History of the HKPA
The HKPA was established by the following three founders, in 1990/91:
- Gus Scott - Chairman (membership #001) ... Police Inspector
- Tony Bird - Treasurer (membership #002)... Cathay Pacific Captain, AHGA member, also a qualified hang glider pilot
- Rupert Utley - Secretary (membership#003)... Police Inspector, BHPA member
Later, Paul Collins, a HSBC Accountant, took over as Treasurer and Tony Bird assumed the role of Vice Chairman. Paul worked on the Association insurance policy and our membership accounts. In 1992 Chris Lodge joined as Safety and Site Officer.
At the beginning of the 90's, Tony and Rupert worked on the administration of the HKPA and HK Societies Registration with the Police, exemption from societies ordinance, BHPA recognition and pilot rating schemes, started negotiations with CAD, Agriculture and Fisheries Department, and the Country Parks Authorities, Association Insurance, etc. Subsequently, the same team drafted the first version of the HKPA constitution. Tony Bird and Rupert Utley used the BHPA constitution, Operations Manual, Pilot Rating System and applied it to the HKPA. Both also designed the HKPA logo; it is very similar to what you see today. The logo was originally designed with the idea of placing a paraglider over the top of the then HK Tourist Association logo (used with permission from the HKTA). The first run of HKPA tee-shirts with "Fly Hong Kong" were manufactured in Sham Shui Po in 1992-93.
The HKPA's first local member was Man Kam Fai, then a Fireman with HKFS in 1991.
Beginnings as a competitive association
The founders and several members have participated in a few world championships, e.g. 1992 World Paragliding Cup (Gus Scott, Tony Bird and Man Kam Fai).In 1992/93 there was the Hong Kong Paragliding Championship held at Shek O and that was made as selection process for the HKG/HKPA Team. The 1993 Paragliding World Championships was held in Chamonix and comprised Gus Scott, Ruprt Utley and Christian Ronning, with members Michael Spurling and Neil Moody as team managers.
The 1995 Paragliding World Championship team comprised of Scott Ligertwood, Christian Ronning and Rupert Utley.
Developing flying sites in Hong Kong
In the early days the Founders labeled all the registered and unregistered paragliding sites on survey maps and designated the code based on the first pilot to fly on that site. Tony Bird was the first to fly off the Peak, Tai Mo Shan, Long Ke Wan, Ma On Shan and several other Sai Kung sites (mostly hills). Tony was also the first to venture over to D'Aguillar, as well as to the Junk Bay site.
Rupert Utley was the first to fly at Shek O (both East and West ), Sunset Peak on South Lantau, and Pat Sing Leng.
The early growth era
Later HKPA pilots Steve Wordsworth and Jack McDonald took up the HKPA Committee positions, as with pilot members Michael Spurling, Ah Fai, Paul Zimmerman, and Paul Collins, and all are credited for the huge amount of hard work in making the HKPA more mainstream, getting more local membership, refining the Constitution, site maps, as well negotiations with government authorities, including the introduction of radios.