ST. PAUL, MINN — Back home after attending the big Sun ‘n Fun airshow and just before that another USHGA board of directors meeting in Colorado Springs (the HQ of the association for those of you just back from another planet). ••• One of the evenings involved a little party at Yoo-shga offices. While the directors and a crowd of perhaps 50 persons milled about, someone pulled old copies of this magazine off the neatly organized shelves. Editor Gil Dodgen, myself, and several others enjoyed the memory lane trip of rifling through the old rags. • As many of you recall, this column, starting its nineteenth year with this issue (!!), is a take off from the old Bill Allen "Flying Bull" column that ran back in the late ’70s. When Bill had to step down, he called for a writer to succeed him. When none came forth, I adapted — and always gave credit to Bill for — his style within my own Whole Air magazine. • Funny though… I believed I was closely emulating the look and style of the man who gave birth to the format. Yet as we all looked at "Flying Bull," the truth is, I’ve changed it a lot. The typewriter look came from the early days of Whole Air when we bought type outside rather than compose it on a Mac’ (which didn’t yet exist). "Flying Bull" was professionally typeset. Neither did Bill use the "•••" separators of today. His separators were all boldface capital letters. However, the basic "feel" of the column is genuinely similar: folksy, newsy, and somewhat lighthearted. • The real yucks, however, came from Pork’s Hang Diving magazine parody. Its weird and wonderful humor literally had a number of the directors in stitches. Don’t be surprised if Gil uses some of the seemingly ancient humor again some day. It hadn’t lost it edge. (Thanks, Pork!) • Well, so much for reminiscing. Let’s get back to products and stuff, the true hallmark of this "Product Lines" version of "Flying Bull… ••• Hey! The flying season is off and happening, as evidenced by a state record distance flight from Florida’s Wallaby Ranch. Yup. Mike "Hollywood" Champlin rented a Moyes SX4 and flew 147 miles to within a few miles of the Georgia border! Nice job, Mike! For his efforts, he got more than a clap on the back; he won the Wallaby standing prize of $500 (which no doubt covered the glider rental fee and tow quite nicely). On the same day, book writer Davis Straub also managed over 100 miles. They had some dandy conditions. Two days earlier, I also got a good one, skying out in a Falcon 195 to 7,300 feet (pretty high for Florida, I’m told). One of those, "couldn’t get down" days… excellent! Thanks to Malcolm and his Ranch Hands. ••• Up at Quest, some fine flying by females was set to occur just after Sun ‘n Fun and hopefully they, too, got some of the great southern air. I’m sure we’ll hear more. ••• Still more followed Sun ‘n Fun in the form of the ECC or East Coast Championships, the now-traditional season-starter contest. According to my old friend and meet director, Rick Jacob, the event went very well with seven of eight days good flying. Rick reported, "The topless gliders are outperforming the gliders with kingposts by a substantial margin." • This Tree Topper club-sponsored event racked up 3,182 miles of flying including one 46-mile task to Lookout Mountain’s LZ. Nelson Howe won on a Laminar and was trailed by topless gliders through sixth place as follows: 2nd Jim Lee/Fusion; 3rd Pete Lehmann/Fusion; 4th Brad Koji/CSX; 5th Mark Gibson/FR; and 6th Larry Tudor/Laminar. • Regretfully one tragic accident cast a cloud over the event. Rob Howe of the Chicago area was killed when he lost control and struck the cliff. Our heartfelt sympathy to his wife and family. Jacob will complete and file and accident report. • At the event, several new topless gliders were seen. Jim Lee’s Fusion was done barely in time and Koji’s CSX was reportedly the same one used for truck testing. For some of the meet Dennis Pagen flew the Russian Stealth which is being imported by GW Meadow’s Just Fly. Different than all the rest, it has a riveted aluminum crossbar in lieu of carbon fiber which no doubt helps bring the price tag down to nearly $4,000 delivered (as opposed to over six grand)! ••• These events need trophies and a new source just emerged. Lisa Tate started an enterprise named Soaring Dreams and she prepares awards for HG meets. She’s already done the Owens Valley XC Champs, the US Nats, the Manufacturer’s League Meet, and several regional/local contests. They’re all hand crafted in glass, wood, metal, or plastic. Give her a jingle at 208-376-7914 (evenings). ••• More on the big Telluride Festival… first, that the dates shifted a squeak to August 18-27, but also the list of particulars grows. Luigi Chiarana will be the director and he called to say that some big names are coming. Bill Lishman of C’mon Geese