I wasn’t there for part of this story, so I can’t vouch for all of it. Dave Childs was, though, so he can chime in and tell me how much I’m exaggerating.
So, sometime after the earth had cooled enough that playing “the floor is lava” was only a game, Kenny, Dave and I were flying Little Mountain. Little Mountain was right off the freeway, so we’d often get wuffos that saw us flying and doubled back to come and watch.
This day, some wuffos followed us up the road to the top to watch us launch. Kenny thought it would be funny if they got to see somebody launch “for the first time.” I was youngest, so I got volunteered for the role.
Dave had recently bought a new Eipper Flexi-Flier, and in those days, Eipper would ship a training manual of eight or ten pages stapled together to help the new customer learn to fly the glider. I was given this to “study”, and Kenny and Dave helped me set up my glider, loudly giving me advice and encouraging me. I tried to maintain the attitude of a possibly naïve, but cautiously optimistic student.
It was late afternoon, and the wind had picked up enough to be soarable. Soarable, at that time and place and with that equipment, was ridge soaring 25 to 50 feet over the top, maybe a little less if it lulled.
Kenny and Dave made sure I was strapped in, helped me over to the launch and threw me off, complete with the training manual in hand.
So I began to fly back and forth, and when I’d come back over launch, Kenny and Dave would shout up helpful information like “Page 8! Look at Page 8 for your turns!” Me being a good student, I would obligingly riffle through the manual and attempt to study it a little more during the next pass.
I must not have been a very good student, because they always had something to complain about every time I came by.
Now, I had fully intended to give Dave back his instruction book at the bottom, but fate, or maybe a bad staple, took a hand, and as I came back over launch most of the manual was whipped out of my hand by the wind. Damn.
On the other hand, this was way too good an opportunity to pass up, so I screamed “Omigod! How do I get down!”
This is the part I can’t vouch for, but Kenny and Dave swore to me that when the manual departed, and I yelled, the wuffos absolutely blanched.
At this point, (so I’m told), Kenny and Dave say something like, “Well, nothing we can do for him now, I guess we’ll go fly.”
And they did.
I wonder from time to time if the wuffo was actually that gullible, and tells a story about how he saw some poor soul fly a hang glider for the first time and couldn’t get down. If there is, it’s Kenny’s fault.