39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:24 pm

After nearly 4 decades of "modern" hang gliding progress it may be due time to reflect & contemplate the so called evolution of our sport. It has been suggested that a pivotal date in Hang Gliding History was the "First" Universal Hang Glider Meet , the Otto Lilienthal 123rd Birthday party & Universal Hang Glider Meet, or have I got that title all wrong ? I was 2 months off of graduating from high school, May 23rd 1971- After spending some hours at a friend's house , he had shown me a crude mimeographed "flyer" one sheet hand bill with some grand expressions of an organized "meet" where everyone who had a homemade hang glider could rendezvous that innocent spring Sunday on a hillside in Newport Beach. God only knows I had no car of my own then , but had inspired my parents , through some very dramatic pleading , to escort me and make a family Sunday Drive out of the event. It was only because there was not a football game or car race on TV or Radio that my father gave in to the begging, with some persuasion by Mother of course. We set off to find this strange cluster of humanity grouped on a butter pat grass hill . By the time Dad had set the brake & turned off the key , the three of us were already mesmerized by the sight of some plastic sails being jostled up the rough terrain. - So the story goes from my perspective of events witnessed from the bottom of the hill, that eventful day 39 years ago.
In 2008 I drove from my current home in Florida out to Cali. for a Thanksgiving Family Reunion 3 days non-stop, I arrived in Newport and spent the evening Saturday in a posh Hotel off MacArthur Blvd. Rising early & quietly drove about 5 miles to a densely residential community nestled into a hillside not at all looking like the raw California landscape I left 37 years earlier. I made my way to the uppermost section of the subdivision, parked and took a very nice walk along a beautiful Tree studded central park. Fortunately the developers had the presence of mind to retain the nature of the beautiful hill that is they left this most natural section along the "spine" of the hillside and thus gave the community a great place to share fun outside. I found my feet walking toward the western most end of the public park where the street curves around , there across from the tag end of the parkway the door to door houses form a vigilant barricade to the view of the Pacific Ocean. One spot along the sidewalk you can actually view the Towers of the Galleria Mall which were also present on May23 1971 in the distant haze of background behind Taras & Richard Miller & all. So my US Army Map Survey Training payed off I was standing atop the very same hill which had been the location of the Otto Meet. I took some video clips , thinking I would return and do an in depth "RECON" of the place later. As things turned out that was my only visit back to the Otto Hill. But as far as I know ...I am the only participant/witness to the First Universal Otto Lilienthal Hang Glider Meet &123rd Birthday Partyto ever go back to that Sight -
Here is a You Tube clip of 1971
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-XC0dxerYs way back then
Here is my Google Video video of the place in 2008
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 911960833# - as it looks today-
If you would like further info - Please send me a email - message, I had high hopes of organizing a fund raising project to build a statue Momument on the grass of that Public Park atop the Hill. Next May will mark the 40th anniversary...If anyone is interested in provoking the idea of building a statue of a dude in flight in a hang glider & placing on that Public Park , PLEASE let me know -
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:41 pm

Hi Neil,

Let's not give up on the 40th anniversary idea just yet...

Do you think you can find that same location in Google maps ... maybe with the help of their satellite photographs and/or terrain maps?

If so, please post an image that shows where you think the meet was held. The first step is figuring out where to hold such an event and where to place the monument.

Let's eat this elephant one bite at a time....

Bob K.

P.S. I did a little research and found some maps of what might be the location. Here's the big view:

CandidateLocation_003.jpeg
Otto Meet Map Location?
CandidateLocation_003.jpeg (48.79 KiB) Viewed 7278 times

and here's a zoomed in satellite view:

CandidateLocation_001.jpeg
Otto Meet Satellite Location?
CandidateLocation_001.jpeg (76.3 KiB) Viewed 7278 times

I think we should start by figuring out where the monument belongs and then approach whoever has the authority to grant it. I would suggest that we offer to give a historical presentation to that authority (and any affected neighbors). The presentation could be offered as a fun event for the neighborhood that includes a showing of Big Blue Sky to give them an appreciation for the aviation heritage of their neighborhood. We might even invite Bill Liscomb if he'd come to help give the pitch. We should get that in the works relatively soon, so they'll have time to plan for the actual ceremony in May of 2011.

But the first step is figuring out exactly where we'd like to place a marker and then approaching the body/organization in charge of granting it.

