John Dickenson

The inventor of the Modern Hang Glider in 1963


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The English Mk1 'Dickenson Wing' replica and Mark Woodhams


E-mail from Mark Woodhams 27.09.08

Hi Graeme and Terry

We had a great reception for John last night (Saturday 27 September). Past BHPA chairman Noel Whittall came down for the event especially  to present John with the FAI Hang Gliding Diploma which I think John greatly appreciated.

Our replica is up and doing ground hopping but needs modifying a bit before we go from any height. Base bar is too far away from pilot and C of G is further aft than we expected. However John very pleased with the quality of build, materials and with the sail fit. Flying photos taken on Friday 25 September. Any soaring flight will happen after John and Tricia will have left for the States which is a shame but we need to get the glider right first.

Will be taking them to the train station on Tuesday morning for their return trip to London Airport (Heathrow).

We've had a brilliant time with John and Tricia and are very grateful for your part in getting us together during their world trip.

I'll write more later.

Regards, Mark

Noel Whittall presenting John with the F.I.A. Dipolma

Both Noel and Stephane Malbos (France)

co-wrote "And The World Could Fly"

Earlier photos of the building of the UK replica

Earlier photos of the building of the UK replica

All photos from Mark Woodhams



Historic flight of the second Mark 1. Oct 2008

This footage is of the first foot-launched flight of the British Mark I
Dickenson Wing. Built by Mark Woodhams and Jason Board, it is being piloted by Jason Board. This of course is the first ever foot-launched flight of a Mark I Dickenson Wing.

They are still ironing out the tuning of the wing. Of course there were no actual plans for the Mark I, just some drawings. John Dickenson helped Mark and Jason during the first static tests and they discovered
that they had to go through much the same process as John went through the first day in 1963 as they sought to find the Center of Gravity and the ideal position for the Base Bar.

These flights are being conducted to prove that the Mark I Dickenson was a perfectly viable hang glider. Of course the Mark I, at 16 feet, is larger that the 14-foot Mark II and the later 13 foot Mark III, IV and V and the Aerostructures Glider. The smaller 13-footers were better suited for launching behind ski-boats. Of course we do know of 12-foot and even a 10-foo wing being foot launched. The 10-foot wing being built for and flown by a child.

Congratulations to Jason, Mark and the others involved. John Dickenson is delighted with their efforts.

The Photos and following letter is from Mark Woodhams

Hi John

On Saturday 18 October 2008, Jason Board successfully foot launched and landed the UK John Dickenson Mk 1 replica hang glider from sand dunes near Weston super Mare, England. We spent the afternoon making in the region of ten small flights from  the top of a 30 foot sand dune. These flights were made after we had made the modifications that we (John Dickenson and Mark Woodhams) had discussed at the pub in Penryn during your stay in England, which were:

1) Move C of G point aft. In fact we found that a point 47.5% back from the nose on the keel felt best.
2) Fit spacers above cross spar/leading edge junctions to slightly increase dihedral.
3) Apply a weight to the aft end of the keel boom to counteract the nose down static stability of the airframe.
4) Move the A frame base bar back to coincide with a point 90 degrees down from the new hang point.
5) Fit small king post on keel only, to lock in reflex when glider sail unloaded.

The glider felt entirely different with these modifications and showed no tendency to overtake a running pilot at takeoff. As a result of these successful test flights we are going to move the A frame base bar 8 inches further back so that the pilot can more easily flare the glider out. We will re-rig all lower wires accordingly but maintain the same sail to airframe geometry. The next series of flight tests will involve attempts to ridge soar the glider on bigger hills and windier conditions, but this is not likely to happen before December this year, due to Jason's academic pressures.

Regards, Mark




After a few alterations and you can see that the flare is much better landing hands off.

Video from Mark Woodhams.



The First Soaring Flight March 2009

Video from Mark Woodhams.



In November Jason Board set up a stand at 'The Early Days Of Hang Gliding' exhibition at the big 'Sport and Leisure Aviation  Show' held at the NEC in Birmingham, which is the UK's largest exhibition  venue. Here are just a few photos of Jason and the Dickenson Wing replica. Photos from Mark Woodhams.


Its hoped that the replica will be ridge soared during December 2008



In March 2009 we received news that the Dickenson Wing replica had soared successfully

Click Here to take a look at the Photo Album of the event


Below is video footage of the special event



Video From Mark Woodhams

© Copyright Mark Woodhams 2009


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