British Hang Gliding History

British Hang Gliding History

The British Hang Gliding History website has moved to a new home in the UK. Needless to say, things are a bit chaotic at the moment, as we try to make sure everything has arrived safely and nothing has been lost on the way. Once that task is complete, we will then give the website a bit of a facelift.

Whilst the layout of the vast majority of pages currently remains unchanged, you will find the home page and a few other pages have a different layout. This revised layout is a work in progress, and there may be further changes before it is slowly adopted throughout the website. As well as refreshing the look of the website, the new layout will include a bottom menu to make site navigation a bit easier. The new layout will also be more flexible to help ensure greater compatibility across a wide range of devices, such as the Galaxy S9, iPhone 6/7/8, and the majority of tablets.

This is a large website, so I'm afraid this is all going to take some time to complete. In the meantime, please bare with us if you find some pages don't look quite right, it will all come together in the end, and hopefully make the website more user friendly.

Free E-books

'Correcting History'
Who invented the modern hang glider

'Correcting History' Who Invented The Modern Hang Glider
The Golden Years
1971 to 1981

British Hang Gliding History - the Golden Years 1971 to 1981

Profile of Terry Aspinall
the e-book author, and creator of this website
Profile of the author, Terry Aspinall
First published in the April 2010 issue of Skywings

John Clarke's book of funny hang gliding stories
'Dunge Bottom'
Youtube Preview

This Website

Other Websites

How and when the Hang Glider arrived in the United Kingdom

The Golden Years 1971 to 1981

Hang gliding started in the 1890’s, in Germany. Over the following decades many hang gliders were designed, built and flown with varying degrees of success. It was not until the 1970’s that you could go to a hang glider manufacturer and buy a hang glider, off the shelf. This opened the pursuit of free flight to the many thousands of people who wanted to fly like a bird, but were not able to because designing and building an aircraft was beyond their capabilities.

This new industry resulted from the success of one particular aircraft, the hang glider first built by John Dickenson in Grafton, Australia and first flown by Mr Rod Fuller, at Grafton, on the 8th of September 1963.

The simplicity of the design made it very easy to copy, easy to build, and easy to fly. While at the very beginning most hang gliders were home built, hang glider manufacturing had started in 1966 in Sydney Australia, and by 1973 there were five manufacturers in United Kingdom.

While other types of hang gliders were, and have always been built, it was the success of John Dickenson’s wing that produced the explosion of hang gliding popularity right around the world, that lead to the establishment of hang gliding manufacturing businesses all over the world, which then made possible the modern sport of hang gliding.

It took eight years for the first Dickenson Type hang glider to appear in the United Kingdom. This was towards the end of 1971. However, its first flight did not take place until early March 1972. It is believed that there were as many as ten independent groups around the country all trying to get their hang gliders into the air, while not knowing of the existence of the others.

Geoff McBroom was the first person in the United Kingdom to fly a hang glider during early March 1972, although he had finished its construction during late December 1971. Bad weather conditions in December and a long Christmas holiday during January, delayed its first test flight for a few weeks. During 1972 eleven other people around the country also flew their own home built gliders.

It is estimated that by 1976 there were over 3,000 pilots in the United Kingdom. Many changes have been made to the Dickenson type glider in the decades since it first flew. Many people contributed to its further development, but the original design can still be observed in the majority of hang gliders built and flown today.


The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

This website was originally created by Terry Aspinall
and is now maintained and operated by the
British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association


Contributions for this website are always welcome. If you would like us to include any additional information or material, or any of your photos or videos, please contact Paul Dancey


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All the material on this website is subject to copyright, and may only be reproduced with the written permission of the original copyright holder