Two Los Angeles men who took off in their hang gliders from Sylmar today planning to fly to Crestline in San Bernardino County ended up landing at Santa Anita Park, where they were greeted by suspicious Arcadia police and track security.
Ron Keinan and Jeff Chipman, licensed advanced hang glider pilots, faced questioning by police and track security when uncooperative winds forced them to land at the famed horse racing track, the Pasadena Star-News reported.
They left Mt. Wilson about 3:30 p.m. and quickly realized that the winds were not going to cooperate with their mission, so "We decided the day was over and looked for a good, big, flat place to land," Chipman told the newspaper.
They originally thought they would reach 10,000 feet, but fell nearly 500 feet short of that. They decided the prudent thing would be to land in the parking lot at Santa Anita Park.
The excursion began about 1:30 p.m. when Chipman, a retired military man, left Sylmar with seven other hang glider pilots. Four turned back shortly after they left Sylmar. Chipman, Keinan and another continued to Mt. Wilson. Then the third hang glider bailed.
"Ron and I hung around waiting for something better to get us lifted to the Monrovia peak," Chipman said. "We didn't expect strong onshore flow, but expected it to be clearer than it was. It probably didn't get as hot as they said it was going to be and we needed heat to go higher."
Police questioned the pair about why they landed at the parking lot and finally concluded they had broken no laws.
—City News Service