Dickenson nominated for the FAI Gold Air Medal

September 1963 in Australia

CIVL is proud to nominate John Dickenson, father of the modern hang glider, for recipient of the 2012 FAI Gold Air Medal.

The nomination: "Lilienthal and Chanute might be considered as the fathers of hang gliding, but their gliders were fragile and hard to control in turbulent conditions.

The sport of hang gliding really began in Australia in 1963, when John Dickenson invented the modern hang glider.

The glider was robust, able to withstand many crashes and still fly, easy to transport and store.

The design could be comprehended after a moment's viewing and replicated with no special tools, materials or knowledge. The control system was intuitive and efficient. The glider was so easy to fly that one would become a pilot and achieve Icarus’ dream simply by running off a hill and learning on the way down.

The magic of Dickenson’s device is the perfect coincidence of extreme simplicity, user friendliness and copy-ability. No other aircraft in history is as easy to build, fly and duplicate as the Dickenson wing. Almost 50 years after it was created, it is still the template for beginners’ hang gliders.

From 1963 to 1969, the Dickenson wing was boat-towed and released. In 1969, it was foot-launched, ridge-soared and taken around the world. In just six years, the number of Dickenson gliders went from a few dozens to tens of thousands, when hang gliding became part of FAI in the Commission Internationale de Vol Libre (CIVL).

The sport of hang gliding has never been honoured by a FAI Gold Air Medal. It makes CIVL all the more proud to nominate John Dickenson, holder of FAI Hang Gliding Diploma in 2006, for the highest FAI award."

FAI Vice Presidents will decide sometime next June if a FAI Gold Air Medal will be given away in 2012, and if so to who it should be.

Read more about John Dickinson and the history of hang gliding here.