Milepost #946

October 24, 2019

By Ken Brafman, Image from USDA

This week’s image comes from a real photo of the sign which sits in front of the Crestline glider launch. There were some half dozen hang gliding pioneers from the late 1800’s who advanced the technology, but the man most credited with bringing the sport into the modern era is Otto Lilienthal. By 1891 he was achieving flights of close to 100 feet; and five years later he reached the 1000 feet threshold. In the early 1970’s glider enthusiasts were launching from Little Mountain, with the brave using the Camp Paivika parking lot and flying into Devil Canyon. Another spot was Pine Flat. The location allowed for a better flight into the valley; however, the road made it almost inaccessible. The latter part of the 1970’s saw attempts to shut down the sport by the City of San Bernardino, and access to Little Mountain became prohibited. In 1976 the San Bernardino Hang Gliding Association was formed in an effort to organize and apply pressure to officials to keep the sites open. But following this an ordinance was adopted which rendered all hang gliding activities within the city limits illegal. When launching from Camp Paivika became no longer allowed most pilots adopted Teddy Bear as the launch of choice. Teddy Bear became the launch site that is used to this day. The landing zones were changed every few months and included fields and dirt roads. Then in late 1979 a parcel of land was purchased which became a legal landing spot. Wanting to secure Teddy Bear for use into the future a permit was obtained from the United States Forest Service in 1980. A new, state of the art landing zone was opened in 1994 and improvements continue to be made by this dedicated group of glider enthusiasts. The name Crestline Soaring Society was adopted in 1983 and continues to promote foot-launched flight.

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