ST. PAUL, MINN. — Having just returned from the scene of the East Coast Championships (ECC), I feel safe in declaring the cross country season "Open." The ECC, hosted each year by Sequatchie Valley Soaring Supply in Dunlap, Tennessee, was a success with four solid rounds. The 450-point meet was won by Butch Peachy in his UP-TRX. Behind Peachy were #2 Brad Koji (Wills Wing); #3 Ken Brown (Pac Air); #4 Zoar Dog (AKA Jerry Braswell on a Wills); and #5 Eric Kaye (Wills Wing). ••• In addition to the main contest another grueling match earned keen competitor interest. Yep, the Fat Boys Glide Off brought new meaning to the phrase, Leisure Class. Tim Donovan won the FBGO in his Sensor. The event was popular enough to bring plans for the ’94 event, though you’ll have to fit a Lifestyle Formula to see if you can qualify. Good humor from organizers Rick Jacob and Cliff Whitney, co-proprietors of SVS. ••• This was a unusual meet, communication-wise. Computer hacker, Cliff Whitney ground out the "Daily News" each morning including real news of the previous day as well as fun comments. Almost every day, Elvis sitings were reported. Whitney had also produced a color meet program on his Macintosh ••• No doubt a good thing for some competitors, Paul "Mr. Whack" Voight was not present. He might have gotten some prime footage for Whack, Too. In actuality, Voight’s Whack Tape is no doubt sufficiently exciting already. Paul says, "After three years of procrastinating, I decided to update and make publicly available my ‘whack tape’ which is simply a collage of embarrassing moments culled from about 70 private and commercial videos." Voight added some music to smoothen transitions. It’s definitely fun, a hang gliding "insiders" delight. Is it valid for training? "Well," says Paul, "it offers, coincidentally, an interesting study in landing technique." Kind of a how-not-to video… gotta see it? Call 914/744-3317. ••• You saw Just Fly’s second ad in HG magazine. You didn’t? Well, you might want to find it in this issue. Kind of a different idea for pilots proud of our magnificent sport. Just Fly from GW Meadows offers you numerous ways to tell the world of your hang gliding interest. Says GeeDub, "We’re just putting an aviator’s touch on fun items, all high quality stuff with an unconditional money back guarantee." Yep, he’s not trying to compete with catalogs like those mailed earlier this year by Sequatchie Valley Soaring or Golden Wings. Just Fly sells no hang gliding equipment and they aren’t aimed at becoming a shop. The operation is run full-time by HG writer GW Meadows who entered the biz in January 1993 after establishing a partnership with Windsports shop owner, Joe Greblo. Using their own screen printing equipment, Just Fly boasts a wide line of clothing emblazoned with HG and PG graphics; auto shades, plate frames, and tire covers for your vehicle; wallets, hats, and gloves for your body; plus …(huh?), a toilet seat. Well, I guess you’ll just have to be sure you get your free catalog, due out as I write this in early May. Call 919/480-3552. ••• After mentioning the above gear catalogs back in the 2/93 issue of HG, Kentuckiana Soaring faxed to remind me they, too, have been mail order selling HG stuff since 1990. Jim Kelley’s focus is decidedly electronic (though doesn’t include the new wave of electronic vario/altimeters/etc). Kentuckiana specializes in radios, representing a half dozen brands including ham radio gear. Kelley recently added GPS navigation gear. Prices look quite aggressive: an ICOM A-21 air band transceiver is sale priced at $485; a Trimble FlightMate GPS is priced at $800. Both figures are less than I’ve seen in ads for big mail order houses in general aviation magazines. Call 812/288-7111. ••• Concluding, I’m personally pleased to report USHGA’s representation at Sun ‘n Fun. The Lakeland, Florida airshow has become one of the aviation world’s true heavyweights. Attendance will approach 400,000 for ’93! USHGA wasn’t just present… the organization looked good. Housed in their own blue and yellow striped tent (thanks to bargaining by Rod Hauser), USHGA staffers and local club members presented our sport in its best light ever at one of these mainstream aviation events. In addition, hard work by Hauser and Bill Bryden regularly kept hang gliders in the air in front of crowds. Help for this time consuming effort came from too many names to mention here. Hopefully a short article will provide additional details. I’ve done a bit of investigation to find certain indications that new HG pilots enter the sport because of these promotional efforts. ••• That’s all, diver fans. 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