HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:01 pm

Bob K wants to add me to his list of pilot profiles so I hope you all will excuse my rambling - this was written as part of a bio-interview I have been asked to give for the Oshkosh 2011 - the theme is "QUICKSILVER" -I received an email from Bill Cyzgan of Detroit he is compiling as muh information about the origins of the Quicksilver as he can gather before July ...l.eventually all this will be compiled into one happy chunk of information , it was written as I recalled certain memories from nearly 40 years ago.... ENJOY.... (from Neil Larson USHPA # 24 ) ....
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Going back to my first recollections of Quicksilver –the whole thing was all Bob Lovejoy’s concept- Bob had been an accomplished illustrator / draftsman with a fixation on flight. At the time he conceived Quicksilver idea the shells on the eggs of hang gliding were just beginning to crack, we were all just scratching at the surface of the whole man flight concept. Bob as I was told through all sources was employed by MATTEL TOYS- he did conceptual designs for their R&D, (I believe) – *May I say I do not attempt to embellish a bare simple story but make the most honest attempt to present the facts as I know them to be true –

Bob had his mind set on a hang glider because that was the hot action back then, I am talking late 1971 early 1972- I began to work as a dishwasher at Orville & Wilbur’s Steak House then it just opened new located at the Pacific end of Rosecrans Blvd. Manhattan Beach what is the Tree Section because Rosecrans was a divided 2 lane road with heavy large tall Eucalyptus Trees studding the shaded lane from Aviation Blvd to Highland Ave. – O&W’s was set on the crest of the hill overlooking the Ocean & it was nestled in a notch of land at the south west corner of the Standard Oil Refinery of El Segundo- Inside Orville & Wilbur’s the décor was rich with memorabilia pertaining to early man flight attempts of the last century – heavy on very old sepia Prints of the Wright Brothers blown up into major art pieces , these by the way were all sold to Chuck’s Steak House (parent co. of O&W’s ) enlargements made by Tom Valentine.

Tom is the one who introduced me to Hang Gliding, Soaring, independent film making, Jack Lambie & the Wright Brothers…. he showed me a ad in a SSA Soaring magazine about an upcoming multi hang glider meet at Newport Beach – so that was in an issue pre-dating May 23rd 1971 – He also had a hand printed stapled 8 page folded “magazine” called Low & Slow which featured also the same display promotion for the upcoming First Annual Otto Lilienthal Universal Hang Glider Championships & 123rd Anniversary Birthday Celebration to be held on a grassy hill in Newport Beach. Tom was already established as a proficient Sailplane pilot doing many summer weekend journeys out to Twenty Nine Palms airfield to fly gliders-

After we attended the big grand meet we got really jazzed about these hang gliders along with the other thousand or so spectators who parked below the hill to take in the unique & virgin sight of at least a dozen of these manmade contraptions leaping and tumbling along the hill over the tall golden grassy straw weeds.

Began a surge in published material in assorted printed media , daily papers, magazines etc. featuring photos from that day & also follow up articles about other pioneer creator who mostly resided in California.

Tom eventually secured a job at Orville & Wilbur’s then negotiated a job for me. So inside the wood paneled restaurant were these small 12”x12” color pen & ink lithography prints in marvelous matted ornate frames each of these original “signed” Lovejoy masterpieces depicted antique style vintage pre-WWI aero planes.

I knew of Bob’s art & interest in flight by this valuable collection long before I ever saw a Quicksilver hang glider. There are some on line images to be found of Bob & Joe Faust assembling & test flying a prototype QS, I think from LIFE magazine archives…

As the sport progressed through the first year of expansion I fell into a deep connection with all the free spirit thinkers & radical nonconformist outsiders who populated that culture of HG. Tom V. had a VW Carmen Ghia, he was a Junior then at Hawthorne High School I was a Senior when we met- in a high school drama production theater class. Tom was doing a final edit & presenting his short film Stepping Away, it was completely filmed & done by Tom & being about 9 minutes long it featured a flight in a Sailplane filmed from every angle- He sent it in the 1970 (1971?) Kodak Student Film Competition… he came in third place in the nation with that production- Now Tom Valentine is a credited Motion Picture Art Director with a long list of accomplishments to his name-

