border
Cliff Kakish Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service:
  • Dannie Wolf for professional scoring at sanctioned competitions, most notably the Willi
Jamie Christensen Memorial Award for Long-Term Achievement and Advocacy for the Sport
  • Randy Rauck and the Freedom Flight Park in Lumby, BC



Here is a breakdown of your 2017-18 annual membership fee ($160) (the additional fee you paid above this in the province of your residency was for your regional/provincial association dues for their work on regional and local site development and preservation).

  • $40 Deposit to Bank/Term deposits for the rebuilding of HPAC/ACVL’s cash balance
  • $36 Association Insurance Premium
  • $36 Admin contract
  • $15 Competition Support
  • $12 Annual Directors Meeting
  • $6 Paypal/Legal/Accounting
  • $5 Office Expense: phone/postage/supplies
  • $3 Translation
  • $3 Communications
  • $3 Safety Projects
  • $1 Website Maintenance


The Board of Directors, in consultation with the Council of Senior Instructors (CSI), has developed an Instructor Code of Conduct (SOP 460-0) for HPAC/ACVL-certified instructors across Canada. The focus was to establish a baseline of responsibilities and expectations for all instructors in their relationships with students, the general public, and the Association. It can be seen at



All members, with very few exceptions, are now either rated pilots or in training under the direct supervision of an HPAC-certified instructor. Like other branches of aviation, all pilots having formal ratings that are part of a national rating system increases our credibility with our landowners, the general public and our insurance underwriter. Thank you to all long-time pilots who have stepped up to catch up their ratings as well as new members with foreign ratings getting those converted to HPAC ratings. Thank you also to instructors who did the work to make this possible.



A number of members are taking up paramotoring, particularly in the Prairies and Ontario. Please be advised that our third-party liability insurance does not provide coverage for powered flight, and in fact, powered flight goes beyond the jurisdiction of this Association. Paramotors are categorized by Transport Canada as ultralights. For more information about paramotoring in Canada, please contact UPAC, the Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada at  



Thank you to members across Canada for welcoming visiting pilots to their sites. Please note that foreign visitors are always asked by the Office to connect with local pilots at the site(s) they intend to fly so that local pilots can give the visitors a proper site briefing. Thank you also to members for accepting the Temporary Membership forms of these pilots and their waivers and fees and forwarding those to the Office. Members are asked to make sure that visitors are not residents before accepting a temporary membership because our insurance underwriter will not honor temporary memberships for persons in the country for longer than 60 days in a calendar year.

Visitors may state that they carry worldwide insurance and therefore do not need HPAC insurance. However, most of our landowners across Canada, whether they are governments, municipalities, First Nations, corporations/resorts or private landowners require HPAC insurance of all pilots using their site because they are specifically named on our insurance. To protect your site, please be vigilant that all pilots, domestic and foreign, are HPAC members in order to protect our landowners and sites.
Aug 4 2018   Top Top