If you have ever been a member of the Norfolk Hang (and Para) Gliding Club, and feel you Have something to contribute, Please don't be shy. Go to the JOIN UP page, to create an account. Don't worry about code or anything. Put your content where you feel best suited. I can always tidy it up later for you.

If you would rather email me direct then pleasemoc.liamg|ttehclihp#!em liame

This is an attempt to document the history of NORFOLK HANG GLIDING CLUB.
Started in dec 2006 it is assumed that it will take a fair while to get some interesting material within these pages

Cos its important! Hang gliding activities in East Anglia have been going on for over 30 years. It will continue one way or another for many years to come. Now is the time to get the history written, before to many people chuck all there bits and pieces in the bin, or pop their cloggs.
to quote somebody or another.. " without history there is no future"
It is important to document the pioneers activities, their names, and their experiences. Some of it wont make "NICE" reading. Conflicts will be described, alongside horror stories. These thing happen. But they pale into insignificance against the joys of flying at 5000ft over the East Anglian countryside, the friendships formed and the shear pleasure of free flight.

It is hoped that members from different eras of the club will summit material.

Time will tell:-)

I suspect that to start off with, it might all be a tad untidy… that can be sorted later. For now, we need to generate some content.
I also suspect that there might be one or two inclusions that some might, well how shall we put it, get up the arse about. life's like that you know.

Oh, yeah. one more thing. sorry about the spelling.. I'll tidy it up as i go along :-)

A random page: (view original)

East Anglian Out-and-Return

This was going to be serious point-scoring - if it worked. In the absence of thermal flights (hard to come by, as we have related) the only possible national point scoring opportunity for anything in East Anglia was the Norfolk coast Sheringham-Cromer-Mundesley ridge run. It would have to be a declared out-and-return, greater than 15 km (total) length, and it scored only single points, on account of being all in ridge lift. Such were the values reflected by the national hang gliding community who weren't afflicted with the permanent challenges of the flatlands and never-thermic coastal sites.
I should emphasize that although this was potentially a "first time" for me, the likes of Paul Whitley and others had already done this, possibly on numerous occasions. At this time the incredible Paul must already have accumulated hundreds (if not thousands) of hang gliding flying hours. He could have done it at cliff-top height all the way, and probably at half cliff height, such were his incomparable flying skills - on single surface kites too. The only different thing about my approach (I believe) was that (a) I suppose I was interested in national point scoring (nobody else in East Anglia seemed particularly bothered) and (b), I had a camera on my kite (ahah!).
Evidence of the flight was essential. This could be from competent witnesses, but the logistics required for such a problematical event were too burdensome to contemplate, so photos it had to be. A combination of other factors was vital too: the bl**dy weather, and the state of the tide. The tide needed to be out. If I "lost it" (the lift) at any stage I would have to land on the beach. To do this required beach, which in places became vanishingly small (from the perspective of my modest landing abilities) as the tide came in. Regarding the wind, I required a moderate N or NNE or NE wind. If the wind was N-erly, then I could expect to struggle for lift at the NE end of the run (Mundesley). Conversely if the wind was NE-erly then I might struggle at the Sheringham end. On the day 28/8/83 the wind was N-erly. That brought a disadvantage: the nearest take-off point was West Runton a couple of miles away along the coast. In those bad old days, the rules for O/R flights did not allow a "closed-circuit" out and return - I faced the necessity of flying from take-off at West Runton to Sheringham (to start), then Mundesley, then right back to Sheringham, before finally landing at West Runton (for my car!).


So here we are (from the left image) looking east, the Sheringham side of the Beeston hump (my first turn point). In the mid distance you may see a blodge marking the West Runton launch point. In the far distance you can just see Cromer church tower and pier. And, if I may say so (with a mite of self congratulation even after all these years), just look at all that lovely altitude! Wuhaieeegh - plenty of beach too. This was an auspicious start.
The reasons for the altitude were: firstly, I was flying a double surface kite; and secondly, my father was tall and skinny. At 10 stone (68 kg), I was at the lightweight end of the Comet weight range: best for "mininimum sink", but worst for maximum speed. Next we are approaching Cromer pier. At this altitude I wouldn't have been able to peer into the top windows of the Cromer sea front hotels (a distraction enjoyed in Scorpion days). The third picture is of Mundesley, and is very important - if rather dull! I had to photograph some identifiable object (not just cars, or sand hills) for my second turn point, and from the remote side of it - thank you, the Cliftonville Hotel (on the left side of the picture)!
Now you do remember that the camera was fixed to my right upright, don't you, and you know I am now flying to the right back towards Cromer, so the last place my camera could easily be pointed was to the left, inland, and you really don't want to fly inland past the cliff top … the lift transforms itself into an unsurvivable giant rotor of turbulent air. Somehow I managed it. The loss of height during these frantic manoeuvres was considerable, but was gradually recovered during the return leg towards Cromer into what was now a partial headwind - meaning much slower progress over the ground.


