ST. PAUL, MINN. — Mail-order Mania… as two U.S. shops branch out into hang gliding mail order sales. The first one out is a slickly-produced booklet with color accents mailed recently by Tennessee’s Sequatchie Valley Soaring Supply (or more simply: SVS). Their 16-page catalog is professionally laid out and uses professionally-shot photos for a top-notch appearance. The catalog is full of accessory items from Thermitts and gloves to a broad helmet line to instruments plus many smaller accessories. The service does not duplicate your local shop in that some items are SVS-designed while others are exclusively imported by SVS. If you didn’t get a copy (their premier mailing was widely distributed), call their toll-free line and request one: 1-800/34-GLIDE (or 344-5433). It looks as good as a lot of those catalogs that fill your mailbox and has much more interesting stuff in it. ••• The second entry ironically came out just on the heels of the SVS catalog. This one is from Colorado’s Golden Wings. While not as slick as the SVS edition, Golden’s catalog — a series of stapled pages — has several items not featured in the SVS booklet. For example, the Golden catalog has paraswivels, more hardware items, oxygen gear, and a few air toys. Golden also prominently promotes the new L/D harness (see "PL" next month). You’ll probably want both catalogs. Golden also offers toll-free dialing: 1-800/677-4449. ••• Interesting to note that both outfits stay miles away from selling gliders via the mail. A strength of the HG community is that most everyone is aware of the dangers if gliders are sold to untrained pilots. This offers a sharp contrast to kit-built airplanes which are usually sold to customers the factory never meets. Good for our sport! ••• Seedwings is nearing completion on their newest Sensor 610-152 model, "a direct replacement for the 510-160," says proprietor Bob Trampenau. The 152 features more span with eight less square feet (than the 510-160) yet doesn’t increase the stall speed. Vne is also up, from 46 on the older 510 model to 62 mph on the 610 bird, an impressive 35% gain. Bob reports, "It uses a unique semi-cantilevered cross tube," where the side wires connect to the cross tube well inboard of the X-bar/LE junction. He claims this reduces flying wire drag while "substantially increasing cross tube strength," perhaps verified by load testing to 86 mph! Flight characteristics are said to include better turn coordination and Bob adds, "ease of landing is extraordinarily good." Trampenau feels strongly that the industry trend toward 150 ft2 or smaller gliders will replace all larger wing sizes. The prime motivator? Speed! …for cross country. ••• Sales of the 152 and other 610 sizes have been aided by good resale values on Seedwings’ 510C model. "Typically a 510C pilots sells his wing so he can buy the 610, and he finds a ready market for his older glider," reports Trampenau. ••• Ken Brown concluded the first of his seminars announced earlier. "Response was tremendous," he says. "[This has] prompted us to hold two additional seminars for towing and tandem." Both workshops filled within days of their announcement. The towing clinic is just over, while the tandem clinic may be happening as you read this. Call PacAir for more in this popular series: 408/422-2299. ••• PacAir is also delighted to announce that record holder Kevin Christoferson will return to their team. After his 287-mile flight in ’89, PacAir feels Kevin could succeed in his effort to break Tudor’s 303 mile, tow-launched record. He’ll be flying a large K3-160 to help in lighter air. ••• The O2 man, Mountain High’s Pat McLaughlin, reports their electronic oxygen delivery system (EDS) has extended a cylinder’s service time by 10-12 times in tests they’ve conducted. The clever system makes use of the fact that we humans exhale during two thirds of our breathing cycle. The EDS delivers the gas when needed, then shuts off while the pilot breathes out. It can automatically detect when you stop inhaling. Called an "inhalation pulsing technique," precious O2 supplies are not wasted. The device can also sense altitude and accordingly provides more oxygen at higher altitudes. In the event of a system failure, you can throw an emergency switch and have a fixed flow. An audible ("No-Flow") alarm signals you that you’ve switched off or have exhausted the supply. Pretty high-tech sounding, you’ll want their literature for a fuller explanation. Call 801/364-4171. ••• Late-breaking news includes a "crack-down on aerotowing," specifically the tow vehicle’s description. Details are still sketchy, but if you’re involved in this activity, I recommend you contact USHGA boss Jerry Bruning for further advice. ••• Outta room again. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or Msg: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine