Hang gliding mid 1980s


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Hang gliding mid 1980s

This page follows Hang gliding early 1980s part 2.

Most of the images on this page are artistic derivations of contemporary photos. See Copyright of early hang gliding photos.

Louie Ward launches. Photo by Ed Fields.
Louie Ward launches. Photo by Ed Fields.
Pilots' meeting at the 1983 US nationals held at Dunlap, California. Photo by Bill Bennett.
Pilots’ meeting at the 1983 US nationals held at Dunlap, California. Photo by Bill Bennett.
Art based on a photo by Ann Welch of Russian trucks at the European championships in July 1986
Russia-made trucks loaded with hang gliders at the European championships in July 1986. Photo by Ann Welch.

Hugh Morton, the photographer here, was a prominent figure in North Carolina.

Art based on a photo by Hugh Morton of the 'mile high swinging bridge' at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina
The ‘mile high swinging bridge’ at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. Photo by Hugh Morton.

Thousands gather on Grandfather Mountain in June for Singing on the Mountain, which its aristocratic sponsor, Hugh Morton, calls a “king-size preachin’, Sunday school picnic, family reunion, and gospel singin’, rolled into one.”

— Neil Morgan, Home to North Carolina, National Geographic, March 1980

NASA engineer Francis Rogallo, hang gliding instructor John Harris, and hang gliding pioneer Bill Moyes. at Grandfather Mountain in 1984. Photo by Hugh Morton.
NASA engineer Francis Rogallo, hang gliding instructor John Harris, and hang gliding pioneer Bill Moyes. at Grandfather Mountain in 1984. Photo by Hugh Morton.

A wind dummy is a pilot at a competition who volunteers to fly before the competitors to report on conditions. That info assists the organizers in deciding on what task to set and on when, if at all, to start that day’s competition. A CB radio operates in the citizens’ band, normally associated with truckers at the time.

Almost to the lake I encountered lift that soon became a steady 200 FPM up. At 2400 feet over take-off, I got on my CB radio.
“Wind dummy to launch.”
“Go ahead, dummy,” came Joe Foster.
“The lift is everywhere; I would recommend some kind of cross country task.”

Masters of Hang Gliding by Doug Rice, Whole Air, December 1983

Steve Moyes, 1983 world hang gliding champion
Steve Moyes, 1983 world hang gliding champion

See under External links later on this page for digitized film of the Masters competitions held at Grandfather Mountain in 1983, 1984, and 1985. Also a link to a documentary film aired one evening at the 1983 competition, about the ‘Moyes boys’ adventure in Africa.

Australian (and half Chinese) Steve Moyes of the hang glider manufacturing family finished in joint third place at the 1983 Masters, but he won the 1983 world championships, held in Germany.

It’s a duck…

Art based on a photo by Connie Lee Bowen of Quentin Flerant in a Wills Wing Duck
Quentin Flerant in a Wills Wing Duck (no larger image available). Photo by Connie Lee Bowen.

Wills Wing at last released their first enclosed cross-tube design, the Duck. Notice how, in the photo of the Duck at full speed level flight, the trailing edge of the sail is held in a reflex curve by lines to the top of the king post (reflex bridles) and tip struts not attached to the sail, but firmly attached to the leading edge tubes.

At Ager in northern Spain in 1999 I (the original author of this web site) met a German pilot still flying a Duck. It had appropriately vintage colours: Brown and yellow sailcloth. I asked why he flew such an old glider. He explained that he had tried newer wings, but he liked his Duck better.

See the related topics menu Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.

Sentinel

Hang gliders at Cathedral Spires, Yosemite national park
Spot the second hang glider!

Mark Anderson in an Ultralight Products Comet is at the left edge about two-thirds up the photo, just below the light bare rock, while Pat Denevan flies the orange and yellow Flight Designs/Hiway Demon. The photo was taken by Greg Shaw in a third hang glider over Cathedral Spires, Yosemite national park. They launched from Sentinel Dome, which was closed to hang gliders shortly afterward. A unique view. (*)

Bennett delta wing

Art based on a photo by John Zurlinden of John Ryan in a Bennet Streak (designed by Bob England) at Torrey pines, San Diego
John Ryan in a Bennett Streak at Torrey pines, San Diego. Photo by John Zurlinden.

The Bennett Delta Wing Kites and Gliders Streak, created by British designer Bob England, featured an under-surface that was — if I understand correctly — detached from the upper surface at its trailing edge. (I have some difficulty imagining that, however.)

Seedwings

Art based on a photo by Seedwings designer Bob Trampenau of Jerry Sturmer flying a Seedwings Sensor in 1986
Jerry Sturmer flying a Seedwings Sensor in 1986. Photo by Seedwings designer Bob Trampenau.

Here, the exceptionally clean lines of the Seedwings Sensor are evident.

Seedwings of Santa Barbara, California, is a separate entity from the manufacturer of the same name in Europe.

Art based on a photo by Bob Trampenau of Erik Lothe flying another Sensor in 1986
Erik Lothe flying another Sensor in 1986. Photo by Bob Trampenau.
John Coyne flaring a Seedwings Sensor. Photo by Bob Trampenau.
John Coyne flaring a Seedwings Sensor. Photo by Bob Trampenau.

One of the greatest hang glider designers, Bob Trampenau, turned out to be a great photographer too.

Bob Trampenau in about 2007 from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb
Bob Trampenau in about 2007. Screenshot from Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb.

France

Art based on a photo by David Klutho of Gerard Thevenot flying a Mouette Hermes in the USA in 1986
Gerard Thevenot flying a Mouette Hermes in the USA in 1986. Photo by David Klutho.

According to industry expert Dan Johnson writing in Hang Gliding, July 1988, the largest manufacturer then was Gerard Thevenot’s La Mouette, which made 1,800 gliders in 1987. Here is the contemporary production hierarchy of manufacturers according to Johnson’s research:

  1. La Mouette (France)
  2. Polaris (Italy)
  3. Airwave (UK and USA)
  4. Wills Wing (USA)
  5. Moyes Gliders (Australia)
Gerard Thevenot and Bill Lishman in screenshot from documentary Ultra Geese
Gerard Thevenot and Bill Lishman (no larger image available)

The image of French hang glider manufacturer Gerard Thevenot and Canadian sculptor, pilot, and inventor Bill Lishman (not to be confused with pioneer pilot and historian Bill Liscomb) is a screenshot from the documentary Operation Migration – Birds of a Feather shipped with the DVD containing the movie Fly Away Home, Columbia Pictures, 1995. (See under External links later on this page for a review.)

Arizona

Hans Heydrich over Phoenix, Arizona, in 1987. Photo by Bob Thompson.
Hans Heydrich over Phoenix, Arizona, in 1987. Photo by Bob Thompson.

Austrian-American (via Australia) Hans Heydrich won the 1987 Arizona cross country contest in a Wills Wing HP2 — the stand-up keel pocket of the Duck had been left behind — with a flight of more than 200 miles. Heydrach’s grandfather flew zeppelins in World War 1 and his father flew Messerschmitt 109s among other aircraft in World War 2.

Hans Heydrich. Photo by Bob Thompson.
Hans Heydrich. Photo by Bob Thompson.

Canada

Rob Kells in a Wills Wing  'Attack Duck' at the 1984 Grouse Mountain Invitational
Rob Kells in a Wills Wing Attack Duck at the 1984 Grouse Mountain Invitational

The Wills Wing Attack Duck logo on the stand-up keel pocket was an inverted version of the normal Duck logo. At least some, including this one, had missiles added under the wings. (See Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.)

See Grouse Mountain invitational 1984 for photographs by Jan Kulhavy taken at Grouse Mountain on the outskirts of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. They include rare images taken just after a mid-air collision.

Hang gliders waiting for conditions to improve at Vedder mountain in Fraser valley, British Columbia in 1984. Photo by Jan Kulhavy.
Hang waiting at Vedder mountain in Fraser valley, British Columbia

Hang waiting is the art of waiting for conditions to improve. The impatient pilot often finds himself (or herself) in the bottom landing field. On the other hand, if you wait for perfect conditions, you will miss the best lift of the day and, again, find yourself de-rigging in the bottom landing field.

Jan Kulhavy took the Vedder Mountain photos likely during the competition held there on May 19th to 21st 1984. (*)

Hang gliders waiting for conditions to improve at Vedder mountain in Fraser valley, British Columbia in 1984. Photo by Jan Kulhavy.
Another view by Jan Kulhavy

For some early hang gliding in Canada, see School for perfection in Hang gliding 1973 part 2.

Britain

Chris Elison launches in a Hiway Explorer rigid hang glider
Chris Elison launches in a Hiway Explorer from Mazourka peak, California, in early July, 1984. Photo by Pete Brock.

The Explorer was a semi-rigid wing. Its complexity is often mentioned by those who remember it as being its principal drawback. Nevertheless, when Hiway ceased trading in March 1983, leading British hang gliding engineer and campaigner David Bedding continued to develop it. He was killed in a mid-air collision in 1990, which also took the life of Derek Austen, another well-known British pilot, and that ended the Explorer project.

See also the Hiway of Sussex, England and Abergavenny, Wales related topics menu.


This topic continues in Hang gliding late 1980s.

External links

1983 Compressed 27 – 30mph Frontside Masters of Hang Gliding Championships on David Thompson’s YouTube channel. The video is annotated to identify several individuals present.

1984 Masters of Hang Gliding Championships – Backside / Frontside on David Thompson’s YouTube channel. Some pilots, launch assistants, and notable spectators are identified in embedded text.

1985 Masters of Hang Gliding Championships Sponsored by Piedmont Airlines @ Grandfather Mountain also on David Thompson’s YouTube channel

Big Blue Sky — The history of modern hang gliding – the first extreme sport! by Bill Liscomb on YouTube

Birdmen of Kilimanjaro on Moyes YouTube channel

Easy riser, a review of the movie Fly Away Home, Columbia Pictures, 1995, on Brave Guys and Beautiful Dolls

Reference

Whole Air No. 35 May 1984

One thought on “Hang gliding mid 1980s

  1. I flew the Wills Wing Duck (1984 model) , pleasant to fly and land but they employed a rather high lift wing section that limited the top speed. The quality of the materials was great, I am still using the glider bag from the Duck (The bag is perfectly intact with the zippers still working) as a storage dustcover for my 2014 model wing.

    Like

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