ST. PAUL, MINN — A new year of soaring begins and we can wonder what new records may fall (well, Larry?). What new designs will emerge? In the ’90s decade, UP and their TRX have enjoyed the limelight though sales still trail industry leaders Wills and PacAir. ••• Now UP offers an intermediate model using the successful TRX planform but with aluminum spars (it saves a few bucks). The XTR — once codenamed the TRX L — extends UP’s model line, cleverly employing the remarkable reception to the composite-framed competition model. The Utah-based builder is accepting orders while the glider completes HGMA certification. Selected dealers have flown the XTR and are reportedly excited. ••• Near the end of ’91, National Champ’ Tony Barton and aerobatic guru John Heiney returned from an eastern road tour promoting UP. A western tour is planned next. Contact the factory to be included in these plans. ••• UP has geared up both parts and glider production to keep delays short. Parts are now going out the next day, while gliders carry a 3-4 week lag. ••• PacAir made a small change on their Double Vision tandem glider: a longer crosstube pullback cable that allows further loosening of the static VG system. Otherwise they continue to experience good feedback from the tandem users. ••• To better provide technical service, PacAir has instituted an unusual step in hang gliding: an 800 telephone number. Intended for use by their dealers, the free-call service allows order placing and technical questions. Rare throughout sport aviation, the 800 number shows PacAir’s determination to offer high quality service. ••• Sail loft manager Jeff Williamson has left the Salinas factory. He’ll be replaced by Jose Gonzales with help from Sue Christie and old veteran sailmaker, John LaTorre (whose work dates back to Vision 18 serial #1). ••• APCO, the large Israeli manufacturer of hang gliders and paragliders, is again attempting to penetrate the big USA market. Their new distributor, Ramy Yanetz, headquartered in the San Francisco area, is promoting the APCO Santana SRC 155 high performance model for a remarkably low $2,195. The glider features an electric VG option that provides push-button tuning for $300 extra, an affordable option given the SRC’s low intro price. If the SRC’s price still seems steep, Yanetz will sell you the APCO Nimbus "entry-level glider" for a mere $1,395. Both gliders boast both British and Swiss certification. The distributor also offers an APCO pod harness plus APCO emergency canopies. For demos or info contact Ramy at 415/964-8326. ••• Another importer, Karl Myrenne, is pushing Europe’s popular Flytec altimeter/variometer. The instrument offers a large display with "dome" switches that permit operation even by a gloved hand. Dual digital altimeters provide both absolute and relative altitude, a nice touch, especially as the latter can be reset in flight. The vario uses a large analog display, often thought to be superior over a digital vario display (you can identify trends quicker than with a digital readout). In addition the Flytec features adjustable audio, a wind speed sensor, a real-time clock, plus 10-hour stop watch. Perhaps even more significant is the unit’s memory for the last 20 flights including: max altitude (absolute), max climb rate, flight duration, and flight date. Two batteries last 60 hours each; a warning shows low battery and the unit has an auto-power-down capability. If interested, call Dodeca in California at 510/490-4385. ••• Sail Wings of Little Rock, Arkansas has announced lightweight UV protective covers for today’s $4,000 gliders. These are full glider covers, intended for use when your glider sits in the sun, fully set up, waiting on conditions. Sail Wings also offers a transport bag made from the same material as well as a parachute inner bag (diaper). The material is a silver metallic-coated ripstop Nylon said to offer significant resistance to the sun’s damaging rays. Full covers start at $125, storage bags from $80, and ‘chute diapers from $20. Call Sail Wings at 501/227-4920. ••• To close, Austin Air Sports is creating a full-service flight park somewhat like Bill Fulton’s Kaaawa Valley in Hawaii. Besides offering hang glider training in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, they’ve opened the Austin Air Park at Windemere. Nearly every way to fly in Sport Aviation will eventually be offered including ultralights. As water is close at hand, water-based sports are also on the planning agenda. AAS presently occupies the field, so ground-based towing is currently offered. Gliders can stay fully built inside a hangar. For further info on this exciting facility, call AAS at 512/474-1669. Once again, room is gone. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call or fax to: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine