Johnny Carr is another of Britain's main early hang gliding pioneers, and has to be truly remembered as one of our main Characters in the sport. He was always larking around and a very funny guy. Whenever his name comes up I can’t help remembering the time when a handful of flyers from suffolk including myself visited Devils Dyke for a good days flying. At that time I was flying my recently purchased Birdman Cherokee. While I was rigging up to fly Johnny was hovering quite low and just above me singing "Three wheels on my wagon, and I'm just rolling along, the 'Cherokee's' are after me, but I'm singing my happy song". That was Johnny Carr at his best.
The following is taken from Johnny's web site
Johnny Carr took delivery of his first hang glider in July 1974; it was a curved boom Wasp CB with a 240 square foot sail. A month later he entered his first competition at Cam Long Down near Stroud, Gloucester. To his surprise he won the big glider class and was 3rd overall. He had only entered the competition so he could meet other pilots who were doing this exiting new sport – but now he was hooked on comps as well.
In 1975 Johnny broke the British endurance record for prone flight on a Hiway 260 at Rhossilli and the following year got his first Class 2 glider, a Miles Handley Griffin. He went to Kossen that summer and came 10th in the World Championships. He won the Embassy British Championships at Pickering on another Handley glider, the Gulp. He also, briefly had a biplane hang glider that year but did not get on with in. It was that year a group of pilots, including Johnny, got together under Brian Milton to form the British League. The first league series in 1977 saw Johnny ending up second.
In 1978 he achieved fourth place in the European Championships at Kossen on a Moonraker and later played around with Griffins and the Moyes Maxi. In ’79 he took a Cyclone to the World Championships at Saint Hillarie and finished second behind Josef Guggenmoss of Germany. He also flew it in the US Masters and has a gold medal from the American Cup at Lookout Mountain that year. In 1980 he abandoned Class 1 and flew a Fledge 2 to finish third in the league and win another silver for Britain in the European Championships.
In ‘81 Johnny was persuaded by Rory Carter to fly an Airwave Comet, subsequently renamed the Magic. This Class 1 machine was the break through in performance the hang gliding world had been waiting for. It was also the year Johnny finally became British Champion; he also came 6th in the World Championships in Japan and was the first pilot to fly over 50 miles from Mere. In ’82 he won the British Open on a Magic 2 and in ’83 made 11th place representing Britain at the Tegelberg Worlds;
Johnny won the 1984 World Cross Country Championships and represented Britain in Class 1 for the last time at the ’85 Worlds in Kossen.
Johnny about to take off flying an Easy Riser at Devils Dyke 1978
Photo From Don Liddard
Photo by John Wadsworth and from Steve Pionk