Home Forums Banter Steve “Crash” Corbin

  • Author
  • #18643
    Ken Howells
    General Member

    Got word that we lost Steve “Crash” Corbin to cancer on July 22, 2023.  He had been residing with his brother in Missouri for some time.

    Steve was a veteran pilot who flew in the very early days of the sport.  He flew many places though Crestline was his main site and the San Bernardino Mountains were his home.  Interested in anything to do with flight, always inquisitive and upbeat (even when complaining). He flew many vintage gliders and liked to experiment with batten profile tweaks and such. He had a million interesting and entertaining flying stories, many involving the biggest names in early HG.

    A good friend of Kenny Westfall, they were like Mutt & Jeff at times. Late in life he came up with his toy glider the Sling Wing, a folding wing that was launched into the air with a stick & rubber band, unfolding at the apex of its arc then gliding down in circles to be launched again.  He sold them widely and usually brought a slew of them to Fly-Ins and other events for kids of all ages to enjoy.

    Rebar Dan sent me these pix of Crash at an airshow.


    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    Thanks for letting us know, Ken.

    I am sorry to hear this news as I have been inquiring about him the last few months as it had been a long time since I had last seen him.
    I enjoyed my many conversations with Steve, whether in person or through our emailing. You describe him perfectly with his inquisitive mind always trying to dream up the better modern hang glider while having fun discussing the old days and vintage gliders. He was always kind with me and I will miss him and his enthusiasm for our common interest of flying – from paper airplanes, his Sling Wing, to radical control ideas on self launch ultralight gliders.
    Here is a picture of him getting ready to fly my brother’s bird like design that he loved at one of the Otto Lilienthal celebrations.



    Tim Ward
    General Member

    Not unexpected, but still sad.

    In the late 70s and early 80s, Kenny, Mike Wall, Steve and I flew together a lot.

    We met him at Marshall.  He’d parked his station wagon in the middle of the setup area.  It  was obviously a hang glider pilot’s car.  But whose?  As we were setting up, he came in to top land, and his approach set him down on the roof of his car.  Which would have been a pretty neat trick, if he had managed a no-stepper, but he didn’t.  He ran down the windshield and the hood and did a pretty good no-damage whack.

    As far as I know, that was where he acquired the sobriquet ‘Crash’.  He wore it as a badge of honor for several years, then I think he got a little tired of it.

    I remember him slicing out the prototypes of SlingWings from foam egg cartons on the coffee table at Kenny’s house.

    He and I independently discovered ‘The Rock’, down in Rubidoux.  The road to the top was terribly washed out, and I could only get about halfway up, so I hiked the rest of the way to fly it.

    Steve must have been out of town when I showed it to Kenny and Mike.  I told them we’d have to hike halfway, and they were really skeptical… and then some kids came by with a dirt go-kart.  They wanted to see people fly, and we didn’t want to hike any more than we had to, so they took the equipment up.

    The day was successful enough that a day or two later Mike, Kenny and I were back fixing up the road with shovels.

    Then a week or so after that, Steve wants to show us this cool new site he found in Rubidoux.




    Thank you Ken, Mario, Tim.

    My heart breaks as I think of Steve. But I am so very grateful to have had him as a close friend all these years.

    Fly high and far dear friend.

    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    I have a Lot of really good memories of Steve ; the guy was Cool , and he did his best to make people feel comfortable around him. I’m sure gonna miss that guy ; and his strong passion for life !!!

    Bille Floyd

    Bob Pobocik
    General Member

    Thanks Kens for that info!  It’s sad to hear of old friends passing but nice to see the memories people have of Steve. I believe it was Mike Johnson that first told me some stories of “Crash Corbin” and a few months after that I witnessed a less the ideal landing on a hang glider in the LZ.  I walked over to talk to the pilot as he started breaking down his glider to introduce myself . The first thing he said to me was,

    ‘They don’t call be “crash” for no reason”, for the next 15 minutes I hear Steve’s history of the gliders he has flown and the places he flew them.  The next time I ran into him was at Dock Weiler State Beach when WindSports had a gatherings of older design hanggliders . He again pointed out each glider her had either own or flown and the problem with each one and what he thought could be done to improve the gliders performance. It was an educational experience for me, and entertaining afternoon. It was a pleasure to have known him!


    I am going to miss Steve…. And his stories.


    I met Steve in 1981 when he took over running the Hang Glider Emporium of S.B. from Don Burns. He was a mentor to me as I was a new pilot and had a lot to learn. He was a knowledgeable guy and fun to be around. In the last few years  I would occasionally think about Steve and wonder how he was doing, I hadn’t seen any new DayHead posts lately.  Late summer 81 : I don’t remember how I heard about it but Steve tumbled a Comet behind Marshall or Cloud and had to toss , and I went looking for him. Sure enough there he was on the road between Marshall and Cloud Ok and happy to be alive. It was too hot and too late to retreive the Comet so we went back to the shop to drink beer . It was fun to be at the shop when groups of pilots were stopping by to check on him and to hear the story. He said it was a multi- core thermal and he should’nt have pushed out. One of his sayings was    “When in doubt push out”                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the memories Steve                                                                                                                                             Pat



    Thanks for the memories Pat. Yes that was a fun time when Steve and Don worked together at the emporium. Although the school had a nick name “crash snd burns” (from their names)  they were very professional and an asset to the local flying scene.

    I remember “crash” writing an article about the tumble. It was titled “Chute First Ask Questions Later”.

    The emporium building fell to disrepair in the 4 decades since the early 80s. Sierra Way just north of 40th.



    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    “Chute First Ask Questions Later”.

    Brillant! 😂🤣

    Ken Howells
    General Member

    Thanks for sharing those memories, guys.

    I was cleaning out my shed and found a Sling Wing!


  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.