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Craig Muhonen
This file: http://www.energykitesystems.net/HGpilots/CraigMuhonen.html

Recreational Hang Glider Pilot life rating
:            pre-H-0 solid Otto-Spirited

Some additional information given by pilot's public activity:
  • "The first time I came in contact with a hang glider was Dec. 21 1968 , on a river North of Sydney Aus. Bill Bennett showed us how high he could go in his tow kite, and he fed me the most steak, beer, and slalom skiing I could handle. Bill and his family showed this young Marine the time of my life, as did all the Austrailians. The second time was in 1970 at Torrance Beach with people like Cronk, Eipper, and their "new" foot launched gliders. In 1973 I got 4 hang gliders and their pilots up to the top of Ajax mountain over Telluride, helped assemble the gliders and guide them to the launch site, where they stepped into mountain history. They didn't fly very far, but they flew. I "flew" down the mountain in an old beat up international truck, and I really think they took the safe way down. They formed the Telluride Air Force and I enjoyed their friendship , although I moved down mountain recently and lost touch. We had a fun time living in To-Hell-You-Ride, the town without a belly ache.

  • You asked me about my first "rub" with HG, I guess that Seagull I carried up the mountain that day did rub my shoulder a bit. I'm not sure but it may have been the first and last time that mountain was walked and flown.

  • I had been flying all my life with my dad, even sitting next to him in a D-C3 and pretending to be his co pilot. Had my private license at a young age and was living higher (8745') than I usually flew, so when my friends asked me if I wanted to "glide" with them, I said "I'll pass". From then on the most air I caught was when I hit a mogul wrong.

  • These great memories have come back to me since becoming a member of US HAWKS and watching Big Blue Sky a bunch, thanks Bob. Even though not many Hang Gliders are coming in, they are in good hands with you guys and others."

"Since the first day of me becoming a US Hawk, I have been so reminded and impressed with the "elegance" of why Hang Gliding (and you guys at US HAWKS) has maintained its "lofty" status here in the U.S. And around the world.

For me, "without memory, there is no time".

For me, my memory went back to 1968 when I water skied with Bill Bennett in Sydney Aus. To 1970 when I watched David Cronk fly at Torrance Beach. To 1972 when I was "wire man" for 4 brave hang gliders, off a 13,000' mountain top over Telluride. To 1978 watching a hang glider do 5 loops over my house. To 2019 when I met Bob K, and Frank C, and got David Cronk's phone number (he and I went to middle school 100 yards from Torrance Beach)(and I believe he was a state champion pole vaulter), and was invited to be a US HAWK.

So many memories came flooding in since then, and I've talked to old friends who I haven't talked to in decades.

This brings me to "T" oday. I have seen Bob's unwavering mission to bring the "T" ruth forward about the "modern history of the Torrey Pines Soaring Council". Being an Army Ranger, he IS on a "mission", but going on 10 years now, it's been a lonely mission for him. Many people support his efforts, but from a "background" position.

I would like to hear your thoughts on bringing this topic to a "forward fire base" position, to where many more people can stand and become "visible". In my humble opinion, the "Historic", Torrey Pines Glider Port has been "corrupted" by disbanding the Torrey Pines Soaring Council, the underhanded lease aggreement, and should once again become a priority.

"T" stands for so many cool things, but TRUTH should be and can be an "active topic".
Between 1959 and 1965 I explored the California coastline with my surfboard, And in 1965 worked for Douglas Aircraft Co. In Vandenberg Air Force Base, launching Atlas rockets. Uncle Sam said that we were having way too much fun, and drafted us all with no numbers, thinking he could put us under his thumb, but little does he know.

Dec/19, 2019 note:
"I spoke with David Cronk three weeks ago in Moab, Utah. We talked about the Telluride Nationals in 1974. He was flying a Quicksilver C and flew all the way to town and back along a very small red rock outcropping, and did a spot landing, out pointing every one by a mile. He said "it was magic", it was. ( looking for pictures). 1975 he was national champion in Austria in his updated Cronkite, which he said he sold there. He sent me his 8th grade graduation picture at Parkway, showing him, his girlfriend, and my brother. Cute.  Parkway school was 200' from the sand hill he ran down with his glider 8 years later.

    My friend Jeff Campbell (original TAF) flew at Torrance Beach cliffs, 'til they were "banned" by homeowners for "invasion of privacy". Go figure.

    Hang Gliding started (in California anyway) by a bunch of "surf bums", and in Telluride with a bunch of "ski bums",  said lovingly by a "bum" myself.  (Maybe that's why in the begining (especially at Torrey ) people thought they were "beaucoup dien cai dau" And didn't look the part of a sail plane pilot or a RC pilot,  and weren't very accepting.

   Seven years later, while watching "bums" do many many loops with smoke over town park, well....... they said (after picking their jaws off the ground)  "these guys are REALLY REALLY very crazy, and we love watching them fly.

    I watched my friends transition to prone flying and to gliders that they could soar, very quickly, and the "elegance" of that is unmatched.    I can't believe that they have never been given their space and days to fly at Torrey.

     There is so much history that comes with piloting sturdy craft into the air. And I make the analogy to a schooner captain,  they love to be blown off shore.  I suppose that " bailing out" has it's own history too.
   Thanks for letting me bend your ear, and fair winds."

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