Birdman Sports Promotions Ltd

Marlborough Wiltshire England

One Tuesday evening in 1973 while watching "Magpie" a children's television program demonstrate the principles of Hang Gliding, I became hooked as they say, and needed to know more, in order to have a go at this so called new sport. Not knowing how to get in touch with the people showing off their Hang Glider skills, in desperation I wrote to Thames Television, and the letter below is the reply that started it all for me.



This is the letter and information I received from Birdman Sports Promotion Ltd


Along with this leaflet


A promotional booklet I picked up at the factory during a later visit. On the left hand side is the back of the book, while the right hand side is the front page. Note the bucket seat on the left hand side photo. This was quite common in the early days. Until a couple of people experienced bad landings and somebody broke their back.


Note the firsts being claimed at that time, and once again that bucket seat


Note the reference to the Bambo pole experiments in the USA, I think it refers to Richard Miller (that video clip is on this site). The reference to Bill Bennett as being Australian, although at that time I believed him to be an American. However there is no mention of Bill Moyes and John Dickenson. Although I do know that Ken Messenger was involved with water skiing and had used a kite like Bill Bennett's at one time. In order to under stand the history of Hang Gliding it might be of interest to watch this Video clip linked to my site.


I've seen several articles on different Forums about who actually flew the Hang Glider during the making of the film "Tommy". Here it plainly states that Dave Raymond doubled for Roger Daltry and flew a Birdman Hawk Hang Glider in front of the cameras. It might also be worth mentioning that later Roger Daltry became involved with Microlights and at one time contacted David Cook about buying one of his a Shadows.


Here again it states that Birdman were involved with the making of the film "Tommy"


If you read the article on the top left it goes on to explain about using a King Post. Up until then several Hang Gliders on the market did not have King Posts. The function of the king post and four wires that go out to the wing tips and front and back of the keel is to triangulate the structure and remove all sloppiness both in ground handling and in flight. Or that's what the leaflet let says. I believe that when the Birdman Grasshopper first came out it did not have a King Post. Talking of sloppiness of the sail, I wonder how many of the early flyers remember the noise the back end of the sail made while you were lining up for a take off. Mine used to sound like an engine rattling away on three cylinders. At times I often wondered if it would actually tare, but I seemed to have got away with out that ever happening. Once battens were introduced the noise went away.



Notice the inclusion of the Vat tax which had only just been thrust upon the unsuspecting British public. I might also add that Hang Gliders at that time were classed as luxury items and hence the VAT was set at 25% and if anybody says different then I was ripped off. I might also add that from when I ordered my hang Glider and picked it up a month later the price had gone up from a basic price of 180 to 240 pounds