Annie Green Springs 1973 briefing photo key

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Annie Green Springs 1973 briefing photo key

This is a sub-page of Hang gliding 1973.

Pilots' briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Original photo was by Peter Chiodo.

Briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Original photo was by Peter Chiodo.

The Annie Green Springs event was a competition run by the Southern California Hang Glider Association (SCHGA) at at Sylmar on Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th October, 1973. Peter Chiodo took this group photo at that event, which was named after a wine manufactured by the commercial sponsor of the competition.

Key diagram for pilots' briefing at Sylmar in 1973. Diagram likely by Lloyd Licher.

Key diagram likely by Lloyd Licher

Briefing at Sylmar in 1973 enlarged and annotated

Briefing at Sylmar in 1973 enlarged and annotated

I hope I got the name annotations right in the enlarged image. If not, please send me your corrections via the Leave a Reply box farther down.

  1. Chuck Stahl
  2. Carol Boenish
  3. Chris Wills
  4. Joe Faust
  5. Chuck Kocsis
  6. Joe Schneider
  7. Dave Muehl
  8. Lloyd Short
  9. Peter Brock
  10. Hall Brock
  11. Donnita Holland
  12. George Uveges
  13. Matt Colver
  14. Clark Green
  15. Keith Halls
  16. Richard Cheney
  17. Mark Chidester
  18. Pat Conniry
  19. Mike Huetter
  20. Tom Peghiny
  21. Dave Cronk
  22. Bob Wills
  23. Bob Dart
  24. Wenk Saville
  25. Russ Velderrain
  26. Bill Allen
  27. Bill Joplin
  28. Steve Wilson
  29. Curt Keifer
  30. Jim Diffenderfer
  31. Bill Johnson
  32. Dave Meyers
  33. Lloyd Licher
  34. Al Waddill
  35. Frank Colver
  36. Bill Watson
  37. Burke Ewing
  38. Dan Fitzgerald
  39. Tom O’Brien

Provisional notes on the people in the photo

This is what I know or, rather, what I think I know…

1 Chuck Stahl: Flight Director of the SCHGA and an airline pilot by day

2 Carol Boenish: First to fly from El Capitan in Yosemite national park and editor of Ground Skimmer for a year. She is sister of aerial film maker Carl Boenish (Playground in the Sky). She married Chris Price of Sport Kites/Wills Wing.

3 Dr. Chris Wills, brother of Bob, was the first U.S. national champion. See the related topics menu Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.

4 Joe Faust is a former Olympic high jumper who organized the first hang gliding events in Southern California in the early 1970s

5 Chuck Kocsis, an SCHGA board member, was killed in a flying accident a few weeks after this photo was taken.

7 Dave Muehl was a partner in Eipper-Formance (source: Wings Unlimited, Feb-March 1976 page 11)

8 Lloyd Short used his extensive dune buggy experience to access new sites in remote locations in the Mojave Desert. He won the Rocky Mountain Hang Glider Championships on 12th to 16th July 1974 at Telluride, Colorado. He was killed six weeks after that when his experimental glider failed structurally in flight. (Sources: Ground Skimmer May 1973 and April-June 1974.)

9 Peter Brock: See the related topics menu Ultralight Products of California and Utah.

10 Hall Brock, Peter’s son, started flying aged nine and was the youngest hang gliding fatality at 12 years old.

11 Donnita Holland: First female hang glider pilot and hang glider designer. See Donnita in Hang gliding 1975 part 2.

12 George Uveges: Photographer. See the related topics menu Photographers of early hang gliding.

16 Richard Cheney: Sail-maker for many manufacturers including Ultralight Products

18 Pat Conniry operated a hang gliding school, initially in partnership with Dave Cronk. Conniry was killed in a flying accident in early 1974.

20 Tom Peghiny: Hang glider designer. See Flying squad, a history of the east coast manufacturer Sky Sports.

21 Dave Cronk: Hang glider designer and the first world champion (1975)

22 Bob Wills of Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California. A legend in his twenties, he was killed in 1977.

25 Russ Velderrain: Manufacturer of standard Rogallos based in Lomita, California

26 Bill Allen: Pilot, journalist, and photographer. See the related topics menu Photographers of early hang gliding.

29 Curt Keifer flew for Wills Wing in its early days.

32 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.) In addition, he created a series of cartoons of seagulls voicing their opinions about the new intruders of their airspace in early Ground Skimmers.

33 Lloyd Licher, president of the SCHGA/USHGA used his influence as a key man in the gliding (sailplane) world to fight our corner.

35 Frank Colver invented the first popular audio varimeter for hang gliding. See Variometer in Hang gliding 1976 part 1.

37 Burke Ewing: Film maker and musician still flying hang gliders in 2019


Here is the list of contestants as published in Lloyd Licher’s retrospective article in Hang Gliding, September 1977. I retained the ‘deceased’ labels from the list as of September 1977:

  • Patrick C. Conniry (deceased) Santa Monica, California
  • Kim Dawson, Newport Beach, California
  • Donnita Holland, Palo Alto, California
  • James S. Diffenderfer, Los Altos, California
  • David A. Gibas (deceased) Golden, Colorado
  • David A. Kilbourne, Palo Alto, California
  • Bill T. Jones, Granada Hills, California
  • Bill Joplin, Monroe, Washington
  • Chris Price, Santa Ana, California
  • Gerry Ross, Sunnyvale, California
  • Peter Rutherford (deceased) Seattle, Washington
  • Wink Saville, San Diego, California
  • Charles E. Stahl, Mission Viejo, California
  • Russell Velderrain, Lawndale, California
  • Gary Warren, Redwood City, California
  • Steven T. Wilson, Redondo Beach, California
  • Richard Cheney, Kaysville, Utah
  • Clark P. Green, Panorama City, California
  • Keith T. Halls, Layton, Utah
  • Michael Huetter, Lomita, California
  • William G. Johnson, Missoula, Montana
  • Curtis Kiefer, Santa Ana, California
  • Mike Larson, Golden, Colorado
  • Terry J. Raymond, Santa Ana, California
  • Dave Cronk, Torrance, California
  • David E. Muehl, Inglewood, California
  • Matt Colver, Costa Mesa, California
  • Bob L. Wills (deceased) Santa Ana, California
  • Chris A. Wills, Santa Ana, California
  • Gerald M. Albiston, Sylmar, California

Stand-by contestants:

  • Tom Peghiny, Auburndale, Massachusetts
  • Charles Kocsis, Jr, N Hollywood, California*
  • Mark Chidester, Jr, N Hollywood, California
  • Pere Brock, El Segundo, California
  • Don Kent Trimble, Oakland, California
  • Lloyd Short (deceased) Los Angeles, California

* Assuming that Chuck Kocsis and Charles Kocsis, Jr. are the same individual, he was killed in a flying accident a few weeks after the Annie Green Springs competition. Source: Bill Allen note dated 12-73 in Ground Skimmer August 1973 page 9. (The August edition was not published until December or after.)


Using the group photo information, incomplete though it is, it seems that about one in five of these early hang glider pilots were killed flying in the first few years. However, according to the contestants list, it is more like one in seven.

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