Sunday, September 28, 2008

Proving the past

There has been a bit of contestation, in recent times, about the question of whether or not John Dickenson's wing, demonstrated at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival in 1963, was an authentic precursor of modern hang gliders. An obvious but risky way of handling these doubts consists of rebuilding a Dickenson wing, to strict specifications (observed by the master himself), and seeing how it behaves. It would have been appropriate if this experimentation could have been carried out, say, in Grafton, New South Wales, on the banks of the Clarence. But that kind of imagination is missing, these days, in my birthplace. So, it's an English hang-gliding specialist, Mark Woodhams, who's determined to perform the simple but much-awaited research.

[Click the photo to access the Dickenson website.]

The current world trip of John Dickenson and Tricia is a little like a revival of a beloved and respected pop-music group. In a way that is not yet possible with current gliders (not even FusionMan), Dickenson is stepping around the planet from one friendly free-flight zone to another. Meanwhile, John and his historic wing are being followed through the air by a tracking device called the Internet.

1 comment:

  1. Item about John Dickenson on page 9 of 8apr09 issue of The Manly Daily will interest you.
    All the best,