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The Man Behind Cloud 9

Bill Pain started hang gliding in 1976 aged 16. At eleven, he read an article about hang gliding in  the World of Wonder magazine (a science publication for young readers) and the seed was sewn. By 16 he was telling his career advisor at school he intended to become a pro hang glider pilot. In 1977 he packed up his belongings into a mini van, complete with a 22' long package which made for a ridiculously long overhang, and set off for Edinburgh to start his career in the industry at Scott kites, manufacturing Electra Flyer gliders under license.


Spring 1978 saw the release of the Hiway Super Scorpion, a truly ground breaking design that heralded a new age of simplicity and user friendliness to the sport and on witnessing this, Bill immediately asked for a job at Hiway and so the move to Brighton was made in late spring. Here he learnt sailmaking and spent numerous weekends and evenings assisting Steve Hunt and Ian Greyland laying up the patterns for prototype designs. From this spring board Bill was involved in the most prolific research and development period of hang gliding.


1979 Bill flies an Ian Greyland design the Emu, probably the most responsive weight shift glider ever made

Through 1979 to 1983 Bill designed and built from scratch numerous designs and was responsible for several full sail re-designs. Pictured is the Pelican that went through numerous developments and additions including a mylar pocket, increased double surface and extensive aerofoil section research with improved pitch stability. The next glider on the drawing board was going to be a fully enclosed floating cross spar glider. Steve Hunt had made a 130 nose angled floating cross spar "Super Scorpion" in 1978 and the way forward was clear. Of course we all know the UP Comet arrived on the scene.


In all Bill has designed made and test flown from scratch over 20 different designs and sizes, among them was the Hiway Demon range which was based on Bob Englands initial work 155,175 and 195 sizes. Re-cut of the Clubman range 140, 160 and 180. A re-vamp of the Solar Wings Typhoon, a series of R&D prototypes called the Alien and more recently the Discovery Skyfloater range.


1979 Pelican

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