Bob Lovejoy was one of the handpicked crew of designers pulled together by Dick Eipper to be part of his fledgling new hang glider “company” Eipperformance. I knew Dick from those early times because we met about once or twice a month through 1972 for developing a local hang glider club- Dick hooked up with a girl friend who lived right across the street from the Esplanade in Redondo Beach on the beach strand there it was a very high 80 foot sloping ice plant covered bluff that was perfect to do foot launch test flights off into the prevailing on shore Pacific daily breeze. I broke his leg at some point along back then, we held an administration board meeting for the SCHGA there in Redondo at his pad once while he was recuperating from the fracture leg in a cast. That is perhaps the only time I can recall Dick ever remaining semi- stationary, he was hyper…hyper Eipper !

Dick started the small Peninsula Hang Glider Club , because the cliff at Torrance Beach attracted a lot of action , before it was placed off limits. The PHGC some morphed into the SCHGA, it grew fast! Suddenly we had membership numbers & active members spreading far deeper into the Southern California landscape that just the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Our regular general membership meetings began to be held in the (sailboat) Sail Manufacturing Loft in Lomita , Dick Eipper took a job at the Sail factory so he could have access to the materials & sewing machines needed to put together a real high quality Dacron Hang Glider Sail- Now I know there “may” have been another person doing this at that time but to my knowledge Dick Eipper was one of the very first to begin to retail sale a finished production issue HG sail wing. The Eipper Flexi-Flyer was the main standard Rogallo being sold through Eipperformance. Now looking back I am really amazed at Dick’s massive organizational talent- I won’t call it a skill because skill sort of describes a honed & developed expertise, …what Dick Eipper had was 99% charisma & charm & it was a raw natural talent-

There exists a segment from one of the original TV episodes of 60 Minutes- it was the intro tag piece they used all week to preview that week’s program – it featured Dick Eipper – the preview clip aired before the show that week- it showed in flight shots of a crude hang glider – The actual segment was really edited short and only took up the very first part of the 60 minute slot so most folks missed it because they went to a commercial at the close of Dick’s piece- I remember it had a voice over of Dick Eipper talking as he drove his old white “painters” pick-up truck with a ladder rack on the bed in back , his rolled up homemade hang glider Rogallo was strapped on, as he drove down the San Diego Freeway amongst the homogenized Los Angeles afternoon traffic. The editing kept it moving so as I said it only lasted all of maybe 4 minutes on the TV. As he personally described Hang Gliding was his last freedom, and with three steps he launched off a bluff I think Dockweiler Beach / Playa Del Rey onto the sand below – the flight lasted but only seconds with a on the ground camera angle to capture a splash of sand into the lens as his foot dashed onto the earth. With the orange red sunset behind his wing of Polypropylene Painter’s drop cloth- But for us who waited all week to see this – we felt totally thrilled that our sport was recognized by a major network-

Bob Lovejoy settled into a close relationship with Dick Eipper, along with others in the Eipper team who made rapid gains developing complete off the shelf “Buy & Fly” hang gliders for retail to the general public. The Quicksilver borrowed heavily from other aircraft designs , obviously a breakthrough because it incorporated many cutting edge , advanced designs. There were several upstart hang glider companies around Los Angeles, all vied for a slice of the profits to be had in the new sport. I visited Eipperformance when they operated out of Torrance Ca. Because I had been a visible part of the administration of the Southern California Hang Glider Association – which spawned forth from the original Peninsula Hang Glider Club. I requested a position on the board of directors as the first Historian for the SCGHA – in an open meeting with a general vote of the members present. So I sort of managed to position myself into a key seat at the beginning of the organization.


Last edited on April 4th 2011, at 10:30am
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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:04 pm

Part 2 by Neil Larson # 24 USHPA
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Dick Eipper was not a big dude , dripping wet maybe all of 155 ponds –so he flew a small standard Rogallo. Eipper Formance Flight Systems factory in Lomita took a proactive business stance, it became apparent creativity fueled success. Dick seemed intent on trying out any idea that popped into anyone’s head.

There two schools of thought were (1) imagine it, build it, try it, & (2) Think of it , do a complete scientific study on every aspect of it, and then build a model of it test it twice then begin a full scale working prototype…

Paul MacCready was in school 2 , Dick Eipper was in school number 1.

