FFF logo2 paragliders thermalling together, from above



hang glider flying near goldengate bridge.


Our History

The Foundation for Free Flight was originally formed in 1987 at the impetus of the US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) as the US Hang Gliding Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charitable corporation, and underwent a name change in 2007 becoming the Foundation for Free Flight. Despite once having similar names, the Foundation is completely separate and independent from USHPA.

Whereas USHPA is charged with administration of the sport’s training programs and insurance, the Foundation is charged with conservation of the sport’s flying opportunities for future generations. Consequently, the Foundation was defined with bylaws giving it the broad purposes it has today, which include site preservation, safety and education, although at its inception the principal activity of the Foundation was expected to be the support of hang gliding world teams. Then in 2000, a group of pilots realized that the Foundation could do far more to benefit the free flight community than concentrating on competitions, and by the end of 2001, the Foundation was reorganized and refocused. Today, the Foundation for Free Flight is most active in the area of site preservation, although fostering safety, education and competitions remain important functions.

Making a Difference in the Future of Free Flight, Today and Tomorrow.

The Foundation is focused on the conservation of the sport of hang gliding and paragliding in the United States.

The Foundation raises money through tax-deductible contributions, principally from conscientious members of the hang gliding and paragliding communities and funds qualifying grant requests in keeping with the Foundation’s mission of conservation. The US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) also gave the Foundation an initial infusion of seed money in 2002 and again in 2004 to get the reorganized Foundation off to a good start.

Donations we receive are used both to fund current conservation projects and also invested for the future so that the Foundation may continue to fund conservation efforts into the future. The Foundation for Free Flight has an extremely low expense ratio compared to most non-profits since its entire staff is volunteers and the charity is operated with minimal overhead. The result is that virtually every dollar donated has a positive impact on the sport.

To ensure both an immediate impact and long term survival, a savings policy was established by the Foundation’s board of trustees in 2005. For each dollar raised, 50 cents is made available to fund current conservation projects the following year. The other 50 cents becomes part of the Foundation’s endowment, which is conservatively invested in a balanced portfolio. Then, for each dollar earned by investing the endowment, 50 cents is again made available for funding immediate conservation efforts and the other 50 cents is plowed back into the endowment. In this way, the Foundation is able to grow its current benefit to the flight community steadily while ensuring that it is able to continue to provide such aid indefinitely.

FFF Savings Policy/ Spending Rules:








General Fund




McDonald Mtn Fund




Site Preservation Fund




Education Fund




Competition Funds




Instilling Confidence through Conscientiousness, Transparency and Accountability

In the interest of accountability and instilling confidence in donors, the Foundation makes all of its financial statements publicly available on this website. In keeping with this philosophy, in 2007 the Foundation developed ethics policies and procedures for handling any conflicts of interest, and similarly these are made available online. All officers and volunteers are required to adhere to these principles.

The Foundation is overseen by a seven member Board of Trustees, each elected for a three year term and limited to two terms. The other officers of the Foundation are its President, Vice President, Secretary, and a Treasurer, which positions are elected by the board of trustees. The final officer is an appointed Executive Director. There is no requirement that these management positions be held by a Trustee. All trustees, committee members, officers and the executive director are volunteers who serve without any compensation or reimbursement of expenses. All of the Foundation’s officials make themselves available to hear questions and concerns about the Foundation.


Foundation Success Stories

Policies and Ethics

Financial Statements

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© 2009 The Foundation for Free Flight
Last changed June 7, 2009