Hang gliding 1974 part 1
I moved my hang gliding history pages to a new web site: History of hang gliding. This page will be deleted eventually.
This page continues from Hang gliding 1973 part 2.
The images here are my artistic derivations of contemporary photos. See Copyright of early hang gliding photos.
See also the related topics menu Waspair of Surrey, England.
Russ Velderrain manufactured Rogallo hang gliders in Lomita, California. His wife Carol ran the USHGA office.
Pacific Gull of San Clemente, California, was an early adopter of ‘sail clearance towers’ on the ends of the crosstubes, to which the top side wires were attached. They prevented the wires from digging a furrow in the sail. (Alternatives were an enormously tall king post or extending the cross-tubes out beyond the leading edges.) Nowadays the preferred method is to pass the cable through a hole in the sail to a connection slightly inboard of the leading edge tube.
On the subject of hardware, the following photo illustrates typical mid-1970s nut-and-bolt type fittings with Nicopress (or Talurit) swaged cables and a pin through a hole in the end of each bolt to prevent the nut coming off.
Incidentally, Sailbird should not be confused with contemporary manufacturers Sunbird or Sun Sail… There were so many hang glider manufacturers that it was hard to think up a unique name, although Pliable Moose (Wichita, Kansas) surely succeeded in that respect. (Sailbird was based in Colorado Springs, Sunbird in Canoga Park, California, and Sun Sail in Denver, Colorado.)
Speakers at the Northrop Institute of Technology Ultralight Flight Seminar in January 1974, from the left left:
- Irv Culver (co-designed the VJ-23 and -24 with Volmer Jensen)
- Jack Lambie (Hang Loose)
- Lloyd Licher (president of USHGA)
- Eddie Paul (Whitney Enterprises Porta-Wing)
- Bill Allen (pilot, photographer, journalist)
- Taras Kiceniuk Jr. (Icarus 2 and 5)
- Mike Riggs (Seagull Aircraft)
See also the related topics menu Photographers of early hang gliding.
The Seagull V flex-wing Rogallo used a rudder connected by ropes and pulleys to the pilot’s harness, a technique used also in the Quicksilver ‘semi rigid’ monoplane style hang glider. Together with its excessive dihedral, the rudder combined with weight shift provided turn control.
See the related topics menu Seagull Aircraft of Santa Monica, California.
See also Flying squad, a brief history of Sky Sports.
Ultralight Products, headed by automotive racing designer Pete Brock, set the standard for high quality hardware in hang glider manufacture.
For more of Brock, see the related topics menu Ultralight Products of California and Utah.
Australian Bill Bennett’s Delta Wing Kites and Gliders factory in Van Nuys, California, was one of several manufacturers competing with Ultralight Products in El Segundo.
For more about Dave Meyers, who took the ocean cliff photo, see farther down this page.
Hang gliders transported in this manner attracted attention, which might go some way to explaining why they were transported in this manner. See Cruising for a bruising in My flying 1975 for more on that subject.
See the related topics menu Kitty Hawk Kites.
Of course, hang gliders owed much to sailboat design and technology. The art of sail making and time-tested hardware allowed designs to advance quickly.
— U.S. east coast veteran pilot Chris Gonzales in e-mail dialog with the author
The Tweetie, designed and built by Australian Ron Wheeler, was a weight-shift controlled hang glider built of modified sailboat technology. British hang gliding pioneer Miles Handley rigged one at the inaugural meeting of the BHGA, held in December 1974. Handley then started work on a design of similarly ‘aeroplane’ layout, but of radically different geometry and construction.
A photo in the British weekly Motorcycle News of bike racer Stewart Hodgson flying a hang glider caught my (and others’) attention.
This topic continues in Hang gliding 1974 part 2.
Photo by Roger Middleton of Mike Collis launching in a Tweetie at the British championships in August 1975.