Hangskier wrote:.... It would be interesting to see in some type of chart.
That would be cool. Best to start it now before too many old farts die off. I'll see if I can locate the guy I took a lesson from - just to see how he got into it. I didn't live in the same area so we never got to know one another (originally my home town and now it is again). We're having a club meeting this evening and I'll start there to see who knew him (if anyone now flying did).
Instructor certifications were instituted first in 1975, 12 years after Dickenson developed the wing and the art. By the time the first list of instructors issued by a nationally recognized sanctioning body, in this case the United States Hang Gliding Association, was published in the June 1975 Ground Skimmer Magazine there were 10 to 15 thousand people worldwide already flying hang gliders.
The status of "instructor" was in almost every case until then simply self proclaimed. That's what I did. First I did it, I then argued with my brother about the right way to do it, then I showed my friends, then I was hired to teach others, then I started my own school. I called myself an instructor, accepted money, and for the most part my students learned how to fly. So did they learn from me or did they teach themselves? In all cases both statements are true. Actually everyone is a natural born instructor to the degree that you can share what you know with someone else. And everyone is the author of their own lives and each person chooses ones own course of action as well as being the primary in any learning situation.
Of that first list I suspect Dave Broyles of Texas is the only one who has continuously taught and remains today an active instructor. Dennis Pagan may also fit that description. I have remained involved and I am always teaching on some level. I no longer accept students and do not any longer maintain an active instructor status.
But honestly though the status of "instructor" is only slightly enhanced by such a credential. From my perspective the instructor card means far less than the act of guiding. Nothing eclipses the track record, the character and the integrity of the person providing the training. All that said my vote, regardless of the date on an instructor card, for the oldest and longest practicing instructor has to be for Michael Robertson.
It is very good to see that you desire to know your linage. As we grow older and in the process grow up, we begin to reflect on what we have done with our lives and where it all came from. Inevitably we must realize that a great deal of what we believe we alone accomplished was made possible by those who came before us. We marvel over our ancestry and can't help but wonder how so many choices that occurred long before us influenced and in some cases defined our lives.
Be sure to spend time at www.johndickenson.net
to learn the accurate history of our sport. And yes, that statement is deliberately intended to impugn to varying degrees nearly all other written histories. You may be aware that I have an extensive hang gliding library and have studied our history like few others have done. The "creation myth" of hang gliding is erroneous in nearly every account I have read. We were all duped. Thankfully we now have a vastly better account to explain our origins.
But rejiggering ones own long held views does not happen easily. We naturally cling to our cherished ideas even where we cannot explain how we came to them. Here are two recent articles, one from the Australian "Soaring Australia" hang gliding magazine http://www.australian-hang-gliding-hist ... ticle.html
and one from the United Kingdom "Skywings" hang gliding magazine http://www.australian-hang-gliding-hist ... ticle.html
I encourage everyone to exercise great skeptical scrutiny when relying on any published information. Read, investigate, and when you think you know, have the courage to stand for your convictions. Coming to a clear understanding of the true history of our sport is the least you can do to demonstrate an authentic appreciation and reverence for the pioneers who created and gave this most magical sport to us.
Ken de Russy
USHGA Dual Division Life/Charter Member #5114
Hang Gliding Museum Collector Guy
360 293 8621 Skype Me ken.de.russy
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