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.

100 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)

    1. Hi there Richard, I flew the Waimanalo Ridge back in the 1975-76 era. My best friend was Bob Wills and after he and his wife Suzette came over from shooting a Special over on Kauai, Bob and I set out to fly the entire ridge line from one side of the island to the other. It was the Morning of November 4, 1975. It took us just over 2 hours and we had traveled 27.6 miles and it was the first WORLD DISTANCE RECORD. We had a great time on that a flight. After that, Bob invited me to come back to Southern California to, at the time, SPORT KITES, then WILLS WING and fly as a competition pilot and also work at the shop building the gliders. I ended up moving off Oahu back in January of 1976 and then competed in the WORLDS LARGEST Hang Gliding match at Escape Country called the HANG TEN WORLD OPEN. When that contest was all over after a week, Wills Wing Team Pilots ended up in 2nd, I got 7th, we had also 8th place as well as 9th place. SO, 4 WILLS WING PILOTS in the top 10 of the best pilots in the world. That was a fun week for Wills Wing. Have a great one. David Vincent Hang gliding since 1969, now 71 years old.

  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’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.

  11. 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,…

  12. 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.

    1. Nelson, I apologize for not responding long before this, life took me on a different journey. My brother was Joe Walsh. I hope that you were able to connect with your friend Joe Klie.
      After reading & catching up I hope you are doing well! Thank you and everyone for adding some great memories!

  13. 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

    1. Yes. I knew Tom. Got my hang four rating from him. Some great stories. Great guy!!

      Just seeing this thread.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

    1. My husband , David Welch,flew there in the mid 70’s and recognizes many names. He has pictures of you, one sporting a broken arm . He lived at the beach house with Ray. He also taught hang gliding there as well. He’s really enjoyed this thread. It’s brought back a lot of great memories. If you send your email he’d gladly send some pictures along.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. I saw 8mm footage of Ed Cesar (I believe) doing outrageous stunts in a standard Rogallo like I’d never seen before. I believe it was in Hawaii back in ’74 or ’75.
      Does any footage that fits that description ring a bell with you?
      I started flying hang gliders in ’74.


      Phil Sergent
      USHPA # 7722
      YouTube posting of early flying at ‘H5-Phil’

  29. 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
    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
    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
    Over mountains
    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”

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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 .

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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 🙂

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. I enjoyed reading these memories, but saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. Ray gave me my first lesson, sold me my first 2 gliders, and launched me on my first Makapu’u flight. The look in his eyes that day as he held my rigging gave me the confidence to launch. Unfortunately, it was quite a different look in his eyes as he lay in the hospital bed a couple of days after his crash that convinced me to quit flying.
    I’m 57 now, and my memory is clouded by time and many years of partying so I don’t remember the names, but I do remember lots of wonderful people. I remember my very first lesson on the beach. I remember a young lady (we were all young then) giving me a paper test at her kitchen table from a little blue book on hang gliding. I remember the hikes up the training hill in the middle of town somewhere. I remember my girlfriend and I immobilizing the lady’s neck after a stall-in at the training hill. I remember my own broken toe (fortunately nothing worse) landing in the pasture at the same hill. I remember that first Makapu’u flight and the emergency landing in the driveway at Ray’s place (fortunately the only damage was to the paint on his landlord’s car) when I found myself 2 blocks behind the beach after a poorly executed turn. I remember some beautiful flights off Makapu’u and uneventful landings as well. I remember the first ever (I think) glider inspection in an attempt to self-regulate (I was so proud of my bright red glider, but inspectors weren’t impressed by how long it had been around and some of the evidence to the fact). I remember a couple of group trips in a rented plane over to Maui to fly Haleakela (thanks to the wonderful host/guide and hostess). I remember one of the other novice pilots throwing in the towel after someone we knew was killed while launching someone. I think that was right on the heels of someone forgetting to hook in. I convinced myself that as long as I had a healthy fear, I would fly safely, but something changed that day I went to see Ray in the hospital.
    I realize I have found this thread long after the fact, but rest in peace, Ray.
    I would love to reminisce if anyone remembers me. I was in the Navy at the time and lived in Makakilo. Scott Painter – scottpainter@yahoo.com

  41. I’m so glad to have found this site! I flew with John Walbert, Harv and Ray in 1973-1974. Those guys taught me how to fly on the dunes on the far north shore, graduated me to Hannah Bannanas and finally off Waimanalo. They helped me build my kite at their Dove shop and treated me like a brother. Jeff Land, you were all over it too! Carl Berman had his tandem kite and John Hughes was big presence as was Bob Patterson. The Lindberg brothers flew every day. Ray was absolutely fearless but unfortunately not indestructible. So many tragedies and so many young men lost. The psychological toll from Vietnam on Harv and Ray was palpable. It was life changing. I left Hawaii for Colorado, finished college and became a lawyer (Just like Dave Bettencourt who flew with all of us). It was the most exciting time of life flying with fearless young men in their semi-flying machines.

  42. Dave Lane,
    A memory from my past. I remember you fondly. I missed you when you left.
    Too bad you chose the dark side for your career path.
    You had a white Ford Fairlane as I recall.
    Man those were the days.
    I wish you well. We were once strong youths. Old men now. Time marches on.

  43. I wish I could capture and distill all the comments above but alas…for many of the names above there will be no answer to that roll call.
    Mike Benson gave me my first Blue Oyster Cult tape….
    Jeff Land…I need to re connect with you! Find me in Sequim, Washington.
    Recall the days in the jungle in Waikiki hanging with Ray, Harvey and John (w/Janet) just off of Nohonani St…..god it was wonderful to be that young and innocent…with flying every day…or surfing….what ever the conditions provided.
    Night flights for sure under the Hula Moon at 1:00am. until……..
    Lots of Dark Side of the moon….
    Yeah..remember that Yahowa incident…
    Russell Smoot you old buggah….
    And Rick Moneverde made his Green Mountain Kite..
    Geeee and there was Gary Claibourne and his wonderful wife but alas his trail
    led him to a fateful landing attempt on a cargo flight in Alaska…
    So many wonderful people brought together by hangliding…
    And the Maui guys..DD of course and a lot of adventures … Jerry Burkert..are you still out there I wonder?
    Jack Klein and I shared the same birthday…Carol…you are a saint.
    Dave Kondret…..I’ll look you up again….
    Camp Olomana…
    Kalapana’s Naturally…the best hang gliding song of all time..still stops me in my tracks…we never fully realize what we are engaged in while we are living it day to day….but holy smokes…..best times of my life for sure..
    The reunion a few years ago was worth the time and trouble but not enough time with everyone that showed up..oh well….
    So much water under the bridge and wind across our wings…
    The last post on this string was so long ago, I wonder if anyone will ever read these words…doesn’t really matter anyway….my memories remain as vivid and real as ever….
    Aloha to all that I crossed paths with and everyone that I shared airspace with.

  44. Reunion…… Did you say Reunion? I wish I had heard about the planning for this event. I live in Calgary Canada and to go to Oahu, is not that difficult, except for convincing my wife to come along. If someone wants to plan another Reunion, in a couple of years, please keep me “in the loop.” Christmas Break or Easter Break would work well for me, except for the demand and expense for Hotels. You know what, I could probably convince my wife to visit Hawaii, in the summer. This might work too. I am going to list a bunch of names and it would be wonderful to see you all again. Starla Stone, Mike & Lani, Jim Hoover, Blythe Coulter are just a few names, for starters and the names of those, I will always remember are Ray Hook, Marilyn Plott, Linda Tracy, Barry Gordon, Steve Rehfeld(sp), Dan Childs, Ed Caesr & Gerry Cox.

  45. Met Tom a week before he died,and yes Malani wrote glider man for Tom. Went to school with the Lindbyrgs,and watched Ray fly many times.We called him crazy Ray.I surfed 2nd reef pipeline,but jump off that cliff,you go.Aloha

  46. Does anyone know where John Hughes is buried? John was flying in 1974 and his seat wasn’t fastened. Can anyone tell me more about this incident?

  47. How fitting to find your post on this Memorial Day weekend. John was not buried. His ashes were spread from the top of Makapu’u by a small group of close friends and family. I held his urn, while a friend played taps on his harmonica. He was my ex-husbands and my best friend. John was strapped into his seat. There is a lot more to this story and legacy. I miss you my friend! Fly High. Aloha Nui Loa Jane

  48. The best man at my wedding in 1968 was Steve Rehfeld. His ex-wife, Jeannie told me that he had died in a hang gliding accident around 1978. Any further info on his death would be appreciated. Also, where might I go to find the PBS movie that he appeared in? Steve and I met in 1966 in LA and became room mates at Humboldt State University (then Humboldt State College) for a year. We lost touch in 1970 when I entered the Army. I have had contact with his ex-wife over the years. She was also a student at HSU and is where she met Steve.

  49. I flew with the early pioneers at Waimanalo, back in 72-74. My roommate was Carl Burman (died on the mountain side today in 74). We both had Will’s Wings and knew Bob Wills well. We all had keys to the many locks that guarded the road to the take off site. Most flyers had the diaper seats as I remember. My last day flying was the day Carl was killed. But I still am in awe of those who dare.
    al wanamaker

  50. Like Rich Jordan, I miss Steve and his partner Blythe C. The time I spent, in Waimanalo is a great memory and for those I “Played” with, above the Green Walls, you make those memories, priceless. I heard about Steve’s misfortune and often wondered what became of Blythe. She was so petite and independent. I wish someone would do a movie on the Waimanalo Life, in the 1970’s. We were getting higher and that’s not just on the Hang Gliders. Waimanalo Da Kine

  51. Carl Burman’s birthday was today.. He would have been around 70 .. I was his little brother in the Big Brothers program…

  52. I used to go to Oahu to fly Makapuu late 70’s, early 80’s and recognize many of the names. I used to land on the beach in front of Ray Hook’s house and leave my glider there. I knew about has accident and his move to Fl. but not about his passing. An old hang glider buddy and I were there in the 90’s, neither of us having flown in a few years. We BS’d our way into a couple of rent-a-gliders from a guy named Jeff and flew for a couple hours. Man….flying Makapuu. I’m 72 and still fly every couple years, make sure I can still do it (so far, so good – no problem actually) and keep saying I’m going to get over there and fly Makapuu again. Every winter (someone) wrecks their LongEZ (Google that) and brings it to me to fix. Next winter.

  53. I was not a member of the Waimanalo flying community in the 70’s, but my best friend, Ed Cesar was, and when I visited the islands for work, he took me off tandem above Waimanalo, what an incredible experience! Not sure the exact year, but early 70’s. He moved to the LA area, and lived with me in Redondo Beach for a time with his girlfriend, Barbara Foster. He taught me to fly, hang gliders first, and then airplanes in his 1967 Mooney out of Compton Airport. He and Barbara founded Syncro Aircraft Interiors at Van Nuys Airport, and I lost touch with them after getting married and moving north to the bay area. Ed died in 2002, http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jun/03/local/me-passings3. RIP Ed.

  54. Ron Coe…… Isn’t Makapuu & Waimanalo a magical place? Did you read all of the entries above? They are magical too. I am forever grateful to Hugh Morton, for starting this link. Many of the people, mentioned above, like Ed, are no longer with us. I met Ed at the 1975 World Snow Kite Championships, in Kimberley BC CANADA, where Ed & Bob Wills put on a display of flying Hang Gliders, second to none. I also met Ed, when I live on Laumilo St, in Waimanalo, in 1977-78. I love hearing the stories of those, inspired & changed, by Waimanalo & Hang Gliding. “Waimanalo Da Kine!”

  55. It was wonderful to read all these old posts about many of my old flying buddies in Hawaii. For some reason, I woke up thinking about Ray Hook this morning. Now I know what happened to him. So ironic, to have survived all he did, only to get killed in his chair.
    I have an old newspaper article about Ray and many other pictures of pilots from 77 to 79.
    Reach me on FB or mike.degtoff@gmail.com

  56. How ABOUT Marilyn Plotter, one of only a few hangglider-girls FroM The 70’s Hawaii hangliding-world ??? Can You give me latest News … came across her Story finding this brilliant web-blog Reg. The good old hanggliding-days of Hawaii … Regards Gerry / UP INTL Austria … MANTA FLEDGE PILOT

  57. I found this blog looking up Ray Hook when writing a post wondering what happened to him… as I also wonder about Lance Carson another friend who flew the yellow Kasperwing in Hard Ticket to Hawaii and had his picture on a calendar flying past the box in flip-flops barefoot… Sad to learn a car killed Ray and he was in a wheel chair but glad to know his pattern of positive energy had another 34 years on this planet in need of more like it. I purchased my Seagull Seahawk through Ray who didn’t make a penny off it. It wasn’t about the money with Ray… he was above it and all the games over it. He just loved life and loved to fly more than anything else.
    He had his accident before my new glider came in and without Ray to set it up excited to test fly it for me there was something missing besides sharing the excitement of a new hang glider with him. Ray was the one I connected with the most as I ignored money and fame others saw as a goal where a hang glider was part of the ticket to get there. My friend Keven got the Pentax commercial and that created quite a ruckus and it took years to become friends with Duff as we were quite different going after the same girls once or twice but in the end one windy day on the ridge brought us together when he saw me land my Oly 2 up top through the rotor behind the box after flying with him. Was another sad day when I learned he was killed on Molokai but if I’ve learned anything it’s what Ray said echoing the laws of cause and effect to know timing is everything and when it’s your time to fit in to the next higher octave level it’s your time to let go of this reality. Ray died just as he said it often happens, unexpectedly in unusual ways. His time in the air and moments surrounding it outweighs most people’s best moments throughout their lifetime and that goes for a lot of pilots back then. But Ray wasn’t fearless… he was confident and I enjoyed his depth of conversation sharing it.
    Anyway was just going a box of belongings that were stolen on June 9, 2009 I never finished going though after I got it back 3 years later (long story) and found a lot of pictures including some majestic photos of Mike Benson flying his “bird kite” and a ton more including some of Ray…. hoping to find the negatives.
    Life repeats itself endlessly and the cycles of time show a contradiction where on one hand the beginning of something like hang gliding or surfing seems to be by far the best time doing it as we speak of our youth and then on the other hand we turn around and say how much better today’s equipment is and where we will build a wave pool or discuss controlling the flow of lava to create a new surf spot to replace what was lost. Life has its ups and downs but overall I think the Beatles’s were right and it’s getting better all the time as information that can never be lost runs in to cause and effect adding knowledge.
    So I must ask after reading some of these posts is “Now” a contradiction if it can go either way, or is Freewill having an effect as a result of cause and effect? I think I know what Pauli would say and I think this proves it (e{a})/t=E. So be careful when you say you are getting old because time might laugh at you for saying it at such a young age compared to the length of time measured in space. Control how you feel to control how you feel and you will see it all makes sense in the shape you put it. Of course no one getting old ever said it was easy so they must be doing something wrong with their basic programming where even a placebo has it’s effect.
    Best wishes and good health to all and remember what they teach in physics regarding the laws of symmetry and say in flight school: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots… but there are no old bold pilots”. So stay young and don’t get scared…. fear and stress can not only kill a person… it can mess up your aim and make you hit a rock which is even worse…;-)

  58. I am interested in a hang glider that may have died in 1978 while hang gliding in Hawaii and flown into an electrical pole or power lines. His parents owned Hughes Donut shops in San Diego California in 1958 and on from that.

  59. To John Hendry: I used to live with Ray Hook, on Laumillo Street. Ray had a great attitude about life and just a few short days, after meeting him, for the first time, I “died” in a Hang Gliding mishap, while training for the 1976 World Hang Gliding Championship, in Kossen Austria. I banged my head and my heart stopped. My helmet was shattered and my heart was broken. I could not represent Canada in the World Championship. In 1977, I moved in with Ray, in his Beach House. Many years went by and while visiting my personal Physician, for my annual physical, it was determined my Mitral Valve, on my heart, was faulty. I had open heart surgery and during the surgery, my diaphragm & liver lacerated. I “died” again. My heart was stopped and I recovered. 1 month ago, it was determined the Mitral Valve repair was not successful and I had to have it fixed again. In 2 months, I am going to “die” again when they stop my heart, for open heart surgery. I tribute Ray Hook for my positive attitude about life and I will comment again, on this blog, in about 3 months. Oh, before I “die,” the next time, I hope to have climbed the “Stairway to Heaven-Hawaii”-Google it!

  60. Hi everyone, this is Nelson Phillips. I don’t know why my last comment came up Anonymous. I did make it to the Haiku Stairs after by passing the Police, parked by the school and the Main Gate barbed wire. I even had an encounter with the Guard, at the base of the Stairs I did not make it to the top of the Stairs and i blame that on the fact I am 65 years old and just had open heart surgery. I am going back in for another open heart surgery, at the end of January ’19. We’ll see how I do on that adventure.

  61. Nelson Phillips you old dog you… Known as the Maiku Muffin Man, You’ll out live us all. Hope your surgery goes well. EZ

  62. EZ Burris…. Nelson Phillips back from my open heart surgery, in only 4 days(Mitral Valve repair, for 2nd time in 8 months) That’s Haiku Muffin Man! I love checking back on this site, just hear the stories of the Waimanlo history & future.

