By the early summer of 1975, the first launch ramp had been constructed.
Hugh Morton was impressed by Harris’ flight, so much so that the following year the U.S. Open Hang Gliding Tournament was staged at Grandfather. The Tournament was called the Grandfather Mountain Hang Gliding Region VI National Championship and was staged June 7th and 8th, 1975.
The hang gliding meet held at Grandfather Mountain in June of 1975 was the USHGA Eastern Regionals — which was won by New Englander Terry Sweeney. (See Flying squad for more about Sweeney.) In September of 1975, Grandfather Mountain hosted the USHGA National Championships, won by Dave Meuhl. (2)
The Seagull 3 had parabolic curved leading edges.
And the Seagull 4 featured a cambered and reflexed keel as well. See the Seagull Aircraftof Santa Monica, California related topics menu.
The Fledgling was a ‘semi rigid’ type that used drag rudders for turn control. The pilot in this undated photo seems to have tied his glider bag to the back of the keel tube. See the Manta Productsof California related topics menu.
The prone harness created less aerodynamic drag than the upright pilot position.
Notice that the sail is completely luffed in what was likely a nil-wind launch. The ballistic trajectory of glider and pilot causes it to gain airspeed, and the sail to fill and generate lift, whereupon the pilot acquires control and pulls out of the ensuing dive. It was all standard operating procedure in a standard Rogallo…
Notice the transparent — presumably plastic — fairings on the king post and control frame down-tubes, and just discernible also on the cross-tubes. That attempt at minor drag reduction came at the cost of added rigging time and care and maintenance of the fragile fairings. Modern hang gliders mostly have exposed struts made of oval section tube to achieve a better result.
A strong wind launch was even scarier…
Notice in the second photo that the front wire assist has ‘hit the deck’ of the purpose-built platform to avoid being struck by the launching glider or pilot. He is secured to the ramp, so is in no danger, but any off-centre contact with the glider at that critical moment could cause a crash.