Home                                Your notes are welcome: Editor@UpperWindpower.com        Most recent edit: Sunday October 27, 2013

The Water Ski Kites of John  (JD) and Amy Dickenson

Amy was co-worker with John on the development of their stiffened Rogallo-leadership-based flexible-wing ski kites. Their ski kites used standard kiting principles and public domain arts, though he thought himself, as many of us do when excited about our builds, as the global mechanical inventor of what he tinkered up; but, of course, he was not that level of inventor, even though his friend GH convinced some orgs to believe the same.  Rather, he adapted the standard Rogallo four-boom kite that he saw in a Ryan research aircraft and added the public domain triangle control frame (John Worth already did that years before, but perhaps not known to JD, but known to those skilled in the attending arts; and W. Simon had the arrangement on a foot-launch hang glider in 1908 which was then "protected by law" in Simon's territories). The untenable merit title for global mechanical inventor tensed the hang gliding historical community resulting in more history being put up on the table for all to enjoy. The John Worth mechanicals were not even global mechanical invention, but Worth Wings suffice for the art, as they used the triangle control frame that was also taught in aviation in the first decade of 1900s, even directly cable-stayed for foot-launch hang gliding; see Breslau 1908 for one instance.   JD focused on boat towing with skis; he never did foot-launch hang glide, but he had some releases from tow for some quick glides back to the water.  

JD's local water-ski kiting leadership attracted the attention of Bill Moyes and Bill Bennett, both knowing about NASA's leadership on the standard four-boom foldable wing frame for the stiffened Rogallo wing or delta or tosa dako-like wing that appeared in earlier patents.  No global mechanical invention for JD.   The showmanship and athleticism of Moyes and Bennett along with their desire to sell equipment brought two strong delta-ski kite manufacturers into the scene after JD folded up shop in 1968.

Differently, exact ornamental appearance lines of a product could be matter for commercial protection, but JD did not apply for that; however, naively he tried incompletely to obtain a mechanical standard patent, but did not even get to the formal review stage at which time he became well enough informed to suspect that he could not gain valid rights over matters that were clearly already in the public domain. Bill Bennett did get approved for the ornamental appearance protection, but never pressed anyone on the matter; the lines of appearance probably belonged to JD, as John Worth did not have the very exact lines as regards swing seat and tow-hitch; recall that this is appearance lines, not mechanical considerations; JD had zero mechanical invention, but probably has moral rights to the exact appearance lines that Bennett pushed through the US Patent Office.   The fullness of the kite mechanically was in the public domain prior to JD even starting.  As soon as one line is made different, then the kite differs from the lines in the Bennett appearance patent, then one has a distinct product; one may reference the full public domain arts; indeed reference to John Worth or James Hobson or other pre-JD  similar kite-gliders would suffice mechanically. Indeed, just clean up a bit the Breslau 1908 foot-launch hang glider and have the mechanical Standard Rogallo Hang Glider.

JD for his leadership in water ski kiting of flex-wing kite-glider of the delta-kite sort was awarded with others the Flex-Wing Hang Glider Gold Air Award.

A combination Flex-Wing Hang Glider Gold Air Award for their showing simplicities in hang gliders using flexible sails from full limp canopy to any degree of stiffening,  the four-boom flex-wing radiating out of standard kiting and gliding extant public-domain arts or the Rogallo-NASA-Ryan-Paresev environment, as well as specialized flexible-sailed wings fit for gliding, and/or using public-domain arts extant since the first decade of 1910. The Gustave Whitehead teachings that were inspired from the works of others like Otto Lilienthal, Percy Pilcher, Wenham, and others---and the most simple hang glider in Breslau of 1908 that had the simple cable-stayed A-frame we use commonly today, combined with the works of these hang glider men and woman of the Flex-Wing Hang Glider Gold Air Award, firms the impossibility of anyone fairly claiming global mechanical "invention" of the basic core hang glider that saturated the 1960s until even prior arts in flying wings saturated designs post 1974. The Gold Award by WHGA is open for adding other men or women to the special award as data justifies; please send in flex-wing hang glider historical data to the 
for processing and for possible adding people to the award.

The public-domain art extant in 1961 was super simple to copy and make into one's own tinkered wing; the ancients could have had the flex-wing four-boom hang glider thousands of years ago for successful flight as did the men and woman of this WHGA Flex-Wing Hang Glider Gold Air Award. One can trace the mechanics of Hobson's or Eipper's four-boom flex-wing hang glider right into the first decade of 1900s. The minor tweaks of ornamental appearance for tweaked site and use missions remain part of the story of the four-boom flex-wing hang glider. The John Worth. et al, thrust brought a mechanical template simplicity for the sport of hang gliding, a sport dominantly gifted to the world in the habits of Otto Lilienthal.

