Hang gliding, circa January 1978.

Hang gliding, circa January 1978.

A hang glider with two passengers sets off from a platform above an unidentified location. The processing date on the Kodachrome slide is January, 1978.

44 thoughts on “Hang gliding, circa January 1978.

  1. I found some black-and-white 35mm negatives in the collection dated 1978 and labeled “Hawaii Hang Gliding.” This looks like Hawaii to me!

  2. The location of that picture is on the island of Oahu, “Windward Side”. The area they are launching from is called “The Box” and is almost directly over Sea Life Park in an area called Makapu’u Point. The cliff is over 1,300′ of almost sheer vertical.
    There was a short HBO movie about hang gliding shot there back in the late 70’s early 80’s. In fact one of the stars of that movie was killed doing aerobatics on that spot shortly after the movie wrapped. His glider drifted back into the cliff as he was doing loops and ‘wing overs’.
    (I lived there during that time and flew that spot. It was, and hopefully still is, controlled by the Hawaii Hang Gliding Association. The only access was through a locked gate and long enough drive to dissuade hikers)

  3. Boy, sorry I did not notice this post back in December! I was there and probably took this picture.

    The Tar Heels played in a basketball tournament in Hawaii over Christmas 1978. I was a student at Chapel Hill and told my folks what a I wanted for Christmas was a plane ticket to Hawaii. Daddy had tickets for me, my brother Jim, my Mom and himself within five minutes.

    A hang glider pilot named Barry Gordon (who had competed in Grandfather Mountain’s Masters of Hang Gliding) and his lady, Linda, met us at the airport with beautiful leas they had made themselves. We spent a good part of our trip at Makapu’u Point watching them fly (along with one memorable evening dining at their tree house in a papaya orchard tucked under the “green wall.”)

    I can not remember the name of the tandem pilot…but Barry said he was the best in the islands. On our last day there, about two hours before we needed to leave for the airport, Barry and Linda pulled me to the side and started suiting me up for a tandem flight off Makapu’u Point.

    Now, to be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy the sensation of flight. I was hot for hang glider pilots…not for the hang gliding itself.

    But Barry and Linda could think of no greater gift to give me, and at the time they were just trying to keep my parents from figuring out what they were doing until I was already off the cliff. However, Daddy did notice and starting asking lots of questions about whether it was safe, etc., etc.

    When I heard the words, “is it safe enough for me,” I started taking off the harness and helmet and handed them over to him.

    Daddy flew for about an hour. We were very concerned that we were going to miss our plane because we could not get them to land.

    This was his first flight in a hang glider but, of course, not his only flight. He flew tandem off Grandfather with Burke Ewing a summer or two later … and he flew solo at Kitty Hawk under the tutelage of John Harris.

    Anyway, a very memorable vacation and I hope you find the rest of the negatives.

  4. Catherine, the pilot giving your dad his first flight is my dad, Mike Miller, who was very good friends Barry and Linda. What a trip!!

  5. Did any of you know a Tom Rohen, 22 years old,originally from Michigan, who was killed on Wednesday, April 28, 1976 hang gliding near Makapuu? He was a good friend and I am trying to locate where he was buried in Michigan. Thank you for any help. -Cari Ahlquist

  6. There are two Morton hang gliding photos of John Harris of Kitty Hawk flying off Grandfather Mountain, in the September, 1974 issue of the “State Magazine.” The images are on page 9.

  7. I visited(1976 & 1980) and lived(1977 & 1978) in Waimanalo Hawaii… as a matter of fact, that’s my beach house(with Ray Hook) just to the left of these hang gliders feet, in the above photo. My name is nelsonphillips@shaw.ca and I just wanted to comment that my Hang Gliding experiences, at Makapuu Point and Waimanalo are always brought back to me when I watch DOG, The Bounty Hunter, because many times DOG finds himself in Waimanalo. Barry Gordon & Linda Tracy were good friends of mine too. I would like to say “Hi” to them and Mike B, Lani A, Marilyn, Starla, Ray, Jim H. & Dan C.(deceased in plane crash but never forgotten) Hang gliding @ Makapuu is “Da Kine” Look up this Hawaiian phase and you will use it only when you think of Waimanalo & Makapuu, because NOTHING compares!!

  8. My brother Joe lived in a beach house in Waimanalo and was also friends with Ray Hook. Ray took me hang gliding a few times. Thank you to whoever took the photo…I was able to share one of the most exciting things I have ever done. I had told them about it, but seeing it was better….doing it…. priceless!

  9. 12/7/2008 Checking out “Bing”today at first I thought San Diego then I noticed the memorial and knew it was Ohau, and immediately I thought of Tom Rohen. I‘m sad today to think about loosing him and it’s been so many years. I was there the week before his accident. Tim Gladieux and I helped launch him from “the box”. It was incredible. Wish I knew how to post photos. I have some from that trip. He was planning on moving to Northern California; we were to pick him up at the air port. We called the night before and couldn’t reach him, so we called the hotel where he worked and were asked how to get in touch with his family–they would not tell us what happened. His mother called us back shortly and told us Tom had had a fatal gliding accident. We were in shock. Tim flew back to Michigan for his funeral. I couldn’t afford to.

    He was the best water skier of the Lake Erie Rough Rider Ski Club. I think his sister Marilyn is still alive. She also was an excellent water skier. Tim was good too, and I was fair.

    Cari Ahlquist posted she “is trying to locate where Tom was burried in Michigan on April 28, 19763. I image it may be where we grew up in LaSalle, or Monroe, or Toledo, Ohio which is close. Tim Gladieux can be reached through V. Gladieux Food Servies in Toledo, leave a message with his secretary your looking for info. on Tom Rohen.

    Tom was an amazing man. I loved being with him–he knew how to have fun!

  10. I am Tom Rohen’s sister Jeanne, and I would love to hear from anyone who knew Tom while he lived in Hawaii (jmbrex@gmail.com).

  11. I’m Tom’s sister Marilyn. I would love to have some pictures of Tom in Hawaii.Tom was laid to rest at Calvary cemetary in Toledo Ohio.

  12. Barry Gordon here. What memories! My email is roadmastersbs@aol.com for anyone wishing to chat per any of the above. I am still in touch with a few of the remaining ‘old school’ hang glider pilots in Hawaii and will see what they can come up with in terms of photos. To have flown and lived in Waimanalo is to have lived a dream. We were all blessed,… and knew it. Aloha to all,…

  13. This note is to “Anne” above, who on August 16, 2009(my 55th birthday) posted a note that “My brother Joe lived in a beach house in Waimanalo and was also friends with Ray Hook.” Was your brother Joe Klie? If so, is there any chance you can connect the two of us, as It was me who invited Joe Klie to the Islands and to stay with Ray & I. I’d love to hear from Joe.

  14. Does anyone remember Thomas Mayer who was a HG pilot late 70s early 80s.He died in June at Crestline CA doing acrobatics.Please contact me

  15. Does anyone know how to get in contact with Ray Hook? I knew him in the mid 70’s when he was with Dove Hang Gliders. Jon Walburg, Harvey Baumgarter (sp) Kitty Mc Millan, et al. What a wild and crazy guy Ray was. I have fond memories of him saying “I know I am going to blow over” and then damn if he did not blow over on launch.

    Steve Leder was the man with the dual glider when I was there.

  16. Regarding Tom and his death, I must have known him but my tired and worn mind won’t let me remember. There were many many deaths is those days. Too many. A guy named Yahowah (sp) was the most notorious. He had never flown a day in his life until he flew off the Makapuu cliff. He died on impact at the Waimanalo Beach Park I believe. His band of followers took him home and kept his body until the police came and took it away.

    I enjoyed many HHG parties particularly the ones at Camp Waimanalo. A stable I think it was.

  17. To Jeff Land……..
    I am the Canadian Hang Glider Pilot that used to live with Ray Hook, on Laumilo St in Waimanalo. Ray was “One wild and crazy guy” Do you remember him doing the BVD underwear commercial, on a Hang glider, in May of ’76? I recently, went to Oahu, for a vacation, with my family and checked in, with some of the pilots, Old & New, and none of them knew where to find Ray Hook. Ray was one of my best friends, ever, and I really wish I could make contact, to tell him how he left me with GREAT memories. Jeff, if you find him, please get back to me.
    Nelson Phillips

  18. Just read this stuff …. Jeff Land? I used to have a Jeff Land seat but never met U … I didn’t start flying till ’75, quit around 2000 with few flights in those last few years. U made a swing seat … I gave it to Bill Harris many many moons ago. We took Hugh Morton tandem … Mike Benson with Tradewinds Hang Gliding (our school) was the pilot, Linda and Barry were there and a few others. Can’t remember if I launched them or not but usually that was the case. Then we all went to an Asian style restaurant afterwards in Waikiki for dinner … it was a good memory. Lani I. (a.k.a. Lani A.)

  19. Lani A., thanks for the comment. And, for the memories that your comments brought back.

    Is that Doctor Bill Harris that worked at Kaiser Hospital? I remember Mike Benson as well.

    How come I never met you? I was there and flew until late 1976. Maybe I did and my memory is failing me.

