UCSD Flies in the Face of Soarers at Torrey Pines


You think of the things that San Diego has better than anywhere else in the world and you think maybe of the zoo and the weather and a few others.

Then you add the bluffs at Torrey Pines.

A gorgeous view of the Pacific, plus winds directly perpendicular to the 350-foot-high cliff. Winds that provide the uniform lift that is ideal for motorless flight.

Charles Lindbergh used the Torrey Pines winds to aid his glider flight from Mt. Soledad to the beach at Del Mar in 1930. Other gliders followed.


In 1939, Mayor P. J. Benbough dedicated the Torrey Pines Gliderport, next to what is now the back nine of the south course of Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Pilots and students of aerodynamics flock to the gliderport because of the open-air wind tunnel effect. Ditto for model plane enthusiasts.

The Torrey Pines Soaring Council, an alliance of flight buffs, decided this year to ask that the gliderport be designated a historic site to ensure that it remain inviolate.

No problem, said the city’s Historical Site Board, which voted unanimously Aug. 26 to do just that.

Problem, said UC San Diego, which owns some of the property, including the eastern end of the runway, and quickly appealed the designation.

To the horror of gliderites, UCSD also revealed that it may want to build on the site in a decade or so.


That sound you hear is the wind hitting the fan as angry and anxious glider enthusiasts prepare for Wednesday’s meeting of the Historical Site Board, and a possible further appeal to the City Council.

“We don’t disagree that it’s unique, but, in terms of the university’s educational purpose, we have that land designated for something other than a gliderport,” says Milton Phegley, UCSD’s campus community planner.

The gliderites aren’t buying. The university has 1,200 acres, they say, so why does it need the 30 acres at the gliderport (deeded to UC by the city in 1964)?

“This property is known worldwide in the aviation community,” implores Lawrence Fogel, a Soaring Council board member.

“I’ve been in Asia, Australia, Europe and lately Hawaii looking for alternative sites. There are none that compare to Torrey Pines.”

Loser Isn’t Weeping

Look it over.

* I’ll tell you this, but it’s up to you to make sense of it.

Robert Triplett, 25, a flight instructor at Montgomery Field, figures he lost his wallet either at Miramar College or in the neighborhood around his place in Cardiff.

His wallet was gone 24 hours and then mysteriously appeared at his front door.

His money and credit cards were there. Plus 24,000 Indonesian rupiahs (about $12 American), a tiny package of white powder and a scrap of paper with a phone number.

He called the number and a woman said she had no idea what he was talking about. He says he flushed the powder but figures he’ll keep the rupiahs.

He’s already planning his next move:

“If I can get $12 by losing my wallet, maybe next time I’ll lose my suitcase.”

* Silver Star, the publication of the Deputy Sheriffs Assn., reports that Jimmy Wilkins, the controversial aide to Sheriff Jim Roache, was spotted at a Farrell’s Ice Cream parlor in the company of female inmate-trusties who were wearing their jail attire.

No word on what flavor they ordered.

* K-BEST’s Ken Copper says an increasing number of motorists in San Diego are communicating their anger through a certain finger gesture.

He calls it “the poor man’s car phone.”

* North County bumper sticker: “Isn’t It Time You Changed the Air in Your Head?”

Call to Vigilantes

Somebody is plastering weird handbills around East San Diego:

“Looking for Action? Excitement? Adventure? Go solo and be a vigilante. Until we get the police protection we pay for--be part of a clandestine operation to rid our streets of crime, punks, spoilers, defacers and hooligans.

“Strike a blow for freedom. Kill a Criminal.”

Before you get all excited, though, there is a modern-speak disclaimer at the bottom:

“Warning. Be sure to check local laws. Killing criminals may be illegal in your area.”