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By Hangskier
#266248
Does anyone know who the first instructors were/are and traced how many instructors between them and their instructor?

In the martial arts instructors are linked pretty close and I got to thinking what about hang gliding.
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By gasdive
#266249
Hangskier wrote:Does anyone know who the first instructors were/are and traced how many instructors between them and their instructor?

In the martial arts instructors are linked pretty close and I got to thinking what about hang gliding.
Chris Boyce taught me and he was self taught. He's still teaching.

http://www.hanggliding.com.au/
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By psilyguy
#266269
My instructor, Michael Robertson, has been teaching for over 40 yrs. I'm pretty sure he was self taught. He apparently was the inventor of the base bar wheels, and he created the RCR's, which are an amazing learning tool!
He's gotta be one of the first!
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By ChattaroyMan
#266273
I taught a bit in the late 70s in and around Billings, MT (Beartooth Hang Gliders). I taught myself to fly and needed other pilots to go flying with! ....... Actually, I did take one 'lesson' in '75 in Spokane, WA from a fellow named Brent Rosengrant. After that I was on my own. A look back at old hang gliding magazines will turn up a wealth of who taught who and when. Pretty much anyone who had a 'school' advertised in Ground Skimmer magazine.
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By Ken.de.Russy
#266296
That would be John Dickenson of Australia. He taught Bill Bennett and Bill Moyes in 1967. John Dickenson and Rod Fuller first flew on 8 September 1963. Actually Rod Fuller flew first just before John in 1963. The Dickenson wing is the proto-typical configuration that brought about the viral spread worldwide and made our sport, as we know it, possible. Rod flew first and Dickenson flew next. I bet Rod gave John some suggestions. So maybe Rod would qualify as the first instructor. That of course was towing the first modern hang glider behind a boat.

Moyes was first in 1968(?) to foot launch so would have been the first instructor who taught foot launching the Dickenson wing for whomever he taught that skill to. Bennett taught Kilbourne to ski launch and Kilbourne figured out foot launching on his own.

Tow launching those little wings looks like a b----. John scaled them down so that the take off speed would be high enough to allow the pilot to get stable on the water ski before the wing flew. This video of Ron Nickel in July of 1964 shocked me. I had thought before watching it that it would have been easy.
http://www.johndickenson.net/videos/index.html

Note that the seat is not strapped to the pilots butt. It was necessary to fly the glider down to get the seat under the butt before allowing the wing back up to pick the pilot up.

Too illustrate the difficulty go to the last video on that list and watch Bill Moyes guide a top hang glider pilot trying to fly one just a few years ago.

Go to John's Guest Book at http://users3.smartgb.com/g/g.php?a=s&i=g35-20147-6d and thank him for creating the most magical flying machine ever. While you are there wish him a Happy 78th Birthday (22 January).
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By Ken.de.Russy
#266297
psilyguy wrote:My instructor, Michael Robertson, has been teaching for over 40 yrs. I'm pretty sure he was self taught. He apparently was the inventor of the base bar wheels, and he created the RCR's, which are an amazing learning tool!
He's gotta be one of the first!
I am pretty sure Mike is the longest active hang gliding instructor in the world. He is also the first guy to horse tow a Dickenson wing. The day he stops teaching we have made plans to cryogenically freeze him, texture him with a lifelike exo-skin, ram some animatronic equipment up his butt and put him straight on display at the Hang Gliding Museum. He will be in the foyer greeting visitors.
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By astronaut
#266302
Where does John Dickenson live today?
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By Hangskier
#266353
Thanks for the history Ken.

I wonder if any pilots can trace themselves to the original pilots?

I mean, I'm sure Bill Moyes has given tips to many people, but if he signed someones rating and that pilot became an instructor then signed others ratings. Like a family tree. It would be interesting to see in some type of chart.
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By ChattaroyMan
#266363
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).
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By Ken.de.Russy
#266379
astronaut wrote:Where does John Dickenson live today?
Australia. He has visited here several times. He is an awesome and lovely man. You could not wish for a better hero.
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By Ken.de.Russy
#266389
ChattaroyMan wrote:
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.
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By jjcote
#266399
I have a spreadsheet that consists of the "Ratings Issued" lists from the USHPA website, which shows who signed everybody off for their various H-x ratings. In theory this data could be turned into a "family tree", though it's a little more complicated because each person may have up to five "parents", depending on their rating (I have three, because my H1 and H2 were signed off by the same instructor). I guess one interesting tree would show who each person got their H1 from. Another might be who they got their highest rating from, but that's maybe not so relevant -- in my case, my H4 signoff came from an Observer who I never received any instruction from, and a more relevant "parent" would be another pilot who I learned a ton from, just talking in the car while driving to and from flying sites (he never signed me off on anything, but he was the observer/chaperone for my first mountain flight). Also complicating things is the fact that the spelling of names is not entirely consistent, and some manual tweaking would be required. And the online database appears to be missing a lot of records from the early days.
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By Hangskier
#266431
Ken.de.Russy wrote:
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.
This is true. And I guess using all of ones resources is the smart way to learn. I have read manuals, watched videos, followed threads, listened to instructors, received advice from fellow pilots, and tips from ground crews.

Its great how we help each other out.
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By Spark
#266432
Along with Michael Robertson, John Dickenson and Dave Broyles, Joe Greblo and Mark Windsheimer deserve mentioning.

Both have been teaching more than 35 years.

Who else?
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By skypilot155
#266480
Icarus :mosh: :mosh:
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By jjcote
#266515
skypilot155 wrote:Icarus :mosh: :mosh:
That would be Daedalus. Icarus was the first bad student.
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By CAL
#266521
i have to laugh looking back at my instruction, when i wanted to get into it, my two brother in laws said they would teach me, it went something like this

lesson 1 ok pick up the glider, Run ! , push out push out , once airborne Pull in! back then that's how they taught you on launch, is to push out :crazy: then pull the glider in for airspeed,

lesson 2 once i made my first launch and landing, now lets go to the mountains 3500 feet agl , it was a good grassy slope, on the way up they taught me how to turn the glider, pull in a bit shift weight to the side you want to turn, then push out a bit to carve a turn, when you reach the LZ, box the LZ until low enough then bring er down and push out

as i seat belted myself into a child's swing seat, off the slope i went starting my adventure in hang gliding :lol:
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By HGXC
#266573
Terry Sweeney spent a day kneel tubing me and my manflight hang glider at the clay pits in Dunbarton NH in early 1974. Terry stopped teaching many years ago but still flies sailplanes.

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