I witnessed Dick Eipper try to fly his first attempt at a powered hang glider, it looked like a far out stunt…little did I realize he would go on to lead the Ultralight industry with the powered Quicksilver monoplane. That first contraption consisted of a regular Flexi-Flyer piloted by Dick, using a backpacked gas chainsaw engine with a propeller bolted on wrapped in a steel cage, and strapped on his back. This propulsion unit used a cable actuated motorcycle clutch handlebar lever handle positioned underneath his armpit so when he moved his right arm against his ribs the throttle accelerated. Mostly an elbow squeeze type movement…

All went great till he began to run down the slope at Torrance Cliffs…. As the engine revved it forced Dick flush against the triangle control bar of the kite- this set the pitch of the glider “down” setting in motion a near catastrophe. He did not anticipate the double force of his own weight times the added inertia of the forward power plant & the very real Gyro effect of the spinning Prop ! Lucky as always Dick emerged from the “Whack” as the nose of the HG rapidly dug into the sand at the base of the slope. And his white knuckle grip on the bar gave little opportunity to ease off the muscle clinch of his arms causing the throttle to more or less remain on slam FULL !

In typical Dick Eipper fashion he eventually stood up with a “Teflon” smile / grin assuring that he enjoyed the one & only wild ride- it was decided the prop /body pack was not a real cool idea on HG’s having standard triangle control bars. But it was one hell of a method to find out!

For many of the early developments , this hands on , seat of the pants method was S.O.P. for most of us. Lovejoy’s Quicksilver monoplane design incorporated so many novel & intricate unique construction designs

it really stood out from among the rest of the hang gliders being built at that time. At an early Peninsula Hang Glider Club General membership meeting at the Lomita Sail Loft it was discussed that we must decide on a more suitable title to describe or group. At some point ,I think it was the “godfather of hang gliding” Jack Lambie who tossed out the whimsical term “Birdmen” so with hoop & a holler that became the name of the group…until we held another meeting. These early meetings came at least once a month. So the next gathering at the Sail Loft we became acutely aware that “BIRDMEN” lent a rather psychedelic & frivolous image to what at the time was a fringe group of leaping lunatics. In fact the Flying Farkles as they were known, came in with a report that a farmer in Riverside County simply chased the bunch off his perfect hill with a shotgun when they told him they were BIRDMEN & they wanted to spend the day flying off his hillside pasture. At this time Bill Liscomb (Big Blue Sky) was sporting a very robust length of bright red long hippie hair , as can be seen in some of the early photos from that era.

During that second Loft meeting of the PHGC – Dick Eipper acting as president issued a vote after a tablet of paper was passed around the room allowing all members to place their own suggestion for a suitable new club name. The only organization I had been involved with at that time was my parent’s local Home Owners association , known as the Del Aire Improvement Association. I thought the basic who-what-where concept could be applied to the hang glider group so I wrote down …

Southern California (because I reckoned the group would spread to all corners of our “world”) Hang Glider Association. I wrote that down on that sheet of paper and then drew a pencil sketch of a line drawing of a simple bird in flight profile & passed it to the person next to me. Upon a final vote the Southern California Hang Glider Association was nearly unanimously voted in with members approval. When Eipper saw that little bird he came to me immediately after the meeting adjourned, using his radiant smile & twinkle of his eye he asked if he could “use” my bird that I drew …”Neil would it be alright for me use that bird you drew?”

I consented thinking he wanted to place the bird in the next club mail out-

Well Low & Behold about 2 months later when Eipperformance hit the bricks as a LLC / incorporated company doing business as… Dick had made one or two modifications to that “bird” by curving the wings back so the icon took the shape of a letter E with the bird beak as the center horizontal of the “E” the two wings becoming the upper & lower horizontal cross marks- It was a free flowing flying bird “E” which became the LOGO for Eipperformance. So I named the club & launched a major hang glider company all in one night.

Never got a penny ! Later Jack Lambie admitted to me that his “Birdmen” moniker was simply a “lark” & a joke that he never really thought would go further than a chuckle.

