ST. PAUL, MINN., — Wills Wing froze the design of their successful Talon topless glider. Wills’ successor to the Fusion, Talon performed well in the twin Florida tow meets. Though owners like their Fusion gliders, the Talon is said to yield superior cross country capabilities. Understanding the main market, Wills wanted to keep it within range of a broad flying population. "Under intensive development since October of last year, the Talon — in the competition edition — offers true world-class performance right out of the box. From other manufacturers you can purchase a glider with the same name as the gliders that their top factory pilots are flying. However, as is well known (and fully acknowledged) on the competition circuit, you cannot purchase, at any price, the same glider that their top pilots are flying. With the Wills Wing Talon, you can," writes Wills Wing in their E-news. • They specify that comp pilots will fly Talons with optional carbon mylar LE inserts and full carbon control bars plus "competition thin" 5/64 inch bottom wires. Finally, they add that factory delivered gliders are tuned differently than contest pilots tune theirs. However, you can have it the full-blown way if you wish. • Talon 150 is offered two ways: a "Sport/Cross Country Edition," and the "Full Competition Edition." The Sport model retails for $5,450 and includes streamlined downtubes and speedbar basebar plus mylar leading edge and HTP trailing edge. Spring battens and an extended range cam VG are also standard. • The Comp model comes with the above and also has "Slipstream Downtubes and Carbon World Team Basetube." Of course, XC contest pilots tune their gliders differently than WW-brand production tuning, but Wills says they will, "be more than happy to tell you exactly how they tune them, and you can set up your glider that way if you want to." • The Comp model retails for $5,975 reflecting the cost of the optional extras. For both models you can choose custom colors for $300, carbon leading edge inserts for $150, and Sport model pilots might prefer the folding speedbar for $85. • Both models are 150 squares and have 33.5 foot spans, aimed at pilots in the range of 160-210 pounds body weight. Wills reports a 15:1 glide, 53 mph Vne, 70 mph dive speed, and 21 mph min sink speed. Info: 714-998-6359 or willswing.com. ••• I’m happy to see Wills standing tall with their new Talon and I wish them well. I’ve recently visited Aeros in the Ukraine, and I’m here to tell you there isn’t any comparison in factories. Wills is a true world-class operation with high-tech equipment and years of experience in a demanding market. Buying a Wills involves virtually no risk from a transaction standpoint, the gliders have excellent safety records, and WW-brand service gets high marks. Aeros turns out several wonderful products and personnel are deeply experienced in engineering and manufacturing disciplines. But they must make do with a facility that Wills left years ago and it will take the country of Ukraine a generation or more to become truly market oriented. • Yet no one can deny Aeros has made a huge splash in the market, doing well in countries around the world. Not bad for a populace only set free from Soviet Communist management a mere ten years ago (this August marks the anniversary of their new-found freedom). Labor rates that are a fraction of western standards allow them to employ many talented workers who are delighted to have a job. Wages will rise over time — remember when Japan was a second rate, low wage country? — but until then, those eastern builders will be pushing western manufacturers on price. I know this on a first-hand basis as BRS faces intense pressure in Europe from low cost producers. ••• Moyes is enjoying good sales, reports Steve Kroop in his role as airpark operator at Quest Air. Litespeeds are performing well in competitions and he feels this drives the recreational cross country pilot. Moyes got it right after their earlier topless CSX, expressed Kroop. • For those weekend XC enthusiasts looking to learn from the best, Quest will host clinics given by Paris Williams — who placed 4th in both the Flytec Champs and the Wallaby Open — and by Bo Hagewood who placed 18th, also in both meets. The clinics will focus on three development areas: general improvement of flying skills, customized for each customer; the advice will be given one-on-one. Step two includes beginning or intermediate cross country flying, and step three covers cross country racing for competition. Quest’s clinics will become available in September. Info: 352-429-0213. ••• Not to be left out of the manufacturer game, North Wing has support for their Illusion glider. Dan Guido of Susquehanna Flightpark in Cooperstown, NY indicates that he’s stocking and selling the intermediate model. "These are 7075 tubing [airframes] with some of the finest hardware I have seen in a while," he writes. "They will make great first gliders." • North Wing also added a two-place trike to their lineup. Of interest to HG pilots is the Apache’s towing capability. When flying the new trike with his Mustang 17.5 wing, several tows at Wallaby proved highly satisfying. Designer Kamron Blevins reported that with the Rotax 582 engine, Apache and Mustang produced 700 fpm climb rates. • And if you’ve missed it, North Wing also makes the ATF — or Air Time Fix — for HG pilots willing to do their soaring with a small engine package attached. I’ve flown both the ATF and Apache and enjoyed them. In particular, I prefer North Wing’s trike wings to most other brands. Since I’ve gotten to fly nearly every powered trike sold in the USA, that’s a statement I make carefully but deliberately. Info: 509-886-4605 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ••• Well diver fans, we’re once again outta room. 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