Hang gliding mid 1980s
This page follows Hang gliding early 1980s part 2.
Most of the images on this page are my artistic derivations of contemporary photos. See Copyright of early hang gliding photos.
Wills Wing at last released their first enclosed cross-tube design, the Duck. Notice how, in the photo of the Duck at full speed level flight, the trailing edge of the sail is held in a reflex curve by lines to the top of the king post (reflex bridles) and tip struts not attached to the sail, but firmly attached to the leading edge tubes.
At Ager in northern Spain in 1999 I met a German pilot still flying a Duck. It had appropriately vintage colours: Brown and yellow sailcloth. I asked why he flew such an old glider. He explained that he had tried newer wings, but he liked his Duck better.
See my page Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California.
Here, the exceptionally clean lines of the Seedwings Sensor are evident.
Seedwings of Santa Barbara, California, is a separate entity from the manufacturer of the same name in Europe.
One of the greatest hang glider designers, Bob Trampenau, turned out to be a great photographer too.
According to industry expert Dan Johnson writing in Hang Gliding, July 1988, the largest manufacturer then was Gerard Thevenot’s La Mouette, which made 1,800 gliders in 1987. Here is the contemporary production hierarchy of manufacturers according to Johnson’s research:
- La Mouette (France)
- Polaris (Italy)
- Airwave (UK and USA)
- Wills Wing (USA)
- Moyes Gliders (Australia)
The image of Gerard Thevenot and Bill Lishman is a screenshot from the documentary Operation Migration – Birds of a Feather shipped with the DVD containing the movie Fly Away Home, Columbia Pictures, 1995 (see my review).
Austrian-American (via Australia) Hans Heydrich won the 1987 Arizona cross country contest in a Wills Wing HP2 — the stand-up keel pocket of the Duck had been left behind — with a flight of more than 200 miles. Heydrach’s grandfather flew zeppelins in World War 1 and his father flew Messerschmitt 109s (among other aircraft) in World War 2.
This topic continues in Hang gliding late 1980s.
Big Blue Sky — The history of modern hang gliding – the first extreme sport! by Bill Liscomb on YouTube