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CHANDELLE STANDARD HANG GLIDER

The Chandelle Standard was introduced in the early 1970s. Chandelle was one of the first companies to mass-produce a ready to fly hang glider, for which demand was high due to the rapidly growing interest in the sport.

Chandelle was based out of Colorado, but as popularity of the Standard grew, a network of dealers and flight schools were set up around the country. The hang gliding craze of the 1970s and 1980s kept Chandelle in business for a number of years, producing their popular Standard and the later Comp model that offered a unique design.

Prior to the availability of ready to fly hang gliders, people were building their own gliders out of any materials they could find, some constructed of bamboo, plastic tubing, and duct tape. The Chandelle Standard and other early generation manufactured gliders offered people the chance to fly in well designed, higher quality gliders, making hang gliding safer, more accessible, and more fun.

The Chandelle Standard employed a Rogallo wing design that was originally created by Francis Rogallo in the late 1950s and was considered as an alternative to NASA’s parachute landing techniques for spacecraft. The Standard could be easily folded up into a bag that was about nine inches in diameter and 18 feet long. Once at the field, the glider could be assembled and ready to fly in just fifteen minutes.

In 1974, Rick Larsen and Scott Tittle pooled their money and bought this used Chandelle Standard. Rick and Scott, juniors in high school at the time, were both fascinated by flight and wanted to learn to hang glide. They took lessons through Apollo Skysails, a Chicago area hang gliding school, learning to fly off the landing hill at Norge Ski Club’s abandoned ski jump in Fox River Grove, Illinois. The lessons lasted two or three weekends and Rick and Scott were off and flying.

Throughout high school and college Rick and Scott would take their Chandelle Standard to Michigan to fly off the dunes. Rick and Scott would take turns making the 25-minute climb up the dunes and the 45-second flight back down to the bottom. The glider was flown consistently for four to five years.

Scott stored the Chandelle Standard in his garage from 1980 until Rick went to pick up the glider to donate to EAA. When Rick pulled the Standard out of its bag to assemble for display in the museum, he found the glider in perfect condition and still covered in sand from his early days of flying at the dunes. Rick and Scott donated the Chandelle Standard to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 2005 where it now hangs on display, eternally preserving the early adventures of hang gliding.

Chandelle Hang Glider Table of Contents

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