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Francois Perraudin gives an introcution into the history in
„Gleitschirm“ magazine 9/1992
Historical Introduction

The whole world of aviation celebrates 100 years of human flight by remembering Otto Lilienthal's first plane ride. Didier Davre, a well known Kite pilot receives the support of the Swiss hang-glider association to create a museum of Free Flight. This does not only make it possible to fetch age-old
kites or relatively new paraglides from the basements, but also to get a better understanding of the history of the sport and those who started it.

Titlis                                                                 Croix de Coeur

Oberhalb Mieussy in Frankreich ueben J. Claude Betemps, Andre Bohn und Gerard Bosson das Starten mit Gleitfallschirmen an steilen Haengen. Laurent de Kalbermatten erleichtert ihre Starts dank eines Schirmes aus beschichtetem Spinnakertuch.

Fritz Dolezalek undertakes several hundred high-altitude flights in the Alps of Tyrol and Bavaria using a sail he has enhanced, sewn and constructed along the lines of a gliding parachute all by himself.

Ende der 70er Jahre
Dr. Dieter Strasilla and company pilot Andrea Kuhn dare to do flights off the peak of the Corwatsch in Switzerland using a „ski sailer“ made of spinnaker fabric.

Titliscomparison of gear: then and now

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End of the 60s
David Barish and several American skydivers improve their gliding parachutes and jump off steep slopes in different ski ressorts, particularly using the track of the great Lake Placid ski jump.

In the 50s in 60s
Francis Rogallo develops a special kind of cargo gliding parachutes made of soft fabric which open in free fall. Vehicles weighing several tons can be attached to them, touching down on the ground in a nice and soft way. He develops the first kites. His dream is to have man fly under a completely
soft fabric without using any rigid structure.

Having recognized that the problem of flight may consequently only be solved by trying volplane and gliding, Otto Lilienthal is the first to fly a long series of prototypes. He discovers himself that journeys to the flying area can be very troublesome and develops a foldable sailplane.

VerbierSkywing release device

Based on his obversations on the flight of the eagle and the butterfly, Leonardo da Vinci conducts the first studies on dynamic flight.

Thermal lift in front of Piz BerninaVerbier

1490, 1891, 1960, 1978, 1985
Some stages in the history of free flight which cannot be separated from the history of the entire world of flight. The Museum of Free Flight run by the Swiss Hang-Glider Association was to complete the still sketchy inventory of the history of kites and paraglides. It finds a ready welcome in a time when kites and paraglides become increasingly related. Ever more efficient materials and
ever more capable pilots demand that paraglide devotees are interested in the experiences made by kite devotees and vice versa. Everbody profits from the genius of the pioneers.

Croix de CoeurPiz Roseg

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An eye on the past to have a better view on the future: GLEITSCHIRM would like to contribute to a better exchange of communication within the scene of free flight. On that note we present the first part of „Performance – where to?“ in this issue, a restrospect on the first attempts of the paraglide pioneers. The second part of „Performance – where to?“, an interesting prospect. will follow in the next issue.

Modern ChuteOld (First paraglide) and new

Quote from Gleitschirm 9/92:
„What if there weren't people like Otto Lilienthal who kept on picking up the thread in the great weaving loom. Sure, the worker at the loom isn't able to see the picture he's working on, he just sees a small extract. Only on the day of completion everybody will be able to perceive his contribution to the great fabric“

Richard Oeser

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