ST. PAUL, MINN. — The season is hot and the thermals are poppin’! ••• Moyes has been having one heckuva year. Says boss Bill, "Glider sales have never been so good and we are producing 30 a week" (an annualized rate of over 1,500 gliders). Further, Moyes Microlights is "having a run on Dragonflys" thanks to good publicity and a very workable tug machine. On a roll, Moyes is enjoying good airpark activity with their financial and other interest in Malcolm Jones’ Wallaby Ranch in central Florida. ••• Recently Moyes California sent out their spring newsletter (late April). Besides telling a short story of surviving the Northridge Quake — only two miles away from their Canoga Park shop… whew! — they also identified the U.S. operation in more detail. "Almost every one of the Moyes gliders sold in America are built in Australia. Moyes California serves as a distributor for Moyes hang gliders in North America." That’s a change. The bulletin continued, "Until this year, most of the gliders sold in America and Mexico were built here in California. However, we found that quality control was better and costs were actually lowered by having the gliders built in Australia." Moyes California test flies in the USA, and customers pay only for getting the gliders from California to the Moyes dealer. Delivery from Australia is about five weeks; add two weeks for the gliders to clear U.S. customs and be available in America. Spare parts are still made in California. The current Moyes glider line is composed of the XL entry level ship; the XT intermediate glider; XS3 intermediate/advanced glider, and the Xtralite, their top glider which they boast is "blazing a trail through the competitions." The Xtralite is currently available in 137 and 147 sizes (for pilots of 130-240 and 160-270 pounds respectively). Soon they’ll release a 164 size. ••• Bill Moyes recently underwent surgery to have two Titanium knee joints installed. Complications arose slowing his recovery. Nonetheless he says, "I’ll be traveling as soon as I can hobble!" Heal well, Bill! ••• UP road guru, John Heiney, will leave on an ambitious demo schedule that will see him away from home for the next 4-5 months except for a couple one week periods when he’ll get back home to Salt Lake City. News of his tour appears elsewhere in this issue. John told me about some interesting flying for an IMAX photo crew shooting material for the new curved-screen theater to open in Zion National Park (the movie will tour other IMAX screens as well). The cool part is the ten tows John took to make the footage… behind a helicopter. Yup! Towed by chopper. Sound scary? John actually said it went well, though he said he wasn’t the first to do this type of towing. Several years ago Ed Ceasar and Ken Bird did the flying for the award winning short film, "UP" (having nothing to do with UP, the company), mostly towing behind a helicopter. For those aerobuffs who are interested, John towed behind a Bell JetRanger. ••• Remember Dick Boone? You should. He was a most influential designer for years before plugging into the mainstream engineering world. According to reports posted on the Internet, Dick’s been working on a new hang glider design concept for several years, and of course, it’s got the expected innovations for which he’s known. The on-line report describes a glider called the Climax that extends Boone’s longtime goal of reducing tension on the sail. It goes far beyond his early effort with the Progressive Aircraft Dawn. Dick feels that current designs depend too heavily on making the sail flat by stretching it via the airframe. Such tension demands high strength frames and exotic sailcloths each of which are much more expensive. Gliders priced well over $4,000 may confirm the cost part of this theory. The Climax uses a spar (rather than a crossbar) with a compression strut and a sweep wire. Explained Boone, "This setup controls all twist for both performance and stability. It eliminates 85% of the sail loading onto the leading edge." The whole glider is made of small diameter tubing (1.75 in.) and requires only standard colored sail cloth. Dick continued, "A side wire going to the rear spar moves through the base tube as part of the control system." An earlier linkage hooked to the pilot’s harness though the latest iteration features a five inch tall stick mounted on the base tube. Weight shift still controls pitch, and Boone indicates he launches with pure weight shift, then switches to the joystick for "effortless control." You might prefer to think of it as a rigid wing, rather than a flex wing, though with its sail, ribs, kingpost, and cable structure, it looks like a ragwing. Folds like one, too. Other U.S. manufacturers won’t be surprised by the Climax ideas. One prototype was built at the old Bennett factory, another at Wills, and two are currently flying that were made at Pacific Airwave. While sink rate performance is said to be excellent, it’s still too early for any production plans. I find this an intriguing development and hope to have more news in coming months. ••• At press time, attendance figures had just been announced for Sun ‘n Fun 1994 where USHGA had a big presence in an excellent location. After exploding in size last year, this year took another large leap: 742,000 people attended the event. Lookout, Oshkosh! ••• That’s all. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or V-mail to 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine