ST. PAUL, MINN. — Since last month’s column, I’ve been to the USHGA board of directors meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. As usual, the large group of directors invested many hours of their time — all unpaid, volunteer work and they pay most of their own travel expenses! If you want more details, ask your regional director or read articles elsewhere in this magazine. ••• However, my focus at these meetings is as chair of the Publications Committee. Often, this committee’s work is obscure but this time, the committee recommended and the full board blessed an idea that will affect everyone in Yooshga, including both hang gliding and paragliding pilots. The work involved a plan to combine our two magazines into one. • Now, before I make someone angry, let me stress that you will see articles in both magazines surrounding this change AND members will be given a chance to provide their thoughts. The controversy over the waiver some years ago taught the board a lesson (see, democracy can work) so members will be asked for their comments. • Of course, this already occurred once in the combined test issue a couple years back. Members were solicited for their opinion then, too. However, that was then and this is now, so when you are asked, please respond to the inquiries. It’s YOUR magazine and the most visible member benefit. Speak up! • My own thoughts are that the combination of magazines makes lots of sense. It can also help USHGA market hang gliding and paragliding to newcomers, something needed throughout aviation. I encourage you to read the explanatory articles and to state your feelings. But I hope you’ll give this idea a chance. My committee debated this over our longest session since I became the committee chairperson oh-too long ago. We think we did the right thing. Now, we ask your thoughts but also your support. ••• Altair is back! Of course, you knew this as it has been reported earlier. But recent words from proprietor Steve Schuster confirmed the new developments. He wrote in late October, "We are the new reps and the builders at this time. John [Heiney] is here at this time teaching me all he knows about building them and servicing them." He goes on to say, "We are planning to continue building the same great gliders… and hoping to add a larger Saturn and a single surface [glider] next year, and after that, a light topless." Sounds like things are happening and that the Schusters are excited about their venture. Altair info: Birdy0959@aol.com. ••• Icaro has news of a new glider. Pilot extraordinare Manfred Ruhmer has "slightly modified the sail of the MRX 2001" and the company is proud to introduce a "new model for the year 2002 called MR700 & MRX700 World Record Edition." They note the new derivations were temporarily called the MRN2 and MRX2. MR700 is called their "basic version," while the MRX700 is "the competition version with Bainbridge cloth." Each is available in two sizes, 13 and 14 square meter (140 and 150 square feet). • Icaro also notes that, "from January onwards… the Laminar 12ST will be replaced by the Laminar 12MR." All newly developed hardware on the MR700 will be applied to this new model as well. The company also boasted that "all our hang glider models are entirely made out of the best tubes available, produced in 7075 aluminum alloy by Alumenziken," a well respected Swiss factory. "We are convinced that this alloy is the best material for our product," says Icaro. Of course, 7075 is also widely used on U.S.-based designs. With the new models percolating through their production line, they state, "Starting from now, the MR and MRX 2001 models will not be produced anymore." However, they will continue supplying spare parts and all related services. ••• Flytec, the instrument and accessories company, has some cures for your wintertime blues. Specifically, they have some new Blueye Goggles that are no goofy-looking eyescreens. They look more like totally-hip sunglasses that fit snugly and use an elastic band in lieu of the usual sunglasses construction. Boss Steve Kroop writes, "Their refined contours combine the innovative ‘vac-u-air flow system’ with sensational form to deliver an exceptional sporting accessory …and they look cool, too!" He continued explaining, "The frames are made from soft Santoprene which provides a rugged and comfortable fit. The lenses are made of impact resistant polycarbonate treated with FX2 anti-fog coating providing excellent eye safety, fog-free vision, and 100% UVA and UVB protection." They come with a second pair of lenses and you can change them quickly and easily. Colors include Rose, which Steve says is optimal for cross country flying thanks to their cloud-clarifying ability, or you can have Yellow, Blue/Clear, Mirror, or traditional Smoke colors. He says you can put on a full face helmet over the Blueyes — as they form fit to your face — and that they’re quite durable so long as you don’t go dragging them around on the ground. They sell for $80; dealers may inquire. • Flytec also has a second generation racing pod for instruments. The company reports, "The two most noticeable differences will be the cost and the instrument installation. Retail is expected to be around $150, down about $100 from most of the pods currently available." The other big change is that when you want to install the Flytec 4000 series instrument it will be removed from its standard housing, "thereby making the pod sleeker, lighter and more aerodynamic." • Finally, Flytec is trying to help top pilots Bo Hagewood and Paris Williams attend the Australian contests this winter. Selling a Flytec shirt for $15, all proceeds will go to the two pilot’s travel costs. Flytec wants to help "two most affable, financially challenged hang gliding waifs" stay tuned up for the 2002 contest season. Of course, they’re both Flytec-sponsored pilots. However, as demonstrated by their support of the World Record Encampment and the springtime contest at Quest Air, Flytec has stepped up to the plate with significant sponsorships for all who attend, regardless of what glider they fly. • Flytec goodies should be available for Christmas gifts. Info: 800-662-2449 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ••• So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930; please note my new e-mail address of News@ByDanJohnson.com… but you can still use CumulusMan@aol.com for the foreseeable future. • All "Product Lines" columns will be available later this year at www.ByDanJohnson.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine