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.

75 thoughts on “Hang gliding, circa January 1978.

  1. 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?

  2. To emackemack: Check the older comments. You recognize some the people and they can help you.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!”

  11. 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

  12. 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


  13. 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…;-)


  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. I flew there in the 1970 with my friend Burke Ewing and his dog Curtis. You should have seen Curtis he would bark and run around and almost jump off the mountain if Burke left him on top. He loved to fly with Burke. I had a Kestrel B glider and then got a Sirocco C later on. but my first glider…..well I built it and learned on it on small local hills in my area. Oh yeah it had a 6mm black plastic sail taped on with double sided tape. I learned of that glider. Later I ordered a dacron sail for it and flew another year before ordering the Kestrel. Those were the days! ! !.

  24. By the way this place sure looks like Grandfather Mt. as the 1500 for side is on the right of the parking lot as you are facing toward the valley. the 950 foot side is across the mile high swinging bridge. You would fly across the bridge when the wind was blowing the other way ( I don’t remember the direction) but the other side was the 1500 ft. side and it faced NW. This was the side I liked. I had a 25 mile flight to the right one day. I would have gone farther but It was getting dark and I wanted my chase people to be able to find me as I landed in a couples yard right beside a road. Just as I was finishing putting my glider in the bag they showed up. It was almost dark and the people whose yard I landed in just wondered where I came from as their yard about 1 mile from the mountain.

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