Unfortunately, one person who came late in the game has been being pushed into an untenable claim at mechanical global invention of that which belonged to the public already; that person is listed in the award despite the infamous untenable claim that was unfortunately rubber stamped by some orgs who exercised a low-bar scrutiny over their award text to the injury of others and to hang gliding history. It can be traced how one person bullied the untenable claim along with other untenable claims.

The GH Test: One  arrival to the scene, a maker-tinkerer, was convinced 40+ years after fact by a campaigner to grab untenably global mechanical "INVENTOR" to the chagrin of many; this has made for excitement in the discussion groups of hang gliding!  Facts show earlier-by-far completed-and-foot-launched flex-wing simple flex-wing hang gliders to preclude validity for such a hoax. The campaigner some 40 years late decided to make a name for himself, it is guessed by some. Result: infamy. Yet, the maker is still included in the WHGA award, I see.  The campaign even ended in untenable statements on some awards; those statements one day might be amended if the hang gliding community wakes up to what occurred. Over ten serious other untenable claims from the GH-JD package have tested the wakefulness of the historically sleepy hang gliding community; the whole campaign is called the GH Test. The community caught off guard is now challenged by a very  flat face on hang glider creativity from that corner. The FAI has lost a chunk of credibility as they fail to face the fixing needed; same for HGFA.  However, there is a kind of special thanks to the test that the bully campaigner has given the hang gliding community. The test and tension has revealed needs to advance the quality of historical scrutiny that would befit hang glider organizations; without the thorn piercing, there would not have been this Flex-Wing Hang Glider Gold Air Award.  

Good has come from challenge-the GH Test. Challenge is good. Graeme Henderson (GH) is a good; the sleepy hang gliding community can choose to sharpen itself in the face of such good challenge or have the flat face that such good GH has threatened for the community by his pushed set of untenables. The challenge might have come from a different vector other than the GH Test, but we are living with the reality that we have. It is my hope that the orgs and hang gliding community will wake up from their slumber, sharpen its historical-scrutiny methods, recant, rewrite, re-issue, apologize, and stay ever more sharply vigilant to face the sure-to-come claim challenges. Thanks to GH for his raw data on JD, for his perseverance, for his testing the sleeping hang gliding community; but I sure wish the bullying did not happen, as there could have been other means to test and challenge our hang gliding community. Time will tell if our hang gliding community musters the courage to be better and stronger with respect to historical issues.

It is still a guessing game whether JD will come out of hiding and enter the open public conversation; he has stepped only under the guard of the campaigner GH and does not face the open work to sort out the untenables that GH has thrusted over JD's story.

My hang gliding historical core has been blessed positively by the GH Test; thanks GH. All of us seem to have an important role to play in the grand scheme of things even if the role is mysterious.

Not waiting to see how orgs or the hang gliding community will meet the GH Test, World Hang Gliding Association, for one org, is presenting the hereon AWARD in testament that the GH Test has helped to make things more rich and clear; the AWARD is a dynamic one that can receive new solid data from any source at any time. It is clear JD is not the mechanical global inventor of the flex-wing hang glider; but it is clear to those passing the GH Test; not all have passed the GH Test. Each participant will have a chance to have the flat offer that the GH Test brings, or enter to the richer great flowering of creative hang glider design adventures that is not flat to one untenable point; IMHO.  What is your HO; it is up to each! 

The cost of orgs not passing the GH Test could be disastrous for the orgs; improving and passing the GH Test into a rich space could bring a renewal rewarded with advances that could put PG to second fiddle.    ~JpF

Did someone in 1962 build and show a "Rogallo Hang Glider" to two significant large viewing audiences, both of which had international factions?

Answer: Yes. More than one person. But James Hobson suffices. Experimental Aircraft Association's magazine Sport Aviation had some non-USA readership.  Lawrence Welk Show ... national USA television popular show had some non-USA viewers. Editor of Sport Aviation wrote without a pause: "Rogallo Wing Hang Glider" in featuring Jim Hobson's foot-launch hang glider that had triangle control frame.

FAI yet owes the hang gliding community a correction of misappropriation. Until FAI corrects the matter they continue to injure hang gliding's invention space.    JD still has vitality enough to play a part in the correction matter.  JD has been informed that prior public domain art precludes him from some text badges he carries in some quarters; such damages his story. It is hoped that energetic workers will help FAI and JD make corrective actions.

Let us know you and your interests.
News, notes, documents, files:  Editor@UpperWindpower.com
~~Kite Energy Community~~