Claude back in Ojai?

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Claude back in Ojai?

Postby Robb » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:31 pm

If anyone has access to the Ojai Valley news please look for this complete article and let me know just how worried we need to be:


Ojai Valley News (CA) - October 22, 2008

Business Profile, Ojai Valley
Name of Business: Uptimal. Owner name: Claude Fiset.Business established: 2000, but been in business for 19 years.What inspired you to start your business?: Ojai has a perfect landscape, high mountains to the north to block north winds allowing smooth ocean breezes to flow in the valley. It has also a lot of open space to allow small aircrafts to take off and land and, of course, the amazing weather.How many employees?Two.Who are your customers?My customers range...
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby DBLD » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:16 pm

:cry:
There's no time like airtime and no place like cloudbase!
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby oj » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:37 pm

Ojai Valley
Business Profile

Name of Business:
Uptimal.
Owner name:
Claude Fist.
Business established:
2000, but been in business for 19 years.
What inspired you to start your business?:
Ojai has a perfect landscape, high mountains to the north to block north winds allowing smooth ocean breezes to flow in the valley. It has also a lot of open space to allow small aircrafts to take off and land and, or course, the amazing weather.
How many employees?
Two.
Who are your customers?
My customers range between 5 and 85 years of age, adventurous spirits, even people who are afraid of heights! We take people on tandem rides as heavy as 220 pounds but can train heavier people how to fly.
What are your biggest challenges?
Access to land, public and private but with a good liability insurance I can operate from many areas. We could use more though.
What is the secret to your success?
I have a lot of experience in extreme sports (especially paragliding) and I am conservative enough to make it safe but very exciting! I understand the needs of my customers. I am also an engineer and have designed some of the flying gear and sell it around the world. I innovated in safety and performance.
What’s new with you?
I am engineering a new environmentally friendly toy. Not a flying machine this time but for kids. Investors welcomed!
What would you like your readers to know about your business?
I am growing. I operate in Malibu as well as Ojai, two of the nicest and most scenic areas to fly. From our Ojai take off, we can see the ocean after a few seconds and we also offer flights to the ocean and back for an additional $80. We can also put company names on our paragliders and advertise all over.
What is your favorite thing about living and working in Ojai?
Calming, peaceful, friendly, scenic, healthy, inspiring…
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby pengoquin » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:07 pm

Is he giving motorized tandems as well as free flight tandems? I guess USHPA didn't know that he was a P5, they only show him as P4.
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby DBLD » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:38 pm

He got his PGTI from Ken Baier 03/14/08 and his PGAI from John "tad" Hurst 5/18/06. 19 years?? experience?? What happened in Malibu?? Why is he back in Ojai??
There's no time like airtime and no place like cloudbase!
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby pengoquin » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:06 pm

USPPA says that he does not have a PPG Tandem Instructor's certification. If he is tandem motoring he's in violation of FAA 103.
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby DBLD » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:11 am

I would guess he is in violation of more than that. :(
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby Robb » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:31 pm

This guys MO is clear, consistent, and will be repeated locally if we don't make it clear he's not welcome.

He does damage to existing launches and/or uses a chainsaw to make new ones. Really upsets the rightful land owner, especially since Claude never gets permission to be there in the first place. I understand this is what finally got him thrown out of Canada and Malibu.

He takes students and customers money and does not deliver what he promises. Pilots as far away as Vancouver have gripes about this. Local pilots are still awaiting paramoters that work.

He takes customers on tandem flights with no reserve. The customer has trusted him because he speaks so well, and was unknowingly put in extreme risk.

We all watched the drama this summer in Malibu with the fire and the death of a student. We all heard the excuses.

The list goes on, but the bottom line is this: there is no greater risk to our local flying sites than this menace. The people who control the property where we launch and land will not spend the time to cull out one bad apple; they will throw out the bunch. We all just saw it happen in Malibu, and if we don't prevent him from using our sites, it will happen here.

If anyone thinks I'm over reacting or have bad information, I'd like to hear it. Until then, I would recommend everyone treat Claude with extreme prejudice.
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby Tom Pipkin » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:34 pm

Claude's last comp in Ojai spoke volumes about the way he upsets the the community that he sets up shop in.
I didn't join the comp but did fly that weekend. Just some of the incidents reported were;

1) He holds registration outside Boccali's Pizza on their patio (without permission) before they opened and was promptly kicked out when the employee's showed up for work.

2) He walks into the Ojai Ranger station with the registered competitors demanding permits. Of course no reservations were made in advance and the ranger working the front desk wasn't happy to say the least.

3) Signs from the front gate all the way to launch clearly stated "no parking on fire breaks". I witnessed the patrolling ranger have a "melt down" after finding Claude's suburban parked on the fire break east of launch.
My suburban was parked legally but the ranger was so upset that he threatened to revolk all our permits if we didn't get Claude to move his truck.

4) We had an oustanding relationship with the landowners of our primary lz we called "the Bocalli's lz". That was until the comp competitors were asked to leave. The way I understand it, the landowners stated they didn't expect the comp to turn into a party.

I could go on and on. I agree, Claude was, is and will continue to be bad news for the future of flying in Ojai.
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby Ramey » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:22 am

Hmmmm ------

It seems that a strong and convincing case can/has been made that this person should not be engaged in this activity in our area.

Does anyone have any plans to actually take some sort of action?

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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby AaronColby » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:45 am

As a Vancouver pilot I can vouch for his infamy up there and in Pemberton. It sounds like the mounties are just waiting for him to come back to Canada to arrest him for all the damage he caused to the forests up there. Nothing pisses off a Canadian more then cutting down their trees apparently. I've heard that the locals are still using this launch though. The only other thing that I know is that he taught my PG instructor how to fly but I hope that will not be counted as a black mark against me or my instructor as their MOs are very different.

It seems like the two concerns are safety and PR (i.e. not going through the proper channels). I don't know what his history has been with other schools down here but perhaps dealing with him respectfully will be the best course of action first, explaining concerns and issues and how his decisions affect everybody involved. If he can clean up his act that would be ideal. It doesn't seem like Claude is the type of person that would respond well to bullying. Secondly, go through the FAA and USHPA to get licenses revoked. If he is truly that bad for our community there is no reason he should have an instructors license to endanger others. Finally, if these don't work, since his bottom line is $$$ just put the word out far and wide and yell as loud as you can that anybody who gives this guy money will likely regret it based on his history, and anybody learning from him will be put at significant risk. If he can't make a living here then he will be forced to move on.

Cheers,
Aaron
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Re: Claude back in Southern California?

Postby Foster » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:16 am

Sorry to bring up any bad memories, but I heard a rumor the Claude is back teaching in So Cal.

In the USHPA membership and instructor directories, his location is listed as Santa Monica. In addition, his website and the Malibu Paragliding Club websites are still up. There are also reviews for him on yelp as recently as July 2010:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/malibu-powered- ... ing-malibu

Any other info on him?
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Re: Claude back in Ojai?

Postby socal_resident » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:34 am

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but Claude has been trespassing directly over our roof in Malibu (within water hose distance) for quite a few years now. The cops have repeatedly told him to stop, yet he continues. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to get him to stop taking customers within spitting distance of our house?
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