About Mike Meier

IMG_9165Mike Meier is a retired business owner and experimental test pilot with forty-five years of experience in the manufacturing and flight testing of hang gliders.

Mike graduated from the State University of New York, College at Stony Brook in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with a minor in secondary education. After a year spent teaching physics and physical science at the high school level in the Northeast, Mike moved to California in 1973 and took up hang gliding in 1974.

Professional Background
Mike is a former owner, and one of three managing executive partners at Wills Wing in Orange, California, the largest, and most successful hang glider manufacturer in the world. Wills Wing was founded in 1973, and Mike worked there from April of 1976 until the company closed US operations in 2021. In his career at Wills Wing, Mike has performed developmental flight testing on 127 glider models that saw production, and experimental flight testing on more than 365 additional prototypes and prototype configurations. Mike has also performed quality assurance flight tests on more than 6000 production hang gliders. Mike holds a Master pilot rating from United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and has been a USHPA certified flight instructor. Mike is also an FAA certificated private pilot with single engine land and glider ratings.

tour-18Mike served as an Honorary Director for the United States Hang Gliding Association between 1980 and 1997 and also served as a member of the organization’s Strategic Planning Committee. Mike served as president of the Hang Glider Manufacturers Association between 1982 and 1986, and from 2003 through the present. Mike represented the USHGA on a number of FAA related committees, including the Part 103 Users Group at the Riverside FSDO, the ARAC working group in Washington DC, the USHGA Sport Pilot Task Force, the FAA Part 103 Working Group, the ASTM F37T subcommittee, and Mike was lead technical writer on the ASTM F37.40 task group that wrote the ASTM design standards for weight shift controlled aircraft that are now in use as the FAA accepted airworthiness standards in the United States for Weight Shift Controlled Light Sport Aircraft.

Between 1976 and 1987 Mike flew in a number of hang gliding competitions, was a top ranked competition pilot, and was a member of the 1981 U.S. Team at the FAI World Championships in Beppu, Japan. In 1992, Mike was co-presenter with Mark Stucky at the National Symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots of a paper on the application of classical flight test methodology to the testing of a high performance hang glider. The paper was first runner up in the judging for best technical paper at the symposium. Mike was elected to membership in SETP in 1994, and in March of 2015 received the Jack Northrop Award for the most outstanding technical paper presented at the annual SETP West Coast symposium.

Presentations Given
Mike has given presentations on flight safety to the West Coast Symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, The Flight Test Safety Committee, the Annual Symposium of the Society Of Experimental Test Pilots, the Crestline Soaring Society, the Rogallo Foundation, the Board of Directors of The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Wallaby Ranch Flight Park, Virgin Galactic, the Sylmar Hang Gliding Association, Lookout Mountain Flight Park, Scaled Composites, Gulfstream Aerospace and EAA Airventure.

Read about Awards and Elections for Mike Meier