A group of hang gliding enthusiasts from California got together and organised what became known as the 'Otto Lilienthal Anniversary Hang Glider Meeting'.(to celebrate Otto's 123rd birthday) The event took place on the 23rd May 1971 and attracted well over fifty pilots from all over America. It was held in the city of Newport Beach
on a hill above Crona Del Mar, California. Here's a Google map centered on
the approximate location (now covered with urban sprawl).You can orient the meet location on the map from the location of the
reservoir to the NW in the video.
Taras Kiceniuk flying his 'Batso' black plastic covered
Rogallo wing held the duration record that day. Although Ton Dickensons name has also been mention by others, as he managed to stay aloft in free flight for a quarter of a minute, covering a distance of over 300ft. All flyers received a 'Participants Certificate'. to see Larry Dighera's please click here.
The event really caught the public‘s imagination and is sometimes regarded by many as the starting point of hang gliding as we know it today. (This is certainly the American view but it is more accurately the end of the old type of hang gliding.)
The following original 16mm film was taken by Larry Dighera's Father George and later Bill Liscomb was commissioned to digitise it. Larry has given me permission to use the video and has also helped with these details. He is the pilot
(in the orange and navy polo shirt) of the red, white, and blue Hang
Bill Liscomb seems to have found some additional motion picture
footage of the event and has included it in his latest documentary 'Big Blue Sky', and also does an excellent job of documenting
the very early, pre May 23, 1971 pioneers in the USA.
Big Blue Sky youtube trailer, or visit Bills website specially set up for this video.