Hang gliding 1989
Hang gliders: Mouette Atlas and Pacific Windcraft/Hiway Vision 1
Harness: Modified and strengthened 1970s stirrup harness
In-flight camera: 35mm compact with motor drive film advance
This page follows Hang gliding early 1980s.
In January 1989, after five years off, I resumed flying by joining an expedition to Lanzarote, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, 60 miles off the west coast of Africa.
These guys have seat harnesses and the one on the right is wearing a skydiving parachute. His hang glider harness has a quick release…
The glider they used for this event is a Moyes GTR. On this occasion, at Mirador, they failed to gain adequate height for the drop, but I heard they succeeded the following day.
The accompanying photo is of me about to launch at Mala. The glider is an Atlas, a single surface wing made in France. It was comparable with my old Birdman Cherokee and it belonged to the hang gliding school (Lejair) that organised the expedition.
This was the first time I had been overseas and my first time in a passenger jet.
In September 1989, I went to mainland Spain for two weeks’ flying.
I worked in central London and a colleague, an American, happened to have a hang glider for sale. As luck would have it, it was exactly what I wanted; an intermediate performance double surface wing. (The sail includes an under-surface that encloses the cross-tubes.)
My first flight in it was from the top of a ridge 3 000 feet (1 000 metres) high!
We had one day of dust devils in the rigging and launch area, in which pilots from Britain, Spain, Germany, and France readied for flight. Those mini tornadoes were invisible because it was just rock and scrub there, but they picked up gliders, bags, harnesses, and anything not held down. The day after after that, for amusement, I threw my glider bag into the air and yelled. Everyone rushed to their wings to hold them down. Then, seeing my glider bag collapse onto the ground with me grinning beside it, they just glared at me…
I tried my camera attached to the king post and this is one result. The landing field next to the town of Ager is at lower right. Hang gliders are laid flat next to the short row of trees in the middle of the field. A few years later, the left half of the field became a camp site. I am told that the remainder of the field has been built on since I was last there in 1999.
In both these photos my left hand is squeezing the rubber air bulb connected by a flexible tube to the shutter release of the camera.
The field over which I am coming down over in this photo is now a camp site and the field beyond the trees and parked vehicles has also been built on.
This was my lift back to town after I landed out at Ager, northern Spain (Catalonia) in September 1989. The girl is carrying my harness and plastic bag containing a borrowed variometer. (Mine conked out early on in the expedition.)
I photographed this rigid hang glider, which I think is a Reich & Neumann ULF-1, landing at Ager in September 1989.
Canoeing and swimming are options on the rare occasions that the weather is unflyable.
That’s Simon O. driving and Rona W. navigating.