Invented in Grafton 1963

THE

AUSTRALIAN

HANG GLIDING HISTORY

Experienced by the World

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Ron Nickel  

 

From late 1964 Ron Nickel flew the Dickenson Wing Mk3a twice a week. This was only the third glider John Dickenson had built .

Photo taken August 2009

 

Ron learnt to water ski in 1958 with his employer at the time, Ron Bohm.  He later joined ranks with Keith Wilson and his C U Later Ski School on Narrabeen Lake (a northern suburb of Sydney) where he assisted with the instructing of people learning to ski.

In 1964 Ron departed from Sydney to embark on a trip around Australia but alas did not get any further than the Gold Coast.  He visited Keith Williams Ski Gardens on the Nerang River and was also told about the ski gardens on the Tweed River just south of the Queensland Border.  Both venues in those days performed twice weekly ski shows, Wednesday afternoon (the shops used to close half day) and Saturday afternoon. 

Ron decided to settle for the Tweed Ski Lodge as they also had accommodation and therefore he could live “on the job”.  The shows of course consisted of the usual ballet girls, slalom, ski jump, trick skiing and the ring of fire.

In late 1964 John Dickenson took his newly designed delta wing kite to Keith Williams Ski Gardens where they used to fly the flat kite.  Unfortunately there was no interest in them purchasing this new invention so he called into the Tweed Ski Lodge looking for a prospective flyer.  Ron was given the challenge and took off on a beach start single ski and up he went without any problem.   The owners of the Tweed Ski Lodge, Rex and Col Bernoth actually purchased this particular kite as they could see the benefit of a one off in their ski show.  Col Bernoth was the driver of the speed boat

The kite at that stage consisted of steel pipe A-Frame, Oregon struts and clothes line wire braces. The construction was covered with glued together banana bags which came unglued during each flight!  Flying was always a little unstable until Nivea Cream sponsored Ski Lodge with a new sail actually made from sail cloth.  The A-frame rusted out and so it was replaced with stainless steel.  With a new sail and stainless steel A-Frame the kite had better stability and a higher performance. 

Ron flew at various water skiing shows and championships.  The Barefoot Championships at Cabarita Lakes, Northern NSW, being one he remembers in particular as a light plane was sent from Coolangatta Airport to investigate what the flying object was! 

Unfortunately in the late 1960’s Ron was restricted from flying on the Tweed River due to new laws which came into force regarding distances from various objects including the banks!!!

The Nivea sail deteriorated and so Ron had it replaced with a smart blue and yellow one which is still on the kite today.

Ron recalls probably his last flight was in 1971 when he took the kite to South Stradbroke Island, Queensland.

© Copyright Ron Nickel .August 2009 All rights Reserved

Rons Photo Gallery  

 

 

Ron flying the 'Dickenson Wing' Mk3a 1964

On the Tweed River in Northern New South Wales Australia

This above video was captured on 8mm film which was later transferred to VHS video and eventually to digital disc.

 

The original Invoice from John Dickenson for the Mk3a glider made out to Rex Bernoth and dated 29th July 1964

 

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