ST. PAUL, MINN. — Have you been noticing the change to your magazine? Some pilots have had loud discussions about those changes yet many members have said little (as is common). You’ve been seeing the work of new art directors after a hard push by leaders to spark the magazine’s look and feel. Other major changes are ahead (more next month!) lll Are you ready for the combined magazine? Every other country I can think of has, for a long time, integrated their magazines for hang gliding and paragliding. The USHGA board of directors has worried through this decision with great care (I’ve a had a front row seat). It won’t please everyone; no decision ever does. But it will be the future. s The good news is, art directors Aaron Swepston and Tim Meehan have given each magazines a snazzier look. Most members to whom I’ve spoken seem enthused about the changes. Even those who weren’t sure about the new appearances are coming around (though a few resist assimilation of “that other sport” into “their” magazine). Hang Gliding and Paragliding are each a little thin; the combined issue will give some needed heft to the magazine. Newsstand operators often judge a title by its thickness as they know customers perceive value by quantity when they evaluate new magazines to buy at the bookstore. For $3.95 you can get a 150-200 page periodical so a 50-60 page magazine appears to offer less value. Don’t forget, the magazine is a “product” for USHGA and it isn’t hard to simply disappear on a newsstand with 500+ magazine titles. s I also wish to give a welcome to Washington state consultant, Dan Nelson, as well as a mention to longtime publications supporter (and computer guru), Steve Roti. These folks, working with Swepston and Meehan and the office staff, have been able to make some big changes that they hope you’re enjoying. lll At the beginning of November, 2002, Tom Peghiny was welcomed into the EAA Hall of Fame. Luminaries from all segments of sport aviation joined several hundred well wishers at a formal evening ceremony in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to honor those who have contributed so much to recreational aviation. A true pioneer, Tom is one of the winningest hang glider contest pilots ever. His design of the Kestrel hang glider in the late ‘70s revolutionized the sport with its double-surface, shaped-rib, short-chord configuration. A teen-aged vice president of Sky Sports — once the east coast’s largest builder of hang gliders — Tom later worked with Electra Flyer and Seagull Aircraft. When Tom presented his acceptance speech he focused on his early years, which were consumed with hang gliding. Peghiny’s focus these days is on powered ultralights. However, he remains an active hang gliding enthusiast flying at Morningside Flight Park site. In recent years he’s been helping his son Jeff to learn hang gliding. With his partner, Spark Lamontange (another hang glider pilot), Tom runs Flightstar and H-Power, two leading enterprises in light powered aviation. Congratulations to a deserving nominee, Tom Peghiny, now a permanent member of the EAA Hall of Fame. lll Returning to more product-oriented news, I’ve been giving periodic updates on the effort of Mike Riggs. From his days building thousands of Seagull IIIs Riggs now returns with Seagull Aerosports. He and his wife Linda attended Peghiny’s Hall of Fame affair, giving me a chance to get caught up on his Pod developments. The new “harness-with-wheels” concept — I hesitate to call it a “trike” as that suggests the wrong image — is kicking into higher gear with Riggs’ acquisition of a shop near his home. His company is now housed at 2415 W. Industrial Blvd., Long Lake, MN 55356. The phone is 952-473-1480 and fax is -1481. He expressed confidence about having a first product by 2003’s earliest airshows and in time for the new soaring season. lll You don’t need to wait until spring to go flying, though. Wallaby Ranch is running a special right now. The “World’s First Aerotow Flight Park” is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a series of “10s.” For example, they say, “It is with pleasure and gratitude that we offer 10-dollar tows from Christmas through January. We want to thank our friends from all over the world for a decade of solid growth. It is your loyal support that made Wallaby Ranch a success.” FMI: email@example.com or dial 1-800-Wallaby (925-5229) lll The Florida tow park will just be getting revved up for a later event. Wills Wing’s 30th anniversary celebration, is scheduled for the Ranch March 25-30. The SoCal hang glider manufacturer invites you to “come celebrate thirty years in the hang gliding business.” Wills says they are “going all-out!” Planned are seminars, demos, parties, and prizes. lll Wills Wing is offering some wintertime bargains on variometers to help you psych-up for a new season. Their imported Brauniger AV Pilot vario/altimeter, is just $375. Wills states, “The audio is sensitive, and the sink alarm is user programmable for threshold, and offers two different tones.” AV Pilot displays digital and graphical climb and descent rates plus altitude and time in digital with a 50-flight memory. Mounts for hang gliders or paragliders are available. s Want to spend lots less? Try the audio-only variometer Brauniger Sonic for $189. Its three-position switch allows you to select lift-only, lift, and sink and the Sonic comes with a two year warranty. s WW-brand has a deal on a new helmet for spring. Get rid of your stinky old one and grab a Charly Air Control Helmet right now for $79. Wills says the imported helmet “uses a highly effective shock absorbent foam to achieve the European Standard EN966 — Hang Gliding and Paragliding Helmet Certification.” Said to have “extraordinarily light weight and minimal size,” the Charly helmet features a removable chin guard designed to protect the pilot when towing — if the tow line is released under high tension with subsequent recoil. FMI (at their redesigned Website) willswing.com lll Outta room once again. s 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