Year By Year

First formed in early 1975 The Norfolk club was the first and only club in East Anglia. Started by three guys who met up at Muckleburgh hill (Weybourne), and then pioneered the cliff sites of the coast. The founder members were

Greg Thompson
Mike Lake
Rod Pace
and some guy called:Paul Whitley, an early 'ace', who took a long time to 'conform' and join the club.
Over the next couple of years membership increased into the 70-80's

1979 saw quite a large group. south of the border, form their own club. The Suffolk Coastal Floaters

Experimentation with towing was being carried out in the late 70's and early 80's.
The Norfolk group were using a small static Skyhook winch and the Suffolk group were experimenting with fixed line towing.
A couple of serious accidents and one fatality, that had occurred with other groups development lead to the BHGA announcing a total ban on ALL towing activity.

During (and inspite of) the ban the Norfolk group pressed on and developed a payout winch system. Mike Lake developed a two leg beginner bridle along with a 'chest tow’ system for the more experienced pilot. This was the forerunner to the systems now almost universally used in the UK today.
By this time a safe practical tow launching system had been developed to the point of fledgling XC flying. The beginning of modern UK Tow launching.

A lot of the existing members at this time flew microlights. Quite a few of these members where rather active in designing and building various forms of microlight aircraft

1983 saw the arrival of Tony and Rona Webb who had been travelling around the world. In the USA Tony had spent a short time with Donnell Hewett, who was doing fixed line Towing. Hewett had also developed a 2:1 Towing system (Skyting bridle).
Tony adopted the successful Norfolk payout winch and bridle systems, adding the release from base bar or upright modification and later adding elements of the Skyting bridle. Putting this together with low tension ground skimming tows gave birth to modern UK Tow Training.

First Trainees were:

Rona Webb
Nigel Webb
Phil Chettleburgh

These were soon joined by:

Julian Floyd and
Roger Wood

Although other club members came and had a look, there were very few that flew the tow very often. Edmund Potter was the exception and went on to become locally famous as the "Aerial technician".

To accommodate the various "sections" of the club, in 1984 the club changed its name to Eastern Airsports By 1986 the Microlight fraternity had all but disappeared from the club although the "Norfolk Air Race" did continue for a few more years, whilst the the membership numbers of Tow pilots started to increase dramatically.

By 1988 there were hardly any of the original members (if any) left. The name was changed back to the Norfolk Hang Gliding Club to mirror this.
The club had been rather dependent on Tony And Rona's School. It is at the time period that the club started to become a little more independent, by gaining its own static winch, and getting more winch men and Tow coaches qualified. By 1990 the school and Club where operating side by side, yet almost independently.

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