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All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

Moderators: sg, mods

User avatar
By sg
#406218
If anyone is up for it.... definitely have the technology now to document all this stuff in a TIMELINE format via the Wordpress system. Any Volunteers? :twisted:








#406221
DMarley,

I'm not against John Dickenson. I'm against this statement... "The sport of hang gliding really began in Australia in 1963, when John Dickenson invented the modern hang glider." https://www.fai.org/news/dickenson-nomi ... -air-medal

SG,

I'll volunteer to help with a history timeline. It won't ever be completed.
#406223
When we say that May 23, 1971 with the Otto Lilienthal meet in Newport Beach CA, was the beginning of the world wide sport of hang gliding it doesn't take away from any of the contributions of all the pioneers of flight. Cayley's butler flew in something like 1816, as I recall. That HG developer, Cayley, gave us the wire spoked wheel as a result of trying to save weight on his hang glider.

Otto Lilienthal inspired some groups of hang glider flyers in the late 1800's. He even envisioned it as a recreational sport.

The difference is that the Nat Geo article, about the 1971 Otto meet, provided world wide exposure to expand HG activity from pockets of people or individuals to world wide awareness and made it a world recreational sport with competitions etc. In fact that 1st Otto meet was actually a competition. It was billed as the first world hang gliding competition. Businesses sprang up like grass within the first year.

Certainly Dickinson did not invent the hang glider but he perfected a design that became very popular for the first few years of the new world sport. Everything builds on what came before. There was not a lot of foot launching from mountains hang gliding until after the 1st Otto meet. Much of it was tow launch before that time. Dave Kilborn got the first 1 hour mountain flight after that time.

Frank
#406224
A great discussion, and thankfully devoid of the acrimony that dominated the "origins" question on the old Hang Gliding Museum board.

I like to equate Dickenson's contribution with that of George Freeth in the surfing world. According to the Wikipedia entry,
he "decided to revive the art of surfing, but had little success with the huge 16-foot hardwood boards that were popular at that time. When he cut them in half to make them more manageable, he created the original 'Long board', which made him the talk of the islands." This appears to have been just before the First World War.

Nobody questioned the fact that surfing had been going on before that ... it had been practiced by Polynesian cultures since before their contact with Europeans ... but it was his design that allowed the sport to really develop into an industry with clubs, dealers, manufacturers, schools, and organized competitions (of which the Lilienthal meet was the first, as Frank noted).. Interestingly, this seems to have coincided with the advent of hang gliding as an industry. The Wikipedia article notes that it was surfing's appearance in films and television that brought the sport to the public eye; one might argue that the National Geographic article was to hang gliding what the Gidget movies and the Beach Boys were to surfing.

I found it curious that it wasn't until 1961 that the the United States Surfing Association (USSA) was founded, despite the fact that the sport had been around for almost a half a century in the continental US.

That was why, in an earlier post, I regarded Dickenson's wing as the seminal event in the business of hang gliding (as opposed to the sport of hang gliding), as Freeth's invention of the longboard was the seminal event in the business of surfing.
#406225
Weird thing here on that last quote ... some of it got dropped.

The third paragraph should have read:
jlatorre wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:32 pm
A great discussion, and thankfully devoid of the acrimony that dominated the "origins" question on the old Hang Gliding
Nobody questioned the fact that surfing had been going on before that ... it had been practiced by Polynesian cultures since before their contact with Europeans ... but it was his design that allowed the sport to really develop into an industry with clubs, dealers, manufacturers, schools, and organized competitions, as Dickenson's wing allowed hang gliding to develop into an industry with clubs, dealers, manufacturers, schools, and organized competitions (of which the Lilienthal meet was the first, as Frank noted).
#406226
Frank: // "When we say that May 23, 1971 with the Otto Lilienthal meet in Newport Beach CA, was the beginning of the world wide sport of hang gliding it doesn't take away from any of the contributions of all the pioneers of flight."//

But it really does.

JB
#406227
I was not yet a teenager when the Nat Geo issue of the Lilienthal event showed up in my house. It so inspired me that I sought assistance from my grandparents and with a tiny 'wing' made from elm saplings and Naugahyde I charged and leapt my way down the side of that Alabama chirt pit. (I like to say my life was saved by my lack of hang gliding design skills)

That meet and that article was like an amplifier, but it was not the record.

JB
#406233
And the article was an amazing amplifier -- but still not the record.

There is the feeling that with the claim being made, there is a minimization of the incredible effort put into creating the record.

JB
#406234
BubbleBoy wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:30 am
And the article was an amazing amplifier -- but still not the record.

There is the feeling that with the claim being made, there is a minimization of the incredible effort put into creating the record.
Well said, JB. I never meant to downplay the efforts of all those pioneers that put a lot of effort into figuring out how to make and fly these contraptions. It's impossible to say with certainty just what marked the advent of the "modern sport of hang gliding," because it depends so much on what one's definitions of "modern" and "sport" and even "hang gliding" are.