    Yes, it was me that made the swing seat. I worked at a company named Life Support Systems (Craig Craw’s place) and made seats in my spare time.

    Thanks again for the comments.

  20. Lani A
    How are you!! Remember me? I made that spectacular landing, between two cars, at Sea Life Park, after my glider bag off. You hugged me on landing and then I ran across the road and climbed the cliff, in order to find the bag. Someone thought you and I had a fight & I was climbing the cliff to “end it all” The Police arrived and met me as I climbed off the cliff, with my bag. A terrible misunderstanding, by the spectator, but always a funny memory, in retrospect. I will never forget you, Lani A and the great experiences you and Mike offered me, when I lived with Ray Hook in Waimanalo.

  21. Hi all, Don’t know how I found this thread but it’s great hearing some old friends. I too had a Jeff Land seat with my Piliable Moose, Lindberg Star Ship and Cumulus! Lived at Camp Olomana along with the Lindberg Bros., Linda and Barry, Steve Rehfield, Thom Veer and others. I still fly Makapuu on a daily basis and often fly from Makapuu to the Kahuku sand dunes, where most of us learned! Used to hang with Ray Hook, Nelson Phillips, Dudley Mead, the Lindbergs, Lani Akiona, Danny Childs….Good times!

  22. Great reading of HG adventures ocurring after I left Oahu. I was fortunate in knowing some of the Waimanalo pioneers. I tandemed with Bob Wills in 1972 and Carl Burman, who was killed there a week or two later. Ed Caser was an ardent flier at that time. My good friend Marilyn Plottt was one of the few female pilots at that time. She had three accidents/surgeries, the last involving paraplegia. She wrote me of her struggles with the reality of no more flights and wanted help in ending her life. Does anyone remember these people…Bob, Carl & Ed all deceased.
    Terry Dickinson Michel

  23. I was with Marilyn when she had her last accident. It was just a soft landing in the sand but as I recall she pulled her feet up and landed on her ass. I think it broke her back. What a tragedy.

    I knew Ed Cesar well. I met Bob but am having trouble remembering Carl. My mind is not what it was back then.

  24. Ray Hook took me hang gliding tandem twice off the box back in the late 70’s. I was visiting with some of the Santa Barbara Hang Gliding Association’s members and we stayed with a couple, Steve and Blythe, fellow pilots but I can’t recall their last names.

    My experience flying with Ray was by far one of the most amazing, memorable, thrilling times of my entire life. I was only in my late teens, and now am 53-I will never forget an Albatross flying along out wing tips, him telling me how to operate the control bar, and the serenity of the still air soaring above the lush, green Hawaiin hill tops. When it came time to land, I recall him telling me to start running just as soon as it seems as if the ground was approaching us. We had good landings and take offs, and I was heart broken to later learn he had passed away sometime upon my return back to Santa Barbara. RIP Ray Hook. You made some memories like no others.

  25. Karen & Terry……… Steve Rehfeld & Blythe Coulter were the couple I believe you are talking about. They lived in the jungle at Camp Olamana when I lived in the beach house, with Ray Hook. Marilyn Plott…… what a shock, I didn’t know about her last accident and how she dealt with it. So sad…… I have a great memory of her and I, on “Hana’s Banana’s” mushrooms, but that’s for another day. Bob Wills and Ed Caesar, I flew with, in Canada, at the 1975 World Snow Kite Championship. I knew about Bob’s passing but not Ed’s. I too don’t remember Carl. This too is the first time I’ve heard about Ray’s passing. I had the best time of my life, up to that point in time, with Ray Hook.

  26. 1978 @ Waimanalo was heaven of Earth. Any chance you can show off the negatives, somewhere on the internet so we can give you information as to the pilots identities and the exact location? Contact me at nelsonphillips@shaw.ca

  27. Hi again, yes, jungle it was, staying with Steve and Blythe…Oahu, Rabbit Island and The Box-wild grown bananas, lots and lots of sugar eating ants in the cabin, David Lowe and I in a tent infested with all sorts of interesting insects-it was a time to relish, to say the least. But of all the fondest of times and memories, were of Ray Hook and his time with me taking me, a 19 year old fresh and elated wonder of a teen, up tandem-then, upon our return some time passed, and we learned of his launch demise. So glad he has touched so many and may he soar in solitude-best-Karen

  28. The things you find while browsing aimlessly on the Internet. As part of that whole Makapuu scene in the 70s, I enjoyed reading these random posts. I suppose it is better to leave no impression after hundreds of hours of ridge time than to be remembered for doing something stupid ( guilty of both!). Enjoyed reuinitung with several old timers this summer at Makapuu. Chased Jack Klein to Alaska in 1979. Still together. Thom Veer currently lives with us, and Russell Smoot is our airplane mechanic. On Facebook intermittently (carol.from.alaska) if anyone is interested.

