Hang gliding 1973 part 2
This page continues from Hang gliding 1973 part 1.
Resting on his shoulders was a great frail set of snow-linen wings, thirty feet from tip to tip and casting a transparent shadow on the grass. He took a breath in readiness, reached forward, and gripped the adhesive-taped bar of the main wing beam. Then all at once he ran forward, tilted the wings upward, and lifted free of the hillside.
— Richard Bach, School for perfection, 1968
The Icarus II was an early rigid biplane wing hang glider designed by Taras Kiceniuk Jr, who went on to develop the Icarus V monoplane. In Canada, Val Lapsa and some friends built and flew an Icarus II.
Val’s glider eventually crashed and was unrepairable, which was one of the drawbacks of these higher performing but more complex wings.
The Icarus II was further developed by Ultralight Flying Machines (led by Larry Mauro) of Cupertino, California, and renamed Easy Riser, in which guise it became popular as a powered ultralight. See Easy riser, my review of the 1995 movie Fly Away Home for more of the Icarus II, both as a glider and as a powered ultralight. Also see the Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 1 link farther down this page for film of an Icarus II or its close relative, the Easy Riser.
The Icarus V, designed by Taras Kiceniuk Jr, was a monoplane development of the Icarus II biplane. Like its predecessor, it was cumbersome to transport, not being foldable like a Rogallo.
Make no mistake, the future of this sport for the serious flyer lies in the direction Kiceniuk has pioneered.
— Photographer Leroy Grannis writing in Hang Glider, Fall 1974
See the Big Blue Sky external video link farther down this page for film of the Icarus 5 and its inventor Taras Kiceniuk Jr.
Chris Wills, younger brother of Bob, became the first ever U.S. hang gliding champion, in 1973. Annie Green Springs was a wine label of the commercial sponsor of the competition held at Sylmar, California, in October 1973.
Ground Skimmer was the magazine of the Southern California Hang Glider Association, which became the United States Hang Gliding Association. 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.)
The next image is a screenshot from a segment in Bill Liscomb’s 2008 documentary Big Blue Sky where Bob flies in front of crowds at the Coyote Hills near San Francisco. The glider is a Sport Kites Inc Wills Wing standard Rogallo, which he designed and built with his brother Chris Wills and their old school friend Chris Price. See the link later on this page to that part of Big Blue Sky on YouTube.
I will never forget the show Bob Wills put on at Coyote Hills Park in Milpitas, California, when he visited with his monstrous kite and awesome flying skills, effortlessly conversing with us as he soared overhead.
— Donnita Holland quoted by David Jebb in Hang Gliding & Paragliding, October 2007
In December of 1973, schoolteacher Mike Meier arrived in southern California from New York…
My interest at the time was motorcycles, and while riding along the cliffs of Palos Verdes one day I spotted two men bending over a long yellow bag with the words “Sport Kites” stenciled on the side.
— Mike Meier (*)
Mike watched as one of them flew several passes along the cliff and touched down lightly on the beach. Mike then obtained the address of Sport Kites and Bob Wills from the second man, and then he rode home.
For more about the Wills family and Mike Meier, see the related topics menu Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.
This topic continues in Hang gliding 1974 part 1.
Bob Wills at Coyote Hills: Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb on YouTube starting at 32 minutes 59 seconds, narrated by Donnita Hall (Donnita Holland)
Brian Porter speed task in a UFM Easy Riser in 1976: Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 2 on YouTube starting at 5 minutes 40 seconds
Icarus II or the derived UFM Easy Riser: Hang Ten Hang Gliding World Meet, Part 1 on YouTube starting at 6 minutes 59 seconds, where Steve Patmont carries out steep diving turns in 1976
Icarus 5: Devils Dyke Brighton Hang Glider Icarus 5: Flickr slide show of Don Liddard’s photos of an Icarus 5 taking off from the Devil’s Dyke, near Brighton, England
Standard Rogallo (unidentified pilot) at the Annie Green Springs competition color photo by John G. Zimmerman/Sports Illustrated on Getty Images
Taras Kiceniuk Jr: Big Blue Sky by Bill Liscomb on YouTube, starting at 34 minutes 51 seconds, for film of the Icarus 5 and its inventor
Taras Kiceniuk Jr. interview: Wings of the Wind, mid-1970s documentary by Gib Jaffe on YouTube, starting at 5 minutes 4 seconds, …while driving an open-top vintage car
Mike Meier, Wills Wing–The Early Years in Sky Adventures, Legends and stories About the Early Days of Hang Gliding and Paragliding edited by Jim (Sky Dog) Palmieri and Maggie Palmieri, 1998