Hang gliding 1973 part 2


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Hang gliding 1973 part 2

This page continues from Hang gliding 1973 part 1.

School for perfection

Resting on his shoulders was a great frail set of snow-linen wings, thirty feet from tip to tip and casting a transparent shadow on the grass. He took a breath in readiness, reached forward, and gripped the adhesive-taped bar of the main wing beam. Then all at once he ran forward, tilted the wings upward, and lifted free of the hillside.

— Richard Bach, School for perfection, 1968

The Icarus II was an early rigid biplane wing hang glider designed by Taras Kiceniuk Jr, who went on to develop the Icarus V monoplane. In Canada, Val Lapsa and some friends built and flew an Icarus II.

Val Lapsa and the Icarus II
Val Lapsa and the Icarus II
Launching the Icarus II
Launching the Icarus II
Val Lapsa and friends with the Icarus II
Val Lapsa and friends with the Icarus II

Val’s glider eventually crashed and was unrepairable, which was one of the drawbacks of these higher performing but more complex wings.

See also Canada in Hang gliding mid 1980s and see under External links later on this page for a review of the movie Fly Away Home, featuring Icarus 2 hang gliders and powered ultralights in Canada.

Icarus II ready to launch
Icarus II
Art based on a photo of Larry Mauro flying an Icarus 2 at Stanford in California
Larry Mauro flying an Icarus 2 at Stanford in California

The Icarus II was further developed by Ultralight Flying Machines (led by Larry Mauro) of Cupertino, California, and renamed Easy Riser, in which guise it became popular as a powered ultralight. The 1995 movie Fly Away Home includes film of the Icarus II, both as a glider and as a powered ultralight. See the Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 1 link later on this page for film of an Icarus II or its close relative, the Easy Riser.

The Icarus V, designed by Taras Kiceniuk Jr, was a monoplane development of the Icarus II biplane. Like its predecessor, it was cumbersome to transport, not being foldable like a Rogallo.

Art based on a photo by Alan Nelson of Bob Thornburg flying an Icarus V in Hawaii
Bob Thornburg flying an Icarus V in Hawaii. Photo by Alan Nelson.
Art based on a photo of Taras Kiceniuk Jr. at Sylmar in May 1974
Taras Kiceniuk Jr. at Sylmar in May 1974

Art based on a photo by Joe Alendifer of an Icarus V in flight
An Icarus V in flight. Photo by Joe Alendifer.

Make no mistake, the future of this sport for the serious flyer lies in the direction Kiceniuk has pioneered.

— Photographer Leroy Grannis writing in Hang Glider, Fall 1974

See the Big Blue Sky external video link farther down this page for film of the Icarus 5 and its inventor Taras Kiceniuk Jr.


Bill Liscomb by Bettina Gray
Bill Liscomb by Bettina Gray

Talking of the 2008 documentary Big Blue Sky, here is its creator Bill Liscomb readying to launch in a Quicksilver in the early 1970s. (For a more complete view of that design, see Quicksilver in Cronk Works.)

More Rogallos

Art based on a photo by Clara Gath of Bob and Chris Wills at Sylmar in 1973
Bob and Chris Wills at Sylmar in 1973. Photo by Clara Gath.

Chris Wills, younger brother of Bob, became the first ever U.S. hang gliding champion, in 1973. Annie Green Springs was a wine label of the commercial sponsor of the competition held at Sylmar, California, in October 1973.


Dave Meyers heads out from Pine Flats, San Bernadino, California, in a Seagull 3 in 1973 or -4
Dave Meyers heads out from Pine Flats, San Bernadino, California, in a Seagull 3 in 1973 or -4

Ground Skimmer was the magazine of the Southern California Hang Glider Association, which became the United States Hang Gliding Association. Dave Meyers was Art Director for Ground Skimmer during its early years. He ran West Wind School of Hang Gliding and gave beginner lessons at Dockweiler Beach off the end of the L.A. International Airport runways. He also sold hang gliders for Seagull Aircraft. (Source: E-mail correspondence.)

Art based on a photo by Lynn Ramsey of Dave Kilbourne in 1973
Dave Kilbourne in October 1973. Photo by Lynn Ramsey.
Dave Cronk hang glider screenshot from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb
Dave Cronk again, this time in a screenshot from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb

The next image is a screenshot from a segment in Bill Liscomb’s 2008 documentary Big Blue Sky where Bob flies in front of crowds at the Coyote Hills near San Francisco. The glider is a Sport Kites Inc Wills Wing standard Rogallo, which he designed and built with his brother Chris Wills and their old school friend Chris Price. See the link later on this page to that part of Big Blue Sky on YouTube.

Bob Wills hang glider screenshot from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb
Bob Wills screenshot from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb

I will never forget the show Bob Wills put on at Coyote Hills Park in Milpitas, California, when he visited with his monstrous kite and awesome flying skills, effortlessly conversing with us as he soared overhead.

— Donnita Holland quoted by David Jebb in Hang Gliding & Paragliding, October 2007

In December of 1973, schoolteacher Mike Meier arrived in southern California from New York…

My interest at the time was motorcycles, and while riding along the cliffs of Palos Verdes one day I spotted two men bending over a long yellow bag with the words “Sport Kites” stenciled on the side.

— Mike Meier (*)

Mike watched as one of them flew several passes along the cliff and touched down lightly on the beach. Mike then obtained the address of Sport Kites and Bob Wills from the second man, and then he rode home.

For more about the Wills family and Mike Meier, see the related topics menu Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.

Swing wing

VJ-23 Swingwing
VJ-23 Swingwing

See the related topics menu VJ dayVolmer Jensen’s hang gliders for more.

VJ-23 on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated, April 1973
VJ-23 on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated, April 1973

This topic continues in Hang gliding 1974 part 1.

External links

Bob Wills at Coyote Hills: Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb on YouTube starting at 32 minutes 59 seconds, narrated by Donnita Hall (Donnita Holland)

Brian Porter speed task in a UFM Easy Riser in 1976: Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 2 on YouTube starting at 5 minutes 40 seconds

Easy riser, a review on Brave Guys and Beautiful Dolls of the movie Fly Away Home, Columbia Pictures, 1995, featuring Icarus 2 hang gliders and powered ultralights in Canada

Facebook post by William Olive with old film in Australia featuring a pilot referred to as CMac

Icarus II or the derived UFM Easy Riser: Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 1 on YouTube starting at 6 minutes 59 seconds, where Steve Patmont carries out steep diving turns in 1976

Icarus 5: Devils Dyke Brighton Hang Glider Icarus 5: Flickr slide show of Don Liddard’s photos of an Icarus 5 taking off from the Devil’s Dyke, near Brighton, England

S.C.H.G.A. Early 1970s Archive 8mm Film by Chris Talbot-Jones on YouTube

SKYSURFERS Hang Gliding Oldies: Documentary, believed to be by the University of Toronto, Canada, on Bob Grant’s YouTube channel.

Standard Rogallo (unidentified pilot) at the Annie Green Springs competition color photo by John G. Zimmerman/Sports Illustrated on Getty Images

Taras Kiceniuk Jr: Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb on YouTube, starting at 34 minutes 51 seconds, for film of the Icarus 5 and its inventor

Taras Kiceniuk Jr. interview: Wings of the Wind, mid-1970s documentary by Gib Jaffe on YouTube, starting at 5 minutes 4 seconds, …while driving an open-top vintage car

Reference

Mike Meier, Wills Wing–The Early Years in Sky Adventures, Legends and stories About the Early Days of Hang Gliding and Paragliding edited by Jim (Sky Dog) Palmieri and Maggie Palmieri, 1998

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