Aug 25, 2012

Australian globally recognised for flight feat

I am delighted to congratulate John Dickenson, the 2012 recipient of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Gold Air Medal.

Mr Dickenson will receive one of the FAI’s highest honours for his significant contribution to the development of aeronautics around the globe.

John is the father of the modern hang glider which is still being used as the model for beginners’ hang gliders today.

Invented in 1963, John’s hang glider was originally boat-towed and released, and later foot-launched.

It has since been taken around the world with the number of gliders sold in the tens of thousands.

The beauty of John’s hang glider lay in its superior handling and ability to fly easily.

What John achieved has changed aeronautics for the better worldwide. His curiosity and adventurous spirit created a sport in Australia and worldwide.

Today in Australia alone there are over 2,500 hang gliders that collectively fly almost 100 thousand hours a year.

This prestigious FAI medal was first awarded in 1925, with only four other Australians receiving the award since then.

The previous Australian recipients have been Bert Hinkler [1928], Sir Donald Anderson [1973], Peter Lloyd AO OBE [1989] and Jon Johanson [2004].

This award cements John’s place in Australian aviation history alongside luminaries such as Lawrence Hargrave, Reverend Dr John Flynn, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and Nancy Bird-Walton OBE – who together make up Australia’s proud and colourful aviation history.

FAI President John Grubbstrom will present John with his Medal at the FAI General Conference in Antalya, Turkey, in October.

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