John Cardiff


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An article appeared in the British 'Sailplane & Gliding' magazine during August and September 1972. Giving details of a conventional gliding meet that took place at Nympsfield from June 10th to the 18th 1972. At the end of the article it mentions that John Cardiff under took a demonstration flight on a hang glider that lasted 30 seconds. This June flight places John in the list of first time flyers that first year at approximately number seven. John describes the flight as like flying a wheel burrow. This article is very important as its the first flight in the UK that can be verified by a date.


An article by Sarah Hough that was published in the Dunstable Gazette 27th October 1972.

It mentions that the 'London Gliding Club' that was based at Dunstable and that John was one of its instructors, and flying on a regular basis around October.


The following is an E-mail from John 17th February 2014


Hi Terry
Here are a couple of clips out of Sailplane and Gliding for 1972.
I was flying in a gliding competition at Nympsfield in June 1972 and was lucky enough to meet Geoff McBroom and Les Hocking. Geoff told me about his hang gliding and let me have a go in his. Absolutely wonderful feeling of floating down the field and nosing in at the bottom (none of us knew how to flare at that time)! (Notice at the end of the S&G article I declared the flying the HG was like flying a wheel barrow!)  :-)

I bought one straight away and when it arrived did some glides down the back of Ivinghoe Beacon which is 2 miles West of Dunstable Downs. There was a problem with the sail which made it nose down more and more with a speed increase. It looked to me that the fabric seam on the trailing edge acted like a little elevator; so I cut it off! That cured it, and I got braver with the flying, taking off from higher places. One memorable flight was at Marlborough but I just can’t remember exactly where. I know the glide seemed to go forever and ever - wonderful! 

I also had a soaring flight on Dunstable Downs and intended to stay up a long time, but after 10 minutes was so knackered controlling it; the lack of top wires meant that when trying to roll, it needed massive effort and nothing happened for ages.
When Geoff heard about the sail he insisted on giving me a new one. 

I made the mistake of not test flying the new one first before trying another soaring flight. The wind was perfect but a warm front was approaching so we had to be quick. Justin Wills turned up with a very flimsy looking cellophane homemade thing, but he very kindly help me to take-off first. As soon as I got airborne I realised the trim was wrong. I had the bar in my gut but couldn’t get the nose down. I tried to get Justin to grab my feet to get down again but was too high. Quite soon it gradually turned and nosed in, downwind on the hill - luckily no injury. By then it had started to drizzle so Justin didn’t fly either. 

The next day I was off to Australia to work on a film. I was away for six months and when I returned to England, everything had changed - there were too many rules :).  So I sold the glider. The next HG was a Solar Wings - years later.


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