ST. PAUL, MINN — New-age harnesses have arrived. They feature several innovations, but perhaps the most salient is the integral BRS rocket (to deploy the ‘chute of course). Don Quackenbush of Sylmar produces the Mantis harness, a beautiful example of the harness-maker’s art. The rocket is almost entirely tucked inside the harness with only a few inches of the launch tube showing. This with BRS designers’ blessing. Pilots seem excited about the harness, “…can’t stop talking about the comfort, easy pitch control, and flashy fluorescent colors.” Dial Don at 818/367-6050. ||| Another is Jeff Williams’ Avsac harness, a second harness designed with integral BRS rocket. Jeff uses a different style but achieves similar rave reviews from Region 2 flyers. Jeff is also sail loft manager for Pacific Airwave so you can reach him at 408/422-2299. ||| Speaking of BRS, the rocket maker has three new products. One is advertised in this issue: their Cordless model. (Pssst. It’s got no “cord” to route.) Next is their Wedge in sizes 16 and 18. The triangle form is aerodynamic and hues run to many of the European neons. Using modified pull-down apex parachute technology, BRS has specially coupled the rage of Europe — most sales on the continent are PDA canopies — to ultrafast rocket deployment. They claim, “This is the fastest-deploying parachute you can buy!” Call ’em at 612/457-7491. ||| In ‘chute news unrelated to BRS, both Pacific Airwave and Wills Wing announced price hikes in canopies as forecast here earlier. ||| Pacific Airwave supports John Olson’s Tours which for the summer visits Reno, Nevada sites. Glider rental is included for $695, plus lodging, rides, retrieval, and guide services. PacAir is motivated by the great exposure they get through Olson’s use of Magic Formulas (and Vision Mk 4s). Olson reports 56 pilots got 127 flying days out of 133 total days while touring sites in Mexico. Call for reservations: 800/824-2584. ||| Pacific Airwave is thrilled over numerous competition successes, from a 1-2-3 at the Marina Steeplechase to a 1-5 sweep of Brian Milton’s #2 Superleague in Italy. No less impressive is Kari Castle’s 12,001 foot altitude gain on her Kiss FR 154. Towed aloft behind the Gibbo Skyhook system at Hobbs NM, she’s filed for world record status after breaking the 10,700 record set back in 1979. Maybe most recognizable though, is PacAir’s “capture” of Joe Bostik to fly their team. ||| PacAirBoss Bernasconi called to observe that though his outfit may be majority owned by the UK, they operate quite independently, as the markets and flying conditions are different. In Jean-Mi’s opinion, American pilots demand more documentation of certification and strength in general. Conversely, Europeans seem more accepting of the testing done by manufacturers. ||| PacAir reports finishing another record breaking quarter in June. Not bad from Bernasconi’s paltry $6,500 nest egg back in the early ’80s. ||| In product news, the Magic Formula 144 earned its HGMA papers on June 11, continuing the general trend toward smaller gliders. MÐF 144 specs: 59 pounds; 32.8 ft span; 126¡ nose; 9 top, 3 lower ribs; designed for 120-200 pounds on 145 ft2. ||| Wills Wing has released their newest: the Spectrum 165. Once codenamed “Spawk,” the new Wills is said to be “…the first truly high performance first purchase glider in the industry.” That’s a broad statement, but so is the Spectrum, at 34 feet of span. Certification was anticipated at the July 3rd meeting. Slow speed performance is optimized, referenced by this factory comment, “It’s possible to enter a mush, fully reverse the tufts on the wing, and still roll the glider in and out of turns at will!” Because the control mounts aft of the keel hang point, the Spectrum boasts a good static balance. ||| To close, another edition of the “OOPS!” Dep’t: a couple major news geekouts regarding ultralight builder, Advanced Aviation. Worst was saying their Sierra ultralight sailplane costs $9,900. It’s actually $7,500! Secondly, they will produce their Cobra aerotug. Prez Angel Matos sent a well-worded letter clearly identifying their position. They want to solve other problems, both with the aircraft and the ability to use it legally and efficiently. Basically, he sums it up adapting a familiar ad line: “We will build no tug before its time.” Angel and his staff have worked hard to offer products of interest to hang gliding community. ||| Nonetheless… Bobby Bailey reports from Australia to say the Moyes Team has flown the tug they built downunder. More on that next month! ||| Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call at 612/457-7491; Fax: 612/457-8651. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine