HIGHER THAN EAGLES: The Story of a Family and the Sport That Transformed Them by Maralys & Chris Wills Wills

HIGHER THAN EAGLES: The Story of a Family and the Sport That Transformed Them

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A California mother of six joins one of her surviving sons in recounting their family's tragic and exhilarating involvement in hang gliding--an unusual tale of an eccentric American family, and, perhaps unintentionally, a stern warning to others who long to fly. Bobby Wills stood apart from his sister and four brothers from the start, remembers Maralys, the long-suffering mother of an unbelievably rambunctious, creative, and athletic southern California brood. As a young boy, Bobby had the ambition and hyperactive imagination that led him to spend a year digging elaborate underground tunnels beneath the backyard, dreaming up wind-propelled bicycles, and trying to convince his flight-obsessed brother, Chris, to fly his homemade planes upside down. Subject to extreme bouts of asthma and violently rebellious by nature, Bobby and his equally brutal attorney father traumatized the family with window-shattering brawls as Bobby grew into a headstrong, reckless, and apparently directionless young adult who spent his clays building useless inventions in the family garage. Then Chris became intrigued with the new sport of hang gliding, and through him Bobby found his mÉtier. Bobby and his brothers' startling passion for jumping off cliffs attached to giant kites eventually led to national championships, piles of trophies, a Sports Illustrated story, and a successful, family-run hang-glider design company--until the deaths of Bobby's brother Eric and then Bobby himself from glider crashes brought that chapter of the Wills family life to a close. In alternating chapters, Chris, now a physician, conveys the boyish exhilaration that the brothers experienced in designing and flying gliders, while Maralys expresses maternal wonder at the energy and drive of her remarkable children and at the beauty of the sport they loved. A gripping tale of transformation and redemption--though some may gasp at the cost.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1992
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Longstreet