Flying – my experiences

In 1973 I saw some people at Dockweiler Beach south of the Los Angeles airport who were launching gliders off a small cliff that was about 15 feet higher than the sand below. I parked and went to talk to them. One was nice enough to let me try a flight. That was my first experience flying the early hang gliders that were designed to look and work like the wing invented by Frances Rogallo for NASA. Here is a short biography

Francis Rogallo, an engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, invented the “Rogallo wing” concept in the 1950s. Later it was primarily used for┬áhang gliders. North American Aviation gave this wing to the Smithsonian in 1967 on behalf of NASA.

Here is the wing –

Shortly after that initiation I bought my own glider – a fixed wing design done by a Mattel toy designer. Here I am flying it at Pismo Beach in 1974. That was a magical day – the wind was a light breeze blowing straight up a huge sand hill that was larger than a football field and sloped almost perfectly up at about10 degrees. So the breeze lifted me gently and I was able to literally stop all forward motion, then tilted the nose up and the glider flew backward! This picture was taken when I was soaring right over the spot I had taken off from. What an experience!!