Then we have Cromer pier again from the return direction. Just look at those tiny figures on the foreshore! The next view shows West Runton in the far distance, with tons of beach - my goal was almost in sight and definitely felt achievable. To finish the job I snapped the remote side of the Beeston hump, before I flying back to West Runton to land.
Here are some flight statistics: flight time: 2 hours; scoring distance: a modest ~20 miles (~32 km); personal satisfaction rating: 1,000,000%! I still get profound enjoyment in sharing it with you 25 years after the event. If it gave even a small amount of recognition for what was then happening in East Anglia, I was very happy.

Now I realise there is something missing in all this so far …

Suffolk Coastal Floaters - those Magnificent Men

I must have joined SCFHGC back soon after its formation in 1979, having acquired my Scorpion. My log book records two attempts to fly at Bawdsey: 20 seconds and 30 seconds duration respectively - about enough time to drop from the stones at the top of the tiny cliff to the piles of stones at the bottom. Undoubtedly this would have been in the company of the likes of Peter Bowden, the Wooleys, Terry and maybe Mel. Later experiences attempting to fly the beach huts at Felixstowe (with beach groynes like a D-day film set), and other impossible sites (e.g. Corton in 5 mph wind) contributed to the unforgettable delights of my early days hang gliding. I owe a lot to these generous guys, and of course these remarks apply equally well to the NHGC veterans and Norfolk sites. As far as I was concerned we were all East Anglians in search of the near-unattainable.
Wooster and I attended SCFHGC meetings - was it in the Airport Flying Club at Ipswich? - when we could all shoot the breeze about our various hopes and dreams. Do you remember the great artificial hill proposal …? Peter Bowden (and others) had this idea: build a bl**dy great s-shaped ridge, one mile long and 500' high in Suffolk - then we could launch hang gliders and ridge soar in any wind direction! And how would the hill be built? No problem! - Greater London generated millions of tons of garbage and had nowhere to put it; they would pay to bring it to Suffolk! - right?! - Right!! - Brilliant!!! etc. After my trip to France (from which I returned with four boxes of slides, you will recall), Peter and Bob kindly invited me to give a slide show at the Club (in competition with the pool tables and slot machines) which I did with the same enjoyment as sharing the above coastal slides (and no small boost to my ego, no doubt).

Yes, yes, we need more pictures …

Raydon Cowpat Trophy - full horror revealed


This was an SCFHGC "Derby" held annually at one (the only?) inland site of minuscule proportions. The pictures were from 1984 - my first (and last) attendance. On a double surface machine, my options on approaching the hedge were (a) crash into the top of it, or (b) crash into the bottom of it. As it turned out, after two attempts, I didn't even manage to reach the hedge. Ego took a slight dent.
"Those cows are sheep!"
Left: Safety inspection
Middle: Judges requiring money (Bob and Pete)
Right: Big Dave receives the trophy.
How does Pete get himself into all the pictures?


What's more, if any of you have not yet suffered a surfeit of EA HG history, then you should look at Terry's page here


During the winter months of 1983/4 I flew the coast whenever I could, and in the dark winter evenings I sharpened up my slide rule, played around with Delta-T's new computer, and constructed an "Angle of Attack Indicator" for my kite. My log book on p8 shows some entries for testing this apparatus, and in March 1984 it records that I tested out my banana connection for the first time. I will endeavour to explain the evolution of these devices on a separate page Ed Potter's Instrumentation and Aerodynamics - never fear, it will be highly technical. By April I had become so frustrated with winter weather and coastal flying in East Anglia that I took some holiday and headed for the Isle of Wight - then the location of Airwave Gliders, makers of the Magic I - their copy of the UP (American) Comet.

Isle of Wight


Why swap one pathetic bit of coast for another you might say. The ulterior motive was to get Airwave to thoroughly overhaul my kite, because - in fit of knee-shaking bravado - I had signed up for a trip to India in May: the first ever Grand Himalayan World Hang Gliding Rally. I was therefore desperate for as much flying experience as I could pack in, before the event. When I told the organisers that I was merely a club standard pilot with just 100 hours flying time, they said Yes! absolutely fine! There'll be some Indian Army pilots there with much less experience than that. So that was okay, wasn't it!? The picture on the left (taken with my feet firmly on the ground) is the Isle of Wight's 'Blackgang run' - a picturesque 10-mile stretch of coastal cliffs. However I didn't get to fly it - the wind direction was never right.



The weather wasn't co-operative and after accumulating only 3 hours flying in a week, I took the ferry back to the mainland and headed for Crickhowell in South Wales. For two days there was no wind there either. I went to look at Rhossili. The picture is taken with my feet on the ground. I didn't fly. The next day was Sunday, the wind was in the East, the sky was blue, I went to Pandy and flew. For eight successive days, I went to Pandy and flew. The sky remained clear. The wind was always "on".



I did three modest XC's in the mountains (my first in the UK); failed to cross 'the gap' once; broke three uprights; had another kite land on my wing and puncture the sail in two places, and added 14 hours flying time to my log book (see p9) - fantastic, for the UK. Pictures at the left are Mrs Clayton's farm at the top of Pandy (near the kites), and the dreaded gap in the Pandy ridge - a nail-biting mile to the spur in the middle of the picture.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License