Annie Green Springs 1973 briefing photo key

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Annie Green Springs 1973 briefing photo key

This is a sub-page of Hang gliding 1973.

Pilots' briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Original photo was by Peter Chiodo.
Briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Photo by Peter Chiodo.

The Annie Green Springs event was a competition run by the Southern California Hang Glider Association (SCHGA) at at Sylmar on Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th October, 1973. Peter Chiodo took this group photo at that event, which was named after a wine manufactured by the commercial sponsor of the competition.

Key diagram for pilots' briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Diagram likely by Lloyd Licher.
Key diagram likely by Lloyd Licher
Briefing at Sylmar in 1973 enlarged and annotated
Briefing at Sylmar in 1973 enlarged and annotated

I hope I got the name annotations right in the enlarged image. If not, please send me your corrections via the Leave a reply box farther down.

1 Chuck Stahl, 2 Carol Boenish, 3 Chris Wills, 4 Joe Faust, 5 Chuck Kocsis, 6 Joe Schneider, 7 Dave Muehl, 8 Lloyd Short, 9 Peter Brock, 10 Hall Brock, 11, Donnita Holland, 12 George Uveges, 13 Matt Colver, 14 Clark Green, 15 Keith Halls, 16 Richard Cheney, 17 Mark Chidester, 18 Pat Conniry, 19 Mike Huetter, 20 Tom Peghiny, 21 Dave Cronk, 22 Bob Wills, 23 Bob Dart, 24 Wenk Saville, 25 Russ Velderrain, 26 Bill Allen, 27 Bill Joplin, 28 Steve Wilson, 29 Curt Keifer, 30 Jim Diffenderfer, 31 Bill Johnson, 32 Dave Meyers, 33 Lloyd Licher, 34 Al Waddill, 35 Frank Colver, 36 Bill Watson, 37 Burke Ewing, 38 Dan Fitzgerald, 39 Tom O’Brien

People in the photo

This is what I know or, rather, what I think I know about some of the people in the photo.

1 Chuck Stahl: Flight Director of the SCHGA and an airline pilot by day, he went on to found King Horizon, makers of the Centurion, then Sport Aviation Mfrs, San Clemente, California, making the Centurion again (see Hang gliding early 1980s part 2)

2 Carol Boenish: First to fly from El Capitan in Yosemite national park and editor of Ground Skimmer for a year. She is sister of aerial film maker Carl Boenish (Playground in the Sky). She married Chris Price of Sport Kites/Wills Wing.

3 Dr. Chris Wills, brother of Bob, was the first U.S. national champion. See the related topics menu Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.

4 Joe Faust is a former Olympian high jumper who organized the first hang gliding events in Southern California in the early 1970s

5 Chuck Kocsis, an SCHGA board member, was killed in a flying accident a few weeks after this photo was taken. See Head first in Dangers of hang gliding.

7 Dave Muehl was a partner in Eipper-Formance (source: Wings Unlimited, Feb-March 1976 page 11)

8 Lloyd Short used his extensive dune buggy experience to access new sites in remote locations in the Mojave Desert. He won the Rocky Mountain Hang Glider Championships on 12th to 16th July 1974 at Telluride, Colorado. He was killed six weeks after that when his experimental glider failed structurally in flight. (Sources: Ground Skimmer May 1973 and April-June 1974.)

9 Peter Brock: See the related topics menu Ultralight Products of California and Utah.

10 Hall Brock, Peter’s son, started flying aged nine and was the youngest hang gliding fatality at 12 years old.

11 Donnita Holland: First female hang glider pilot and hang glider designer. See Donnita in Hang gliding 1975 part 2.

12 George Uveges: Photographer. See the related topics menu Photographers of early hang gliding.

13. Matt Colver: Matt used a cobbled together first version of his father Frank’s audio variometer (taped to his control bar) at this competition. (See Variometer in Hang gliding 1976 part 1.) Matt worked after school in a sheet metal shop attached to a small electronic company in Orange. That eventually led to his career as an engineer (now retired) at Douglas/Boeing.

16 Richard Cheney: Sail-maker for many manufacturers including Ultralight Products. See under External links for an article about him by John Heiney.

18 Pat Conniry operated a hang gliding school, initially in partnership with Dave Cronk. Conniry, 24, was killed in early 1974 at Big Tujunga Mountain when his ‘modified Rogallo’ dived in from 1,000 ft. (3) See under External links later on this page for a short film clip taken with Conniry’s wing-mounted camera.

