From my first exposure to hang gliding in 1973 I have had hundreds of moments when I was so moved by the experience that I wanted to thank someone for such a marvelous gift. Now after so many years I will shortly meet the individual most responsible for creating the device that turned dreams into reality for me and for hundreds of thousands of others around the world. John Dickenson, whose hang glider configuration served as the template for the vast bulk of all successful hang gliders ever flown, will visit and stay with Bonnie and me from 9 to 15 October. John will help me to complete a replica of that first modern hang glider for my collection and we will attempt to fly it while he is here.
(Inasmuch as it can be argued that hang gliding spawned the sport of paragliding John Dickenson can be said to have played a central role in bringing the marvelous sport of paragliding into existence as well. Speaking as a "bi-wingual" pilot I am conscious that I am doubly indebted to John.)
To celebrate John's gift to the world we are hosting a party on Saturday 11 October beginning at 1:00PM and you are invited to attend. I would like to encourage everyone to spend the afternoon here at the Hang Gliding Museum with John and me and if there is enough interest we will organize a Potluck dinner. I really have no idea how many of you might attend so please RSVP ASAP to let us know that you would like to attend and whether you would like to participate in a Potluck dinner. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think may be interested in this extraordinary opportunity but I must emphasize the importance of a prompt RSVP to ensure we can accommodate everyone.
This will be John's last stop on his world tour that will have included France and United Kingdom before returning to his home in Australia. John does not envision another visit to the US so this may well be an opportunity for you that will not be repeated. Considering what hang gliding has meant to me in my life I cannot think of a cooler way to wake up on October 12, my 60th birthday, and share coffee and breakfast with the man that gave to me the gift of flight!
Learn about John Dickenson and his work at www.johndickenson.net/
Hang glider pilots are in generous in their praise of the incredible sport of hang gliding. And for good reason. What can compare? The modern sport of hang gliding that you all love so, was made possible by the creation of the iconic "standard" hang glider, the origin of which, until recently, has remained unknown to most of the sport's participants. You likely will never again have such an opportunity to say "Thanks!" directly to the person who gave you the wings of your dreams!
Ken de Russy
USHPA Life/Charter Member #5114
Hang Gliding Museum Collector Guy
360 293 8621
Photos of Johns visit to the USA meeting up with Ken de Russy and friends at his Museum
All the photos belong to and were taken by Rich Harman
Ken de Russy and John Dickenson
John and Ken
Ken John & Paul Dee's
Ken John & Rich Harman
Tricia and John
Photos from Rich Harman