So, are these maps even close? If so, where would you suggest an historical marker?
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:56 pm

On Google maps - search Harbor View Nature park , Newport Ca., this is located on the front or face of the same hill where the Otto Meet "launched" you have to navigate the Street View Dude - down into the far west corner of the park - the street is the far west intersection of Newport Hills Drive 'east" and Newport Hills Drive 'west"... the larger park nown as BUFFALO HILLS PARK extends fully to Newport Hills Drive east/west ... this grass parkway is visible from Google Maps street view-
if you navigate or search for this address ----- 1730 Newport Hills Drive west...



pin point your street view dude directly in front of the drainage ditch in the curb face - at the empty space between the houses....LOOK !
and look due west between the houses - down the ravine you can see the towers oof the Galleria Mall at the same exact azimuth angle as photgraphed by the 8mm camera on May23 1971... this view conferms the location beyond any doubt - strange that that ravine was left to expose that singular view after all the building had taken place 360 around the site -
My suggestion is to locate a statue at the apex of those 2 streets (east & west) Newport Hills Drive - where that stretch of grass meets the sidewalk and the curb - with a designated plaque to have a proper inscription -
I was thinking of a bronze statue of a man wearing sun glasses arm pit high in a hang loose with one foot to the ground the other a kimbo- perhaps tip runners (boys) balancing each wing tip-
My imagination runs .....
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Newport hills drive west 1730.jpg
that was then
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Last edited by Neil Larson on Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:03 pm

Harbor view nature park is in fact deep in a ravine - without a single view of anything except - condos -
The upper park which is actually where the top or crest of the Otto launch site was- Buffalo Hills Park is a tremendous long elegant rambling park with play grounds & base ball diamonds and swings sprinkled along its course on the center of the "spne" of the hill - the far west end of this "park" is actually between private residences.. it is a simple grass lawn parkway - with a public sidewalk running down the center out to Newport Hills Drive east/west - this can definitely be clearly seen on Google street view
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:07 pm

FromDayOne wrote: 1730 Newport Hills Drive west... pin point your street view dude directly in front of the drainage ditch in the curb face - at the empty space between the houses....LOOK !


OK, I think I followed your instructions, and this map shows the location of 1730 Newport Hills Drive West.

CandidateLocation_004.jpeg
1730 Newport Hills Drive West
CandidateLocation_004.jpeg (52.1 KiB) Viewed 7278 times

Can you take this image and sketch in a few suggested locations for the monument?

Maybe Joe and I can go scout it out in the next few days?

I've also tried the perspective view and here's what I've come up with:

CandidateLocation_005.jpeg
View from the road?
CandidateLocation_005.jpeg (16.93 KiB) Viewed 7289 times

Is that the right view?
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:22 pm

The earlier ariel photo above that you bobk posted -
the uppermost center - where the letter "N" is in Newport Hills Drive W - at that N on the road is where I could view - the towers- futher down in that photo in about the center of the picture you see dark green grass - from the upper right corner down into the middle - where that grass ends at the street - is the best location for such a plaque or monument because it is at the side facing the west facing the ocean & facing the breezes-
it will be a nice spot because it can be seen by vehicles passing by the street - and can also be accessed by foot on the park path- However if more than one statue was raised ... say if a second statue was donated to the good people of Buffalo Hills neighborhood- I would then suggest any other location on that wondeful Grassy Park could be used - eventually a collection of hang glider sculpture could be fostered given that the park itself stretches for several hundred meters along the hill to the east ---
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:45 pm

OK!!

Now we're getting somewhere!!!
:srofl:

I've been trying to call Joe to see if he's up for a field trip, but his phone number is busy. I know it's a lot later in Florida, but I'll be happy to give you a call if you're still up. Maybe we could kick around some ideas.

Let me know, or just call me at 858-204-7499.

Thanks.
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:57 pm

suggested location at the corner of Newport Hills Drive west & east this is virtually one street divided at this sidewalk from west & east it is the west entrance into Buffalo Hills Park although every street has an access into this marvelous park
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:18 am

Anyone with an interest in joining this effort to establish a commemorative plaque to honor the historic event of May23rd 1971 - please don't hesitate to drop me a message , Thanks ,
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Re: 39 Years ago - H G - beginings...

Postby Neil Larson » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:34 pm

submitted for comments a draft for Commemorative plaque
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