Lejair: Tony and Rona Webb


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Lejair: Tony and Rona Webb

Keith Cockroft hang glider tow by quad with Tony Webb running alongside in 1985
Keith Cockroft under tow by quad with Tony Webb running alongside in 1985. Based on a photo by Dan Johnson.

Lejair, founded by chief instructors Tony and Rona Webb, was for many years Britain’s primary hang gliding school and it is still running in 2021. It operates in the flatlands of Norfolk and in Spain. Tony and Rona pioneered the use of winch launch training in Britain after learning the technique in the mid-1980s from Donnell Hewitt of Texas, among others.

In the photo by American hang gliding industry expert Dan Johnson visiting the UK, they are using the center of mass tow bridle technique as advocated by Donnell Hewitt.

Lejair also organizes hang gliding expeditions to places such as the Spanish Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa.

Tony Webb
Tony
Rona Webb
Rona

The author of this web site being winched into the sky in a Vision
The author of this web site being winched into the sky in a Vision at World War 2 B-24 base RAF Wendling, Norfolk, England

Wendling field is one of the winch launching sites used by Lejair over the years. (See under External links later on this page for a link to the Wendling field Wiki entry.)


Lejair leaflet, 2018
Lejair leaflet

In 2018, this author accompanied Gary Dear, then a trainee instructor with Lejair, to a back street printing press in Bournemouth on the coast of Dorset, England, where these leaflets were printed.


Rona, John, and Tony in early 1992
Rona, John, and Tony in early 1992

We lost instructor John Burrell to cancer in 2010. Tony and Rona divorced some years ago, but they continued to work together. Rona visited me (with Gary D, who was training as an instructor) in my home town during my time of trouble in 2018. We went to the beach and I kept a pebble from that day. It sits on a cupboard in my room. Then in January 2020 came the news that shocked so many in British hang gliding: Rona had died at home in Spain.


The loss of her quiet competence will be felt throughout the hang gliding world.

— BHPA magazine SkyWings, February 2020

Wendling air base

Wendling ground officers' mess
Wendling ground officers’ mess

Half a century before Lejair used Wendling field for hang glider winch launching, it was a U.S. Army Air Force base.

USAAF wall mural at RAF Wendling
Wendling Mural

USAAF personnel painted wall murals at RAF Wendling, Norfolk, England, in World War 2, from where they operated Consolidated B-24 heavy bombers on daylight missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

Related

Skyting in Hang gliding early 1980s part 2 for Donnell Hewitt of Texas and his center-of-mass bridle system for winch launching

World War 2 related topics menu

External links

Lejair hang gliding school

RAF Wendling Wikipedia entry

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