20 Tom Peghiny: Hang glider designer. See the Tom Peghiny related topics menu.

21 Dave Cronk: Hang glider designer and the first world champion (1975). See Cronk works.

22 Bob Wills of Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California. A legend in his twenties, he was killed in 1977.

25 Russ Velderrain: Manufacturer of standard Rogallos based in Lomita, California

26 Bill Allen: Pilot, journalist, and photographer. See the related topics menu Photographers of early hang gliding.

29 Curt Keifer flew for Wills Wing in its early days.

32 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.) In addition, he created a series of cartoons of seagulls voicing their opinions about the new intruders of their airspace in early Ground Skimmers.

33 Lloyd Licher, president of the SCHGA/USHGA used his influence as a key man in the gliding (sailplane) world to fight our corner. See under External links later on this page for the Lloyd Licher interview in Bill Liscomb’s documentary Big Blue Sky.

35 Frank Colver invented the first popular audio varimeter for hang gliding. See Variometer in Hang gliding 1976 part 1, which includes an external link to Frank’s informative web site. For remarkably clear photos of Frank flying the prototype Wills Wing Super Swallowtail, see SST in Hang gliding 1976 part 2.

37 Burke Ewing: Film maker and musician still flying hang gliders in 2019. See the link to his YouTube channel later on this page.


Here is the list of contestants as published in Lloyd Licher’s retrospective article in Hang Gliding, September 1977. I retained the ‘deceased’ labels from the list as of September 1977:

  • Patrick C. Conniry (deceased) Santa Monica, California
  • Kim Dawson, Newport Beach, California
  • Donnita Holland, Palo Alto, California
  • James S. Diffenderfer, Los Altos, California
  • David A. Gibas (deceased) Golden, Colorado (1)
  • David A. Kilbourne, Palo Alto, California
  • Bill T. Jones, Granada Hills, California
  • Bill Joplin, Monroe, Washington
  • Chris Price, Santa Ana, California
  • Gerry Ross, Sunnyvale, California
  • Peter Rutherford (deceased) Seattle, Washington
  • Wink Saville, San Diego, California
  • Charles E. Stahl, Mission Viejo, California
  • Russell Velderrain, Lawndale, California
  • Gary Warren, Redwood City, California
  • Steven T. Wilson, Redondo Beach, California
  • Richard Cheney, Kaysville, Utah
  • Clark P. Green, Panorama City, California
  • Keith T. Halls, Layton, Utah
  • Michael Huetter, Lomita, California
  • William G. Johnson, Missoula, Montana
  • Curtis Kiefer, Santa Ana, California
  • Mike Larson, Golden, Colorado
  • Terry J. Raymond, Santa Ana, California
  • Dave Cronk, Torrance, California
  • David E. Muehl, Inglewood, California
  • Matt Colver, Costa Mesa, California
  • Bob L. Wills (deceased) Santa Ana, California
  • Chris A. Wills, Santa Ana, California
  • Gerald M. Albiston, Sylmar, California

Stand-by contestants:

  • Tom Peghiny, Auburndale, Massachusetts
  • Charles Kocsis, Jr, N Hollywood, California (2)
  • Mark Chidester, Jr, N Hollywood, California
  • Pere Brock, El Segundo, California
  • Don Kent Trimble, Oakland, California
  • Lloyd Short (deceased) Los Angeles, California


From this information, incomplete though it is, it seems that about one in five of these early hang glider pilots was killed flying in the first few years. See Appliance of statistics.


1: Dave Gibas is mentioned along with Chuck Kocsis, James Foster, and Eric Wills as being a victim of an ‘imperfect turn’ in Hang Gliding: The Flyingest Flying by Don Dedera and Stephen McCarroll, 1975.

2: Assuming that Chuck Kocsis and Charles Kocsis, Jr. are the same individual, he was killed in a flying accident a few weeks after the Annie Green Springs competition. Source: Bill Allen note dated 12-73 in Ground Skimmer August 1973 page 9. (The August edition was not published until December or after.)

3: Pat Conniry fatality: Hang Gliding: The Flyingest Flying, Don Dedera and Stephen McCarroll, 1975

External links

Burke Ewing‘s YouTube channel

Dick Cheney, Aircraft Designer/Builder by John Heiney on John’s web site Upshots

Organizing a Sport — Lloyd Licher in Bill Liscomb’s documentary Big Blue Sky – The history of modern hang gliding – the first extreme sport! on YouTube starting at 29 minutes 40 seconds

Pat Conniry in Big Blue Sky, 2008, by Bill Liscomb on YouTube starting at 54 minutes 46 seconds, including a short film clip taken with Conniry’s wing-mounted camera and narrated by his friend Dave Cronk (see Cronk works)

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