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USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:59 pm

USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper
Dick is virtually the Founder of the Modern Hang Glider Organization Known as U.S.H.P.A. the United States Hang Glider & Para Glider Association, in 1971 he started the Peninsula Hang Gliding Club in Lomita, California which evolved into the current form...


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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:10 am

The photo was re printed with permission - Originally photo taken by George Uveges-
It appeared in the #33 issue of Low & Slow Copyright by the Self -Soar Association 1974
Appearing as a full page image on the inside back cover - page 11 -
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Among the many aspects of Dick Eipper , his charm was undeniable, his energy level was manic to say the least! Looking back on those very early days after the May 23rd Otto Meet - Dick rapidly came to the forefront of HG activity with his push to organize the South Bay area's local Peninsula Hang Glider Club. Dick managed to get a working job in Lomita at a "Sail Loft" assisting in the manufacture of Sailboat "sails". To gain access to the equipment needed to make his own high quality Dacron fabric hang glider sails, preferred to low tech painter's poly drop cloth.
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When he had set a goal he was a "people person" with a natural ability to find favor with whomever he was chatting. His appearance on the national Sunday Night TV program 60 Minutes, with a very brief segment directly focusing on his unique sport in a short leap off a coastal bluff, propelled Dick into a spotlight among the rest of the HG fliers. The segment was no more than 6 minutes total & about 4 minutes of that was showing Dick driving thru Los Angeles traffic to get to the launch area with a voice over of him sharing how HG was his last real "freedom".
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He delighted in getting others into the air & enjoyed being around other pilots to glean more technical information & ideas.
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:16 pm

Hi Neil,

Thanks for this great post!!      :wave: :thumbup: :clap: :clap: :thumbup: :wave: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Your willingness to document the history of hang gliding in this manner is a tremendous contribution to the sport!!! Please feel free to post as much of this kind of information as you can.

Thanks very very very much!!!

Bob Kuczewski
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:03 pm

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I took these photos while I was a regular on the beach in 1972, almost everyone knew me by name.
I became the "greeter" there at Dockweiler State Beach.. here you can see a very early production Hang Glider Harness - one of the motivations behind Eipperformance was Dick's sense of marketing. He had seen the Street Hod Rod Craze and all the over the counter custom Car Performance Products available ...so he duplicated that marketing strategy within Hang Gliding. I may be wrong but to my knowledge Dick Eipper really had some of the very first print ads in the Low & Slow that offered Turn Key - complete manufactured HG & equipment such as this harness.
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Several interesting details in these photos - taken March 1972 at Playa Del Rey Hang Glider Launch slope -
Here we see Dick Eipper in a "white" "plain" dacron sail Eipper-Formance Flexi-Flyer -
this may be the first prototype - and may be the only photo of Dick flying this early -
Very few photos exist of Dick ... so this is a real rarity ... Notice that Dick is barefoot , which seemed to be his usual custom sort of a trademark that he stuck with all year long.
*Also this rig is obviously prior to the use of Speed Rail Fittings which I first saw on the Eipper model HG's -
The white sailcloth later gave way to a rainbow of multi-colored wings from Eipperformance. You almost had to special order a white sail from them, so this gives evidence of just how early in the sport these photos were.
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby miguel » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:48 pm

Thanks for posting the history and pics.

There is more history here than anywhere else in the hg world. :clap:
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:58 pm

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the logo for Eipperformance came from a drawing that I had made on a suggestion sheet passed around during a early meeting of the Peninsula Hang Glider Association in Lomita. around 1971 Dick came up to me after the meeting and asked me if I would let him "use" the drawing on the paper next to my name... it was a line drawing of a bird in flight with beak, belly tail and two wings... evidently Dick had been attempting to lock in on a clear design for his new hang glider manufacturing company & my bird sketch caught his attention. i just passed it off as nothing at all because Dick did not go into any detail about the "use" he intended for that "bird" drawing. Anyway, I would have liked to have gotten a 5 cent for each display of that "bird" ....the rest is history....
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-- Eipperformance Cumulos
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Last edited by Neil Larson on Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:09 pm

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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Neil Larson » Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:24 pm

what follows is a message from Frank Colver about these photos - "QUOTE"...
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Good historic photo! I can add something to that.
I spent the better part of a night working with Dick on a bosons chair for myself. I think I left Blue Water Sails (if I remember the name of the company correctly) about 2:00 am the next morning, after trying various designs of a bosons chair. I had asked Dick to do this for me because I thought I would prefer it to a swing seat but as it turned out the bosons style chair was never comfortable. However, Dick did use it for a short time on his glider. What I remember him using mostly was a simple prone harness that was similar.
We would try something and then Dick would go back to the sewing machine and we would try another configuration. This went on for many hours. As I remember I got there while it was still daylight. It was a great evening spent with him, with our two minds working together on a design. However, in the end I chose the modified Sears swing seat, like so many others did. My Eipper Flexi Floater still has that original swing seat. I was checking it out the other day, in preparation for the Cape Kiwanda (OR) 40th anniversary vintage meet in May.

...Frank Colver Continues story ....

.....the night Dick E and I worked on the boson's chair design. Someone may be able to confirm that the company he worked for, in Lomita, was named "Blue Water Sails" or "Bluewater Sails" That's as I remember the name. It was while he was still working for them that we worked on the chair, after hours. We had a hook attached up above somewhere that I would hang from in each new configuration of the chair.
Also I said that I left about 2 am, that's just an estimate, it could have been a little earlier or even later than that. I remember being very sleepy at work that day. Dick and I were very dedicated to the project and we didn't want to quit as it got later and later. It seems like my son Marty (not Matt) was with me that night, I'll have to ask him.
*Funny thing - I had a very similar experience with Bob Wills at the WW shop one night. In that case it had something to do with a glider but I can't remember what Bob and I were working on :( Probably some crazy idea I had.....
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:15 am

miguel wrote:Thanks for posting the history and pics.

There is more history here than anywhere else in the hg world. :clap:

We are very lucky and/or blessed with the presence of both Joe and Neil on this forum.

Neil, the story of your mother saving those photos was amazing. Thanks for posting it!!!
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Re: USHPA / USHGA / SCHGA Member # 1 Dick Eipper

Postby SamKellner » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:29 am

Yes,

Thanks for the stories, :thumbup: .

And I say thanks, too, for posting here at US Hawks forum, :clap: :clap: .
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