  29. Hang gliding in Hawaii during the 70’s was a magical time. There will never be anything that can compare to the friends and adventures I had then. Hanging out at Ray’s, Lance’s big salt water aquarium, hiking gliders up Dillingham, Waianae, Diamond Head, & Kaena Pt (FAA called about that one), Mariner’s Ridge, getting past the gates at Nanakuli, going over the back to Koko Head, buzzing tourists at the Pali lookout. Flying over under and around the clouds. Camping out in the Icarus trailer on top of the Makapuu ridge. My first outlaw launch at the Cactus. Frodo and the Lindburgs. Pulling my kite from the trees in Kailua. Ms Carol “Feldspar” (wow, nice phenocrysts!) will remember going up the trail those many mornings in the dark at Hanna’s to get a few flights in at sunrise before Lester showed up to check on the cows.

    I can still recall most of the names (too many to list), and the gliders. I returned to the mainland in 1979 and for a few years, ran into a lot of familiar faces in my travels. One of the last things I did before leaving was visit Marilyn in the hospital after her Maui crash. Then later on I learned of Ray’s accident and heard his father had come to take him to Florida, and Lani sent me the news clipping about Steve R. Its sad to think of all the friends who are no longer with us, Dave B, Beto M, Duff K, Buzzy T, Tom M, Rick M, Kevin G, and the original Jon Walbert.

    I brought Steve & Blythe’s Olomana #1, the Iolani, back with me and flew it until it was stolen off the top of my truck in 1981 at Lake Wilson in Kansas. Of all the gliders I’ve flown, it was the most fun.

    It would be great to revisit the old scene, but alas, its like a Beatles reunion. Time marches on. I’ve got some old 8mm film that I converted to digital almost ten years ago. Hopefully I will get it uploaded to youtube before I fly off into the haze. And the stories, I know there are enough to fill a book, but is there time to write it all down, or should I even try? The memories are what memories should be…. good ones.

    Que up Kalapana’s Naturally and to those of you who find this and remember me, Aloha.

  30. For those of you that have never heard the the song “Naturally” by Kalapana, it has to be one of the greatest songs to fly to. Here are the words……

    Glider man over land he’s soaring
    Life below, could he know
    He’s flying over my lorry here
    Natural high makes him sigh to know that he’s so free
    And he’s smiling, down at me

    For the mountains
    Naturally

    You watched the birds without a word and you wonder
    (you watched the birds without a word and you wonder)
    Could such a load have a hold
    Amazed you sit and wonder
    You wait for the winds to give an assuring hopeful kind of a sign
    And sail into the heavens of your mind

    But he’s flying
    Naturally (oh yeah)
    Over Oceans
    Naturally

    God’s airborne here
    You’d be (you’d be)
    In his blue

    One with broken wings is gone forever
    He’s left a gold for your soul
    That you should remember
    The ultimate that he earned didn’t take too long
    The limits that he reached are dead and gone

    But he’s flying Naturally (oh yeah)
    for the mountains
    Naturally (Heeeee)
    Over oceans
    Naturally
    Over mountains
    Naturally
    Over hillsides
    Naturally (Heeee)
    Heeee (to fade)

    For many of us who flew in the early years of Hang Gliding, we all have memories of those ……………… flying “Naturally”

  31. For those who said Ray passed some time ago you are wrong. He survived his hang glider accident and moved back to Florida with his parents (my grand parents). I am his only niece, from his brother John, and did not get to know him till after hr moved back. I am sad to report that as of this morning Uncle Ray was struck by a car while crossing a busy highway in his wheelchair. I ran across this blog searching for pictures of him. If any of you people would like to share storys and pictures of Uncle Ray with me my email address is bassmusicangel@yahoo.com. As it stands right now I do not think there will be a service my dad didnt seem like he (Ray) wanted one but, from the stories I see on here I think Ray woulf love his ashes spread from the “box”. Thank you in advance for any contact and shared memories

  32. If you have read my notes, above, you know how I feel about Ray Hook. Ray was a good man. Ray will never be forgotten. Ray & “Brown Dog”…… what a great pair.

  33. Nelson, Did you know that Kalapana penned “Naturally” after meeting the Lindberg Bros. in the LZ and talking with them about hang gliding? It is a BEAUTIFUL song … thx also to John & Guy.
    I enjoy reading everyone’s comments … it brings back so many memories … except for the WONDERFUL, EXHILIRATING, HIGH ADRENALINE, AMAZING 2,000 hours I spent flying mostly at Makapu one of the most difficult tasks assigned to me as a USHGA Examiner was to compile an historical accident report for Hawaii – when I finished I sent it in and did not keep a copy.
    We are truly blessed for the time we have here together…enjoy
    everyday and dance like no one is looking.