I tried to side-step the definition by tracing the event to the production of the first practical and marketable hang glider, which was a direct descendant of Dickenson's ski kite.. Dickenson would be the first to remark that he didn't really invent anything new; he borrowed the airfoil from the Ryan Parasev design and the control bar from the ski-kite, and put them together in a novel way. Others are quite free to assign their own mileposts, and none of them are less valid than mine.
#406238
You Know by reading this t this thread it got me to thinking about those of you who flew a newly constructed Glider for the first time. i mean i remember when i made the transition from my first Glider, a Wills-Wing 225 to Altair Predator.

I can only imagine how nervous i would be flying a n rew Glider for it's first flight. Talk about being nervous.
#406242
Roadrunner71 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:59 pm

I can only imagine how nervous i would be flying a n rew Glider for it's first flight. Talk about being nervous.
Well, I remember test flying a new glider or two ... fresh from a factory where they didn't do production test-flying ... when I worked as an instructor at Econ-O-Flight. I had sold them to my students, and we wouldn't let a student fly it before one of us did.

When I worked for Electra Flyer, I bought a brandy-new Cirrus 5. I was the first one to fly that, too.

I think I was the first to fly the Vision and the Esprit I got from Pacific Windcraft. In fact, I built both the sails and the airframes for those gliders, so it was really on me the whole way.

And I remember doing a bit of production test flying when I was with Pacific Windcraft and Pacific Airwave.

I also did a bit of prototype test flying, too. But I was smart enough to be the second or third one to fly it, after JMB or Bobby England flew it first.

In all these cases, I approached the flight with the mental mindset that the glider was out to kill me, and it was up to it to prove me wrong.

I'm sure that there are plenty of people on this list who find it a familiar story.
#406246
Ah, yes, prototype flying...never a dull moment there. I have to say, though, that I never got off the ground on either a prototype or one of the zillion production test flights I did and thought "today is a good day to die". Good on ya' JMB and JLT for getting it right BEFORE we all went flying!
#406265
In 1971, inspired by Richard Miller's Conduit Condor I designed and built my Skysail, commonly referred to as the "Colver Skysail". I started the build in November 1971 and completed it in January 1972. First time out on a hill, Jan 22, 1972.

Yes, kudos to D Boone and others who tested many new gliders from manufacturers. This is the only glider I tested but I had the additional task of teaching myself to fly on this glider, of my own design and very low cost build. It was high performance for its time (perhaps the best at that point in time) and difficult to train on. I should have learned on a Rogallo and then flown the Skysail. My son Matt, who was flying a Rogallo, was able to fly the Skysail from the start but it took me a lot more time before I was making flights and I made mods to the design as i was learning to fly it. By 1975 it was getting beat up to the point where I no longer trusted its airworthiness and I retired it to the San Diego Aerospace Museum where it was destroyed in the fire.

If one notices the small amount of tip twist it's because my airfoil changed from positive camber to negative camber at the tip. That's why the double covering in the outer part of the span. The rib at the tip is inverted.

I started out with "up-only" elevons at for roll control but that didn't work and I changed to the tip drag rudders which worked well. They were controlled by cables attached to the swing seat so movement was just like a fully weight shift controlled glider. The rudders also pivoted up when the tips touched the ground.

Many hang glider pilots have noted over the years that the plan form is similar to modern flex wing hang gliders and if I had gone with a flexible sail instead of rigid covering I would have had a glider, back in 1971, very much like what is a common design type today. The only reason I didn't was because I couldn't sew a sail and didn't have the money to pay a sail maker.

At low angles of attack the Skysail had a very fast flat glide but also had a slow mushing flight at high angles with made it easier to land.

So, now after all these years I'm building another glider of my own design, the "Basic Trainer, Puffin", and I will be testing it, but this time I already know how to fly a hang glider. However, I also have a good pilot volunteer to do testing who is much younger than my soon to be 84 years. 8)

I've attached a photo from a Popular Science Magazine article that came out in 1974.

Frank Colver

Oops - for some reason I can't upload any photos now. sg, help!
User avatar
By red
#406269
USHPA7 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:45 am
In 1971, inspired by Richard Miller's Conduit Condor I designed and built my Skysail, commonly referred to as the "Colver Skysail". I started the build in November 1971 and completed it in January 1972. First time out on a hill, Jan 22, 1972.
Frank,

I stand amazed! 'WAY to go!

. . . :yay: . . . :yay: . . .

I actually saw pictures of the Skysail and the Conduit Condor in a paperback book back then. It was titled the "Handbook of Sky Surfing" or something like that. We had very little information on the East Coast then, but that book was a large source of ideas.
User avatar
By TjW
#406270
USHPA7 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:45 am
In 1971, inspired by Richard Miller's Conduit Condor I designed and built my Skysail, commonly referred to as the "Colver Skysail". I started the build in November 1971 and completed it in January 1972. First time out on a hill, Jan 22, 1972.
<snippage>
Frank Colver

Oops - for some reason I can't upload any photos now. sg, help!
I saw you flying that at Escape Country. Probably 1973ish.

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