John Wallace Dickenson
JWD would become the second or thrid person, or so, waterski kite maker to use the public-domain NASA-Rogallo-Ryan four-boom flex-wing arrow kite wing that had also been used priorly by Thomas H. Purcell for land and water manned kiting, and also priorly by Mike Burns for water manned kiting. Also prior kiting of the wing was done in the Paresev program. Also priorly James Hobson had in the private amateur sector built the four-boom flex-wing arrow kite for foot-launching in 1962. Also Barry Hill Palmer would build seven or eight hang gliders using the basic arrow flex-wing kite with several control systems and sharing with friends. JWD would take out a provisional patent without claims being examined and with the specifications being examined for novelty; of course, the whole mechanical set in part and in whole was priorly in the public domain, so it was good he did not invest money to carry out the strenuous patent process; while holding a pending provisional paper he took legal action against Mike Burns and failed in that attempt; Mike taught JWD a thing or two about how the wing and function was already old matter; Mike Burns himself not far from JWD already had made and flown on in April of 1963, having unmanned models in 1961 fly; Mike used the four-boom foundation from NASA's instructive arts while being a good craftsman himself to tweak out a useful device. JWD left ski kiting in 1968. Reportedly he was resentful about the success of Bennett and Moyes who also advanced the NASA-Rogallo-Ryan wing eventually into foot-launch hang gliding while they used even more of the NASA teachings.
Jump to some 40 or so years later and get a Graeme Henderson (GH) hell-bent to push untenable interpretive claims over ageing JWD. JWD would change some of his early story during such GH push in order to adapt to the untenables that GH would push to a slumbering hang gliding community only to get some unfortunate text into FAI Gold Award and other lesser plaques, diplomas, and certificates. Such a situation seemingly made good "story" for the sleepy and those caring not much about the integrity of hang glider history; but the untenables may end up really hurting the legacy of JWD, the credibility of FAI and HGFA, and those thousands of persons tilted by the untenables. JWD has been invited to help mend the situation, but he stays able and hidden from the effort. That he is one of us in the making of kite gliders is fully accepted. That he is not the INVENTOR of the kite glider mechanically globally is certain. We accepted his quitting ski kiting in 1968. He does not own what was and still is in the public domain as regards the century-old A-frame in hang gliding, the century and more pilot-hang mass-shift control, nor the four-boom arrow kite wing that even predates NASA's concern and teaching and forwarding. The two Bills would grow to more and more of NASA instructions on flex-wing; JWD does not own such public domain. The "GH Test" teases attention over JWD, and it is fun to get to know JWD or any member of our hang gliding and kiting community; but it is onerous work to have to forever sort out the GH untenables where GH has made JD into a god-point. So, the full package is part of the JWD legacy, as JWD is seemingly accepting the untenables GH thrusts into the core of hang gliding history text.
We invite facts and story about JWD's mechanical and flight life.