Hang gliding 1975 part 1


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Hang gliding 1975 part 1

This page continues from Hang gliding 1974 part 2.

The counter-culture rejected ties with traditional society, and felt that suburban living in tract houses was the epitome of everything it despised. This was, of course, because most of the pilots had grown up in the suburbs.

— Richard Seymour writing in Hang Gliding & Paragliding, July, 2004

Art based on a photo by Hugh Morton at Grandfather Mountain, Georgia

Art based on a photo by Hugh Morton at Grandfather Mountain, Georgia

Hugh Morton, through his photography and sponsorship of hang gliding, helped advance the cause.

Another photographer of early hang gliding was Leroy Grannis, a major in the U.S. Air Force reserve. He was famous as a photographer of the 1960s surfing scene. He then turned his camera to the new phenomenon of hang gliding and the results have, arguably, never been equalled.

Art based on a photo of surfing and hang gliding photographer Leroy Grannis

Art based on a photo of surfing and hang gliding photographer Leroy Grannis

See the Big Blue Sky video link farther on for more about Leroy Grannis.


Art based on a photo of Kitty Hawk Kites' premises in its early days

Art based on a photo of Kitty Hawk Kites’ premises in its early days

Kitty Hawk Kites, founded by John Harris, is situated on the Outer Banks, North Carolina. It is still (in 2019) the world’s largest hang gliding school. See also my page Kitty Hawk Kites.

Curved leading edges

Art based on a photo of the Wasp CB240 semi-cylindrical Rogallo hang glider of 1974-5

Art based on a photo of the Wasp CB240 semi-cylindrical Rogallo hang glider of 1974-5

The Wasp CB240 was almost certainly copied from the Seagull 3, with leading edge tubes permanently formed into parabolic curves. Top British pilot Brian Wood flew a Wasp CB240 in the World Championship competition at Kössen, Austria, in 1975…

…in those days the sails weren’t fixed as securely as now and the sail on my [Wasp CB240] had become detached from the end of the leading edge after being knocked about on the chair lift. I didn’t think it would have any effect but while I was flying a tight 360 the sail rode up the boom. Suddenly I found myself flying on one half of the kite. The kite went into a spiral dive Fortunately the kites were built like tanks in those days — the CB had two inch leading edges — and it survived the pounding of the G forces. I was then lucky enough to ditch it in a bank of snow.

— Brian Wood quoted in an interview in Wings (BHGA magazine) August 1977

The interviewer, David Worth of the Southern Hang Gliding Club, added “That flight can be seen on a hang gliding film which is currently touring the cinemas.”

Brian continues:

Competitions are for me a must, because I can’t afford to buy hang gliders especially at the price they are today. If you do well in competitions there is always someone willing to sponsor you.

See my threads page Waspair of Surrey, England.

Puff the magic dragon

Art based on a photo by Malcolm Hawksworth of Colin Joby flying Puff the Magic Dragon

Art based on a photo by Malcolm Hawksworth of Colin Joby flying Puff the Magic Dragon

Puff the Magic Dragon was made by Hiway Hang Gliders of Brighton, Sussex, England, headed by John Ievers and Australian Steve Hunt. Its nose angle appears to be the usual 80 degrees of the early standard Rogallos. See Hiway of Sussex, England, and Abergavenny, Wales for more about this manufacturer.


Art based on a photo of a Hiway standard Rogallo

Art based on a photo of a Hiway standard Rogallo

This one is more advanced in that its nose angle is 90 degrees.


Hang Gliding revised edition by Dan Poynter, 1975

Hang Gliding revised edition by Dan Poynter, 1975

On a low hill near the atomic research establishment at Winfrith in the heathlands of Dorset, England, a 17-year old sailmaker took to the air in a Skyhook IIIA that he made from plans. John Jenkins, who is pictured flying on an earlier page in his all-green self-made standard Rogallo, supervised.

Roly's first flight near Winfrith in Dorset, 1975

Roly’s first flight near Winfrith in Dorset, 1975

Hang glider overhead in 1975

Hang glider overhead. This one has the ‘west country’ sail cut and was likely made by McBroom Sailwings of Bristol.

Snow bound

Art based on a photo by W.A. Allen of Chris Price and Dave Muehl on a snow trak (no larger size available)

Art based on a photo in Wings Unlimited, April-May 1975, of snow traks at the 'World Snow Kite Championship', British Columbia, in February 1975

Art based on a photo in Wings Unlimited, April-May 1975, of snow traks at the ‘World Snow Kite Championship’, British Columbia, in February 1975

That is Bob Wills on the right. He won the competition in a Wills Wing Swallowtail, which I was to obtain a close look at and ask him about it later in the year. The Wills Wing range of Rogallo flex-wing hang gliders was manufactured by Sport Kites Inc., of Santa Ana, California. (It was subsequently renamed Wills Wing Inc.) For more about Wills Wing and the remarkable Wills family, see my page Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.

Art based on a photo by David Stanfield at Telluride in 1975

Art based on a photo by David Stanfield at Telluride in 1975

Art based on a photo by David Stanfield of pilots and gliders at Telluride in 1975

Art based on a photo by David Stanfield of pilots and gliders at Telluride in 1975

See also Telluride, Colorado threads menu.


Photo of a hang glider in 1975

Training flight at Monk’s Down in north Dorset. Photo by Dave Lewis.

Photo of a man carrying a fully rigged hang glider up a hill

Having landed in the field at the bottom of the hill, you then carried it back to the top. Photo by Dave Lewis.

Which was more dangerous; flying it or carrying it back up like this?

Photo of an early 1970s hang glider launching

A Birdman Grasshopper launches at Monk’s Down. Photo by Dave Lewis.

Internal links

This topic continues in Hang gliding 1975 part 2.

Duck à l’orange — my Airfix 1/76th (OO) scale DUKW, with info about the 1975 Guadalupe dune hang gliding event

My flying 1975

External link

Photographer Leroy Grannis: Big Blue Sky, 2008, by Bill Liscomb on YouTube starting at 46 minutes 25 seconds