  63. Well, as promised, I did get that super-8 film uploaded to YouTube, although it did take six years. Now when it is my time to fly off into the haze, I can say I have checked it off my list.
    It appears I captured the tandem flight that started this thread on some of that same super-8 footage. Check out 4:12 in my “Hawaii Hang Gliding 1976-1977 : Makapu’u” on YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxjhZY3vQfo ).
    I am surprised how many names I can still connect to gliders. Except for maybe Nelson. There are at least two wings that I know were Canadian, but I can’t make out the faces very well.
    Aloha to all. – Mike Dillon

  64. I had the pleasure of dating Ray Hook for 3 or 4 months while I was in high school on Oahu in 1969-1970. I met him on Waikiki Beach where he taught me tandem surfing. Actually, he did the surfing while I did the acrobatics. Not only was he soooo handsome, he was also a good person and treated me with respect. I moved to Florida in the late 1970’s. He contacted me while he was in a hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. We spoke for quite awhile about his hand gliding accident and reminisced about our short relationship. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. He truly lived life to its fullest!

  65. Geee, folks are still updating this string of thoughts and comments…
    What great times for everyone…sad to think that such times only come around early in a life time as they did so many years ago….almost 50 years ago.
    Jeff Land are out still out there??
    Russell Smoot how about you??
    I am in Sequim, WA…. : jpnurse@comcast.net

  66. I hadn’t checked this site in a few years. On one trip, around 80 I showed up with a brand spanking new, never flown, UP Condor. Ray Hook wouldn’t let me fly until we tested it on the beach in front of his house to see if it flew straight. We hooked a rope to the top of the control bar, I took off as he drug me down the beach. It flew just fine. On that trip there would be at least 20 gliders in the air all the time. Watching Mike Benson’s video’s on Vimeo it looks like 3-4 gliders in the air at the same time is about average these days, lots of paragliders though. I’ll bet Mike is at least pushing 70 and I’ll also bet he’ll still be flying Makapuu when he needs a walker to get to the ramp and his waiting glider.

  67. I have flown in a hang glider once in my life. John Hughes flew me in his tandem seated glider with the Hawaiian print sail off the Koolau cliffs in 1974. Our flight together was just a month or two before the accident in November of that year. I was 20 and I recall John was 28 years old. He flew us off the cliff and an hour later landed us, but in between he let me fly the glider. He was a really nice person and a permanent fixture with his white van at the Makapuu landing site. He lived and breathed hang gliding. I knew he was from Kauai and thought he was buried there. I had no idea his ashes were scattered at the top of the cliff, but makes sense. The story as I recall was that it was an extremely windy day and John was going for an altitude record and possibly land in Hawaii Kai. Back in those days, there was not a launching platform or a wind sock. When he launched, a big gust of wind ripped the stitching on his seat separating him from his kite. He was recovered with his lap belt still attached. His kite was blown back up to the launching area. A very sad event. It wasn’t too long after that that FAA stepped in and began to regulate the site.

    1. Hey Ken,
      Dale here. Just got this chain and glad I read to the end to see your post from about a year ago. I think of you often and good times. And also helping me dis-entangle from 12.ft Hale koa at Hannas at the crash and burn and try again school of hang gliding. I’m grateful to this day! But we go much further back…
      I don’t have a current contact for you. If you get this please send. Thanks!

  68. I remember being up on that ridge watching an episode of Hawaii Five-O being filmed where a hang-gliding pilot took off from the “Box” above Sea Life Park and landed in the ocean after being “shot” in that particular episode. I think I even remember Danno being up there for the filming. Circa 1975. That’s where I developed a desire to learn to hang glide. First lesson – Kitty Hawk, NC. First mountain flight – Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN. Long time ago.

  69. I’ve been in the air since 1974 and I’m still flying. On our honeymoon in 1980, I flew into Fort Funston. Then we were in Honolulu, where I got USHGA-H4 made with Lani Akiona. Years later, I flew in Lake Elsinore, Torrey Pines, Owens Valley, Yosemite Valley, Arizona, Utah, Florida, etc. Does Lani Akiona still exist and how is she?

    1. Aloha Greetings Toni,
      Wow, just came across this site again after many years. Good to hear about your experiences. I am remarried to a wonderful responsible man who taught me ballroom dancing and we have many new friends. Among our hobbies is cruising where we’ve done well over 100 ocean cruises … Paul had to talk me into it and now he can’t keep me off the ships…we go often and have lots of regular friends kinda like hang gliding where it’s a way of life. Be Well, keep in touch,
      Leilani (Lani Akiona) Isa
      BTW I still have the original launch book from when we had ridge monitors. Memories …

  70. After a 45 year hiatus, I just reconnected with Patty Bigelow. Wife of hang glider pilot (and ex USAF jet fighter pilot and Air Micronesia airline pilot) Dave Bigelow. We flew together many times at Makapuu. Dave unfortunately passed in a sailplane accident a number of years ago on the big island.

    And let’s not forget Craig Craw. Aircraft pilot, parachutist with thousand of jumps and then hang gliders. Owner of Life Support Systems Hawaii. Who died with his wife in a helicopter crash off Diamond Head.

    Throwing this out there to add a few names from the past.

    1. Craig Craw was my skydiving instructor in 1970-71. I was stationed at camp Smith and he instructed me and a couple of other Marines in his back yard, jumping off a chair and practicing landings. We jumped at Dillingham air field. He was a great guy. Sorry to hear of his passing.

    1. Jeff,
      Did you recently try to reconnect with me.
      It didn’t sound like you so I was suspicious.
      I have been in contact with Russell, Bob and Mike.
      Let’s try again the reconnect. Contact Russell, Mike or Bob for my information.

    2. Oh Mr.Land, you make me laugh … the ridge monitor was responsible for picking up the key to the gate going up the ridge, checking USHGA card, keeping log of pilots flying, wind direction, velocity, conditions, date, etc. and often launching them … then locking gate up when leaving. I guess it satisfied landowners after a rash of incidents. It’s a whole history book. Hey Mike Dillon, cute comment.

  71. Can anyone tell me what ever happened to Steve Leder, a well known hang glider in Kailua during the 70’s?

  72. My name is Mike Waggoner and I first met the Dove hang glider crew at a ground skimming spot where the current Keolu drive intersects with Kalinianiole highway. This had to be in early 1973 and I was 13 years old. Jon Walbert, Harvey Baumgartner, Ray Hook, Kitty and Pat took me under their wings so to speak. I expressed an interest in building a hang glider and they agreed to help me. My payment was to be 75 dollars and a belt sander which I got from the original Hardware Hawaii in Kailua. I remember one of them had an old US Mail truck and that was the vehicle we mostly cruised around in. We went to Jackass ginger in Nuuanu valley to procure the bamboo. At this time some of the crew were living in a cottage off of the Ala Wai canal in Waikiki with a cat named Agua (sp)? They even made Agua a small kite and I remember going up the stairwell to the roof of an adjacent hi rise and the cat was strapped in and launched out towards the canal. It landed on the other side of the canal and didn’t make it back home until two weeks later. The cottage is where most of the work was done on my 14’ rogallo and I would take theBus from my home in Olomana into Waikiki on the weekends. Kitty sewed the sail, Ray and Jon helped me rig the kite with stainless steel bolts, wire and turnbuckles. They took me along on some of their adventures, to the sand dunes in Kahuku, to the ridge above Makapuu, to a secret spot above Iahu country club where Ray test flew the “swing wing” a kite where he could adjust the leading edges on either side and on this flight the right leading edge was “in”the left got stuck “out” and he spiraled endlessly the entire flight landing on one of the greens of the golf course below. My kite was finished and I started flying at the ground skimming spot, Kahuku and Dorns hill. Hannah Bananas at the entrance to Kailua town was a happening spot and that’s where I met Ed Cesar and Byron Akiona who did the launching duties for a Hawaii Five-O episode filmed up on the box on top of Makapuu. Byron and his brother had an Icarus wing kite which was quite unusual compared to the rogallos of the day. I eventually flew off of Hannah Bananas in April of 1974 and on landing I broke my left femur in half. All the guys assisted me, helping the firefighters carry me out to the ambulance. I ended up in traction at Castle Hospital for seven weeks and the Dove guys came to my hospital room in late April to help me celebrate my birthday. I’ll always remember that. I once asked Harvey and Jon where they got the name Dove and they replied it was in honor of Robin Lee Graham who sailed his sailboat Dove solo around the world a few years prior setting a record for the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Ironic that in 2020 I met Robin as he is the cousin of my wife. Lots of good memories and stories. I feel fortunate that these “older guys” took a liking to me being I was at least ten years younger than them.

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