St. Paul, Minn. — It’s almost spring, even up here in the southern Tundra. But in Florida, they’re already hot to trot. THIS is the big month of tow park competitions, made all the hotter by the vigorous business competition between Wallaby and Quest. With their different styles they make an interesting contrast. Both have become vital to hang gliding in the US of A. s As the dueling meets approach, I want to mention that Wallaby was still inviting volunteer help for their April 20-26 contest as this issue went to press. Contact them at 1-800-WALLABY (925-5229) or firstname.lastname@example.org. The same may apply to Quest a week earlier (April 12-18). FMI: 352-429-0213 or email@example.com. lll Wills Wing has reached a milestone achieved by few in aviation going all the way back to the Wright Brothers and beyond. Out of hundreds of aircraft companies of all types, few can say they’ve produced over 20,000 flying machines. WW has! Though they must have taken extra time to count carefully, Wills test flew the 20,000th and 20,001st gliders on December 9th, 2002. The news was released in mid-February, 2003. The round number went to a Falcon 2 195 (one of my personal favorite gliders) followed by a Talon 150. I don’t know if they planned it that way, but Wills Wing’s achievement is well represented by those two designs, in my opinion. s Never ones to sit still for long, the world class builder announced their latest model. Introduced as the 100-Year Celebration of (powered) Flight begins to find traction nationally, Wills unveiled the “U2.” Not intended for use in spying on that evil guy in Iraq, Wills Wing’s new U2 is a just a fun glider, one the company calls a “Ultra Performance Intermediate Hang Glider.” I guess they think it flies pretty hot while being friendly to those with medium experience. I’ll look forward to a flight but you can get a ride soon after you read this issue of HG&PG. A 160 size is out now with a 145 to follow “shortly.” Wills describes the U2 as intended to be “a very light-weight glider with performance approaching that of the much heavier, more expensive, and more challenging competition class wings.” The 160 tips the scales at 68 pounds, showing the effort WW put into keeping weight down. It sells for $4,495 with deliveries pegged at 6-8 weeks as this issue went to press. FMI: 714-998-6359 or willswing.com. s Wills also announced price revisions for their top-of-the-line topless model, the Talon. In order to employ their internal reduction pulley system, Wills will now offer the Talon only with their Litestream control bar. Talons will no longer be available with the “regular” control bar, and the price will rise $200, to $5,875, to cover the more expensive bar. Another option, a Mylar trailing edge, adds $150 but then Wills supplies their Slipstream bar at no extra charge. s WW gives a nod to folks like me (and quite a few others, obviously) who like the idea of wheels on their gliders. But WW’s are good for streamlined bars making them rare among wheel packages. The smoothly integrated hardware allows a four-inch diameter UHMW wheel to be fitted using the existing basetube corner bolt. The package is clean enough and small enough that Wills feels it won’t add enough drag to offset the savings from their streamlined basetubes. Wills Wing continues to offer the small Hall wheels or larger Finsterwalder wheels but their new ones are aimed at the performance market. They sell for $140 a set. s If you’d like to fly a new WW glider, and if you live in Florida, and if you got this issue as early as the last couple months, then you might want to head to the Florida Ridge Flight Park, way down south near Miami. On April 4-6, Wills will roll out their entire line for qualified pilots to demo fly. They’ll have a whole celebration with prizes, BBQs and more. Contact James Tindle at 863-805-0040 or firstname.lastname@example.org. lll Not all flight parks pursue competitions. One other Florida flight park is happy just give pilots a lift into the sky. s Gregg and Diana MacNamee run GrayBird AirSports located in Summerfield, Florida (an hour or so north of Quest and Wallaby). Recently, the MacNamees hired western expert, Ray Leonard, to establish paragliding at their facility. “We now offer club flying, PG towing, training, thermalling clinics, XC and equipment sales related to paragliding, in addition to our HG and ultralight services.” With an upcoming Florida PG competition (at another location), GrayBird’s 500-acre site offers a less congested place for competitors to practice. FMI: 352-245-8263 or email@example.com. lll U.S. Aeros has announced a new import from their Ukraine supplier, one that will appeal to those who like to travel on airliners with their wing as checked baggage. Discus “B” model is a modern hang glider that breaks down without tools to only seven feet. U.S. Aeros is even working on a “rigid carrying case” to protect the wing in transport. (Of course, with many airlines now charging for luggage weights over 50 pounds, you may get hit with another fee, but it’ll still be less than truck shipment and you’ll arrive with your glider.) Discus B comes with popular features like VG, curved tips, and internally supported washout tubes. Discus is available in a 148 size now with a 138 and a 158 coming later this year. The 148 model weighs only 65 pounds and is rated for a pilot weighing 150-215 pounds. As with most gliders sold through the Just Fly enterprise, the Discus B is reasonable at $4,295. FMI: 252-480-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org. lll Hey, outta room again. Next month, two new tow competitions… lll So, got news or opinions? Send ‘em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930. E-mail to News@ByDanJohnson.com or CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine