Old membership card of Jeff Goin’s from the USPPA

I fielded a question about why USPPA issues ratings. This person seemed weirdly upset, like they were put upon, or that USPPA was trying to pull the wool over pilots eyes that ratings are required. I never understand that since voluntary efforts at recognizing accomplishments have been around for many, many years. Maybe the Red Cross is an evil organization for offering life saving certifications?

One of the main reasons for starting USPPA in the first place was to keep our sport out of the government’s grasp while offering standards for pilots to train to. It also gives strangers or event organizers a way to insure the person has attained some minimum competency. It’s not perfect, of course, skills degrade, some pilots only barely attain them and not every instructor is as thorough as we’d like. But it’s better than nothing. Asking someone how many flights they’ve had verges on irrelevant.

So here is how I answer the question about why we issue ratings when they’re not required of the government including the asker’s statement about being able to print his own rating.

1. We don’t issue licenses, we issue ratings. It’s mostly semantics because FAA licenses include ratings, but we followed the USHPA model of calling them ratings to help distinguish them from government licenses.

2. Lots of organizations do things that aren’t required of governments.

3. We issue them in the same way NAUI & PADI issue diver ratings or that USHPA, and many other organizations issue various recognitions of accomplishments.

4. We can do this because in the USA you’re free to do many, many things without, or with minimal government consent or involvement.

5. Our rating *IS* recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in that the tandem rating allows the instructor to take passengers as students.

6. Our rating *IS* recognized in some other governments according to members who have done international travel.
7. Training is not required any more than it is for scuba diving, free flying and many other activities. The training program is intended for new entrants to have a thorough program with ind ustry standards that recognizes student accomplishment to set levels.

8. You’re absolutely free to print your own!