Carl Boenish was at that first Universal Hang Glider meet at Newport Beach. Carl went to Hawthorne High ten years earlier than I, he was a Senior in 1961. Carl gained a reputation as a professional skydive photographer & he lived about 6 blocks from me in the 70’s in Hawthorne. I would drop in on Carl occasionally and he always invited me in to catch the latest thing he had been working on. He converted the garage in the back of the property of his folk’s original residence into a private studio editing bay & screening room. Carl was a 16mm film guy , long before the advent of Video tape & digital hard drive. He had several helmets with counter weights on the side opposite the camera mount to equalize the 90MPH + blast during terminal velocity. He was another dude with a perma grin on his face like Dick Eipper. These guys loved life & had a great sense of experiencing the maximum rush of what life offered. Of course most people know that B.A.S.E. Jumping was originally “coined” by Carl Boenish. In fact I think the idea was you had to do each B-A-S-E Building Antenna Structure Earth to be given a BASE number – Carl was BASE #1, you have to do a parachute dive off those 4 things to get your BASE Number.

One night I knocked on Carl’s door because I saw the lights on up in the back driveway late at night. He had just returned from a expedition up to a bridge up in Oregon where they had successfully managed to use a station wagon as a platform while driving over the bridge. The dude leapt from out of the window of the back seat and between the vertical girders of the bridge structure. He had a small “pearlcorder“ that was the audio of the event. He played back the audio for me about 6 times and laughed his little gentle “child-like“ laugh each time through. I remember the voices as the jumper came up from the canyon – because an oncoming car thought the jumper was a suicide nut. All the driver saw was a man leaping from the oncoming vehicle at 45 miles an hour then, plunge down into the Royal Gorge Bridge ravine.

Carl produced a Hang Glider documentary called Playground in the Sky. I have seen the whole movie it’s great and some of the footage was re-used by Bill Liscomb with permission for his more recent film “Big Blue Sky”. Carl did Playground in about 1977. We are seeking to find a way to encourage (Carl’s widow) Jean Boenish to begin re-releasing Playground in the Sky but the cost of digital re-mastering is the thing preventing a honest clean version from being done on DVD. We hope since this is the 40th Anniversary of the Birth of Modern Hang Gliding, Carl’s masterpiece labor of love tribute Playground in the Sky, might be ready for the public….

I didn’t hang around Bob Lovejoy, he was always busy, but Joe Faust was one of the old hang glider guys that I know who rubbed elbows with Bob. I moved from California in 1984. I’ve been in Northwest Florida since then. Fortunately a few years back I came into contact with a gung-ho Ultralight pilot. We called him “Mac Fly” like Back to the Future, he flew a Quicksilver two seater with full open cockpit. He was a rated instructor. The UL was set up with pontoons , a real nice rig. He hired me to do a instructional video on VHS so he could sell them when he landed. He flew on the Gulf between the Intercostal Waterway & San Destin Resort on the Gulf of Mexico. There is a secluded water ski lake nestled back in the dunes he landed on, we did about 6 hours of stock footage on tape for that job. Of course 6 hours of UL fly time is a whole bunch of air time !

I managed to get footage from every angle and also discovered a steady cam trick that I used to get some great in the cockpit shots of he & I in mid air- I was amazed the engine vibration was completely neutralized … really great footage – He wanted me to take video from every angle , so my mind went back to the film Tom Valentine did in high school 20 years earlier , I used some of the camera techniques Tom shared with me he used on Stepping Away. After a long separation from any hang gliding it was a treat and a thrill to get some honest logged in air time in a Ultralight Aircraft . The Quicksilver handled perfectly. Mac Fly did all sorts of “stunts” some dead stick landings & touch & goes off the water. I never once felt uneasy or in harm’s way while I was in the Quicksilver. Since we were flying inside Eglin US Air Force Base we had to contact the tower each time we went up- Mac Fly had a headset helmet with radio & a cell phone & a third radio as a failsafe backup. He had his s*** together for all his UL flying. When he landed on the crystal white sand of the gulf a curious group of on lookers would always gather round the UL. He would drum up business for his flight instruction school and sell videos & even take “students” up for a first time “lesson”, cash only if you please , he was a cool dude.


Last edited on April 4th 2011, at 10:35am
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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:21 pm

part 3 -

Moving through time looking at the old collected DVD data discs of the official set of Ground Skimmer - Low & Slow Magazines- Like the old episode of Star Trek where the crew found a miniature data storage device found on a forgotten planet – I creep through the PDF files of these old paper journals type written on a stencil albumin master and mimeographed for postal mail delivery by hand delivered Post. I feel like Spoke peering into the viewer of a tri-corder. These are priceless to me , but I was there then, ? So how much more the surreal to a young person or novice HG or UL pilot?

Scrolling past historic articles by the pioneer founders of the sport.

Dashed out notes & spec charts of linear calculations made on a slide rule All of this seems to be abruptly removed from my comfortable seat here on the couch with a wireless keyboard & flat screen 60” monitor, PC, USB, HD,

…oh how innocent we all were then….


Jump forward 12 months from May 23rd 1971 , the Otto Meet at Newport Beach, CA-

Dates of July 1972 in the SCHGA newsletter …Ground Skimmer –

The term Ultralight or Ultra Light is now known by most pilots as a class of sailplane or glider-

This term “Ultra Light” was originally coined for use to describe High performance hang gliders, used mostly by Hang Glider Pilots who had a specific background in flying FAA certified sailplanes & gliders &

Motor Gliders. I recall hearing the term used by Tom Valentine, Jack Lambie, Lloyd Licher & Taras Kiceniuk to describe the high performance non-Rogallo man carrying aircraft. It was not until sometime later when motors were added to Hang Gliders along with wheels etc. that the Ultralight “moniker” became specific to what we know now as a separate classification of aircraft.

This little factoid seems irrelevant now in the scope of nuclear meltdowns , revolutions & religious bloodbaths. But it is a minor fact that I stumbled on when the term first began to be glued on the powered hang glider class of aircraft. I had associated Ultralight for many years with high end HG like the foot launched Quicksilver or Taras’ own Icarus V and the Mitchell Wing or Volmer Jensen’s Swing Wing.

Basically it was given to a performance & cost level of Hang Gliders which normal human beings could not afford. Additionally an “ultra light” (HG) could not be rolled into a carry bag and strapped to a car roof or assembled by one man in a few minutes. The most accurate description I would give would be to Volmer Jensen’s Swing Wing & his Sun Fun, because these were way over the top master pieces of engineering & design crafted by aircraft builders with backgrounds in FAA regulations, physics & large wallets.

Probably one of the reasons I sort of walked away from the old pioneer class of hang gliding was the knowledge of the certain approaching wall of regulations coming into view in the future – ( I say as I look back to the mid 70’s)- a wall of rules & regulations like a Tsunami of authority sweeping up raising the general tide of conformity like a wave rolling in from the far Pacific….

I just bowed out perhaps I anticipated the growth in membership also meant an increase in accidents. To be attached to the center of the administration with the constant reminder of officers & board members hashing through weekly , or daily reports of crashes, made me shy & respectful of the potential danger of leaping from a high altitude in a 65 pound apparatus.

LOW & SLOW… A simple expression and a basic rule of thumb ….yes mostly the idea was to enjoy the gentle breeze across the face with the odd swipe of a stiff blade of wiregrass at the halting end. At the Hang Ten Nationals at Saddleback Mountain, when I saw a Mitchell Wing whirling rapidly past overhead at over 35 miles per hour overshooting the entre landing zone completely at an altitude of 50 feet and a super flat glide ratio…. ….I did have a epiphany witnessing that experience of the sport indeed progressing into a far point beyond my desires & ambitions respecting personal “man-flight”.

Also one could notice the stepping to one side of a few of the prominent Movers & Shakers of earlier days. Some took complete absence from involvement while others found more interesting avenues of interest. Jack Lambie & Paul MacCready who both attended the first Otto Meet set off on Human Powered Flight in 1976….

By 1976 I no longer had any contact with Dick Eipper – he had flown the Coop too. Tom Valentine motivated into serious focus on building a 1970’s Full Scale Flying Replica Wright Brothers Model B Biplane.

Time line progress January 1973 Low & Slow magazine … membership is reaching a massive threshold

I did some work in the publication & editing offices of Low & Slow for Joe Faust in 1973.

His Headquarters was located near Lincoln Blvd / near the and of I-10 & PCH / Hwy 1 & Olympic Drive – anyway it was a large indoor parking structure, with a roundi-round incline driveway. The building had a dark dusty crypt feel to it and it was loaded with canvas covered antique vehicles. Joe had negotiated some arrangement to be in this huge vault so he had set up make shift 2x4 & plywood work stations for laying out & printing and collating the L&S. At this time Joe was the most widely recognized central figure for collecting & disseminating HG information, that is I mean to tell you, world-wide hang Glider central clearing house. Before the internet kiddies we had US Mail , so 99% of all Joe’s information was delivered by the USPS. He had stacks & bins & boxes in 1973 of HG plans & notes & photos & designs & drawings coming to him from everywhere.

Also now we have the newly incorporated SCHGA which is anticipated to be a major entity, Lloyd Licher , presiding over the organization is working via a very clear vision of the future of the sport. I can’t say enough good about Lloyd Licher , well for that matter the entire assembly of HG family were so very enthusiastic during those years. You have to listen to what Dave Cronk tells about in BIG BLUE SKY, he explains it was a beautiful free exchange of information prior to the upsurge of HG manufacturers…

Dick Eipper stepped off the presidential platform of the SCHGA to focus entirely on a major golden egg his Eipper-Formance HG company has gained a very significant market in kits & plans & product. Notice if you will the membership of SCHGA climbs from 222 in Nov of 72 to a whopping 743 by Jan-Feb of 1973 the organization has now become the heart beat of the sport. We have to thank Lloyd Licher for this strong presence because he had a very clear knowledge of the operational system of the SSA & he knew the way the FFA worked. It has been said the “Perfect Storm” of karma & fate & luck covered the entire beginning of the sport of Hang Gliding in Southern California.

Bob Lovejoy lived in Torrance , the area is known as South Bay, that’s where a large aerospace & aircraft industry was already established. The level of open innocent creativity was amazing in comparison to today’s vise-like federal government regulated society.

Remember we are talking about the whole Hippie culture, Hollywood empire, Underground Surfer Counter-culture & the US Space Race Military Complex all rolled into one dot on the globe of earth….

Bob could run ideas through his work at Mattel Toys, make a couple phone calls & do a consult with a half dozen aircraft machine tool & die shops & then spend an afternoon on the beach with any number of Tie Dyed Beautiful People. There was a energy level within the HG community, you witnessed it at the monthly meetings of the SCHGA at the Gas Co. Building on Flower downtown L.A. In that one location we could all come together & be the members of a real man flight organism of humans. Volmer would show up wearing his “uniform’ always shades of Powder Blue –

Bill Watson always brought his latest “design model” . There were many unique individuals each personality contributing directly during those SCHGA monthly meetings & each person consumed the radiant energy level of good will & positive vibrations given off by the entire assembly. It was a time when real interpersonal communication was done through a smile a hand shake , some friendly banter & mutual respect.

This was a bygone era before the advent of such modern crippling devices such as Blackberry, Flip Phone & instant messaging.

As the SCHGA started to spend more time working on publishing Ground Skimmer. The GS became more of a slick magazine than an information newsletter. In December 1973 a major shift had finally occurred with a wider concept of a National Organization we finally see the December 73 Ground Skimmer as the official publication of the United States Hang Glider Association –USHGA –

The other revelation in progress is that the GS has raised the level of Self Regulation by printing more Safety / Accident / Pilot Rating data into the pages. A major move that establishes the USHGA as being very aware of the danger of HG. My active participation in the once local club had been very useful in many respects and on many levels. But as the membership grew to over 1000 or more by Dec 73 I felt as though my competence within the club had been effectively reached. There was no hard feelings because I knew a strong direction had begun & there were many qualified people taking up the guide on.

By 74’ I had become just another brick in the wall, the primary work had lead to a nationwide Self Regulated Hang Glider Organization with district chapters governed by local area representatives.

The die had been cast , as HG manufacturing took a hard look at every aspect of equipment performance, forever replacing the shade tree backyard home built Hang Glider. Perhaps then was when a great friendship with Jack Lambie began to become cemented by the common understanding that what we once enjoyed for fun was now serious business in every sense of the word…

The story doesn’t end , but there are a hundred more minor details of what evolved during the short span of 36 months – think about it … The toddler 3 year old USHGA suddenly now a college post graduate doing internship as a independent governmental oversight committee & carrying several majors in micrometeorology, thermodynamic, applied calculus & minor in “community organization…..

Like Clint Eastwood said …”A Man‘s Got To Know His Limitations”….

I took a job in Hawthorne Ca at Bicycle Don’s Bike Shop during the big gas crisis of 74’ when we had odd & even license plate gas rationing, Nixon dropped the speed limit to 55 mph & I rode a super light weight British Lambert Bicycle purchased from Jack Lambie.

Oh I’d still ride the 2.4 miles down to Playa Del Rey to watch the Rogallo “kites” launch but preferred to stand astride the bike and just observe the new HG students float into the breeze. No more duct tape, no more stretched Poly Drop Cloth sails stained with oxidized aluminum rubbed marks…No more bamboo spars….

I am very happy to have been a close participant in the pioneer days of the birth of Modern Hang Gliding in Southern California, we never honestly thought a dozen men on a grassy hill with assorted makeshift gliders would sustain the dream long enough to become a worldwide mega-social sub-culture sport. I do count myself as blessed ….Nothing will ever come close to being a part of such a magnificent brotherhood of human souls , those masters of the sky … I covet those days….


Last edited on April 4th 2011, at 10:39am
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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby Neil Larson » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:26 pm

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Early SCHGA meeting downtown Los Angeles Southern California Gas Co. building Flower Street
left Joe Faust (President pro-temp), Rick Finley-Treasurer, Chris Talbot Jones-Secratery, Neil Larson-Historian

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Torrance Beach Bluffs near Palos Verdes Peninsula, Ca.
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Atop Torrance Cliff , 1972 ... this was a major testing site for mostt of the early Eipper-Formance Hang Glider flight systems


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Bob Lovejoy on right wing tip -during a test flight of a first prototype HG

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possibly 1972

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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby JoeF » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:51 am

Neil's unique experience will become a classic:
http://www.energykitesystems.net/Lift/2011/2011AprilLIFT.html#NLnarrative :clap: :thumbup:
And a version is now also up in a key site regarding the project:

Neil's input was accepted and published on April 5, 2011.
Link#1: Modern Sport Hang Gliding First Happened in Newport Beach by Neil Larson

Link#2 Neil Larson

Such is a neat launch into the Newport Beach community, Neil. Congratulations. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Project action log
Let me know if some action is missing from the log; thanks.
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View pilots' hang gliding rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby JoeF » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:23 pm

Thanks for writing! Several of us knew Bob Lovejoy and hold him in top drawer esteem. Please also update us. Who are his children? Did his wife have other children other than their first daughter?
Many mentions of Bob are in Low & Slow, in Hang Glider Weekly, in Ground Skimmer, and many other hang gliding periodicals. Since his Quicksilver was adopted into powered flight and the devices were duplicated at a super count, Bob is recalled in many aviation magazines.

In high school Bob and I high jumped against each other at the same track meet. I was in Culver City High School, and if I recall at the moment correctly (I hope) he was of Mira Costa High School. Later we would meet in the hang gliding movement. My son was flown in the very first tailless wing that Bob built (design was not continued, as it was flat airfoil; there are photos of that wing). Bob's drawings were used in my magazine and others; he also put many of his aviation art pieces on the walls of a restaurant near the beach where we had some early hang glider organization meetings.

I am guess you married Bob's daughter; I featured a photo of Bob, his wife, and his young daughter, in my Hang Glider Weekly. That you make you a son-in-law to Bob. Your children have an aviation star as a grandpa. Bob is worthy of your deep full investigation. He was pleasant, generous, courageous, smart, terrific artist, astute designer, ... and more.

His HighTailer was interesting but short lived for some technical reasons recently shared by David Cronk
Image

Best,
Joe Faust
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JoeF
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Re: HG Retrospect : 40 Years After Day One

Postby Frank Colver » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:26 am

Joe it looks like you are replying to missing text. Can we see the letter you are replying to?

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