ST. PAUL, MINN., — Aeros is finally getting ready to show their new Stalker rigid wing entry after much design work and generating considerable market interest. U.S. Aeros, the Yankee distributor for the low-price producer, will show the Stalker at this month’s Air Sports Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana (7-10 Feb.). The show will present lots of aircraft from sailplanes to ultralights to aerobatic machines, plus RC models, powered parachutes, and, of course, hang gliders. Typically hang gliding enjoyed a good turnout at these events. • I believe the Air Sports Expo has the potential to be a powerful marketing tool for all the air sports and I encourage all midwest pilots to try to make the event. Contact fellow organizer, David Newill, at 317-873-2262 or go to www.soar-indy.dhs.org • If you attend you can examine the Aeros Stalker up close and personal. To date, only a private web site has let dealers (and the odd reporter) have a first glance. It appears to me to have more genuine aircraft-type construction with a riveted aluminum keel and solid linkage to its ailerons. And, yup, they’re ailerons not spoilerons, in another departure from most rigid wings (although before Icaro got involved with the ATOS they prototyped a rigid wing that also used ailerons). I liked what I saw and am looking forward to the in-person viewing. You, too? If you can’t make it to Indy, visit JustFly.com or call 252-480-3552. ••• Apparently Wallaby Ranch and Quest Air have largely (though not totally) settled differences about their spring contests after a vigorous USHGA board of directors Competition Committee debate last fall. The twin meets will once again make a compelling case for pilots to travel to the Sunshine State in April. • Steve Kroop is organizer of the Quest meet and also Flytec USA boss… hmmm, this just might be a reason the event is called the Flytec Championships. "The meet is almost half full," reports Kroop in very early January. With a limit of 90 pilots, over 40 have put down their $100 deposit. Steve adds, "And this doesn’t include the standard U.S. competition pilots." For example, neither Flytec Team’s own pilots nor the Aeros Team is included in this count, so room will very quickly become sparing. • Why should YOU go? One reason includes the whopping $10,000 prize money. But doesn’t that always go to Manfred Ruhmer and other top pilots? No, not this time. Flytec plans to offer a Best New Competitor Prize that will see cash and an award. Another prize for the Most Improved Competitor will also assure some cash goes to other than the top dogs. Register to compete at QuestAirForce.com. (I had trouble getting the page to load; if you do also, call the number following.) • Finally, for motorheads that will attend the Sun ‘n Fun event, the Flytec Champs at Quest start the day after the giant airshow ends. Get directions from Quest at 352-429-0213. ••• I had contacted Kroop about his new instrument pod. The Flytec pod is a sleek long container that houses your choice of a 4000-series Flytec vario or the 3050 model. Further out on the pod is room for a Garmin GPS model 12, 12 Map, 38, or 40. Unlike the slightly older La Mouette pod, the Flytec model completely houses the instruments and plants the Flytec ASI sensor out in front. • It can be mounted with the standard Flytec mount or a special knuckle piece can be added for those who wish to securely bolt on the pod using their control bar corner bracket bolt. • Flytec’s new pod sells for $235, substantially more than the La Mouette one, but it’s more pod and comes with a special bag (since it won’t fit in the standard Flytec bag). By fully enclosing the instruments, Steve Kroop says, "All the wires are contained, including the GPS interface to vario and the ASI to vario. Nothing can come unplugged and you can’t catch a wire when launching or landing." Info at 800-662-2449 or Flytec.com. ••• Greg Black wrote late last year to breathe a sigh of relief. "It has been one of the best years in a long time, even with the 100-year record rainfall." He noted that, "Hang gliding activity has once again passed paragliding with twice as many students and glider sales." For the previous three years Mountain Wings records showed that paragliding was the more requested type of recreation flying at the New York state flight operation. Greg and his staff are very pleased about this, adding "We are kicking butt with hang gliders this year. Thank God!" Good for Mountain Wings. I haven’t heard from other flight schools, but we can hope the slow growth of hang gliding interest may be accelerating. ••• Not every pilot has a roof rack for his vehicle and even if you do, what happens when you rent a car while traveling with your glider? One way to solve this vexing dilemma is to get a HandiRack. The device consists of two inflatable tubes that fasten to any auto or SUV and can carry up to 175 pounds, good enough for at least a couple gliders. By using air-filled construction, the rack can be exhausted and stored conveniently in your trunk (or luggage) and can be reinflated with the included HandiPump so you won’t exhaust yourself. The inflated tubes also spread out the load so your roof can handle the weight and your rental car shouldn’t see scars that cost you money. • The company describes HandiRack as a "highly elasticized PVC inner tube protected by an exceptionally tough nylon laminated PVC outer layer." They say this will prevent premature deflation, a concern of many male hang glider pilots. Seriously, it looks like a nifty product for carrying all sorts of things. See photos and get more info at www.users.bigpond.com/bsf/. In the U.S. try calling corporate parent, Delcor Industries, at 303-979-7175. ••• Outta room once again. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930, or e-mail to CumulusMan@aol.com. • All "Product Lines" columns will be available later this year at www.ByDanJohnson.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine