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.
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.
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.

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 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.

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 (designed by Bob England) at Torrey pines, San Diego. Photo by John Zurlinden.

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
Gerard Thevenot and Bill Lishman (no larger image available)

The image of Gerard Thevenot and Bill Lishman (not to be confused with 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.

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.

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.


This topic continues in Hang gliding late 1980s.

External links

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

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.

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