  34. Thanks for the words of the song “naturally”.
    I listened to it and cried a little thinking about Tom M,with his broken wings.
    He is still flying.
    Enjoy every minute and everyday .
    Sylvie

  35. I lived on Laumilo street with Anne brother Joe Waslh the Gm of Dove hangliders who was married to Naomi a local lovely. I met Ray hook,Harvey Baumgartner and the other two partners through Joe who had met them through Chuck and Bunny Raunenhurst cousins of Harvey.These guys were all sky surfers arguing with girlfriends over the fact that no money was combining in except through the gals waitress jobs.They were all just interested in jumping off higher peaks ..you know Diamond head they were first.The police would always tell them no more. They were ecstatic to discover Makapuu ridge. There was nolockat the time .People were hurt and died.We would go down at night to watch the firefighters locate someone that crashed.Yes they would fly at night.Everyone was young and lacking ..well common sense.They would study wind patterns before flying and then jump. I believe a young girl under eighteen broke her back and that is when the lock went on the gate.Could still fly,but not without insurance and training. Young guys never think of the danger only old guys.Ray hook was a Vietnam vet and helicopter pilot,I asked how he learned to fly a helicopter.They just told to get in fly.no instructions about gages.If it didn’t fly so….Kitty I met a few times ,once while she was flying gliders for free to get her pilots license.I went up with her.let’s do some loops Carl.Boo I never jumped total flat lander.They guru who jumped I saw him up on the ridge..the guys were trying to talk him into a free tandem jump or lessons.He wouldn’t listen. I had a roommate in Lanikai years later.he was from I believe Colorado.He came home stoked that he was going to be in Magnum Pi.So I turned to YouTube typed in Magnum Pi hanglider and there was the film clip from the episode.The guy jumping is the roommate not the two actors.Check it out.Just beautiful..well kto my memories of Waimanalo and the pioneer Sky surfers.

  36. Ps sorry to the Walsh clan for misspelling their name. Also go to Google earth type in Sea life Park.You can literally go to the top of the ridge behind the park,there is an hanglider on the ridge. Many days watching crash landings into the ocean at Makapuu beach.They stationed a surfer to spot them as they landed in the water …to hold one side of the glider up while trying to unhook or sink.Finally figured out a strong enough quick release hook.Oh well..Joe passed away a few back also.I get everyone’s remembrances.Mahalo.

  37. To Angela & family: I am sorry to hear of Ray’s passing. He was a sweetiepie and I am grateful that he shared his love of hang gliding with me :) and many others.
    To Carl, It was very nice to see your note. I hope all is well with you. If you have the time & would like to catch up my e-mail is a-nicola@comcast.net I was talking to Loretta tonight & told her I saw your note & she said to say hi too :)

  38. Has been a really interesting 20 minutes reading all the comments. I flew hangliders at 16 from 81 till 87 in NZ. I had a poster as a kid of a guy bare foot bare chested flying seated at waimanalo I thought it was the coolest freaking thing ever. That and a book by an Australian called glen Woodward were my inspiration. Haven’t flown in many! But love to read about the old days. Waimanalo 1970s man wish I coulda been there

  39. It with a heavy heart and teary eyes that I just learned of my ex Hawaiian hangglider pilot and friend (I don’t have many) Jack Klein. He called and begged me to attend a reunion of early hang glider pilots and I failed to show up. Shame, shame on me. I had not seen the man is thirty plus years, and for reasons best left unstated, did not take the time to join him. I am left with grief beyond reason.

    Carol Klein, I wish you well and good health. I am so sorry.

  40. This is to Mike Benson. I still laugh whenever I think about the blind date I went on, to the George Benson concert, at the NBC Concert Hall. I told you about it and you said you didn’t know your cousin was coming to Honolulu. You sucked me right in because I didn’t know who George Benson was, at the time. It was so cool to know someone, related to someone, so famous. Little did I know George Benson was BLACK and you were whiter than the sand at Waimanalo Golf Course. It turned out to be one of the greatest concerts I had ever been to. Mike, I have a friend going to Honolulu, in September. Do you need a driver, to the top of Makapuu? Maybe they would like to see the island from 1000 feet above Waimanalo beach or hang off the that same cliff as they launch you, Get back to me at nelsonphillips@shaw.ca and we can communicate contact info for them, when they arrive. They will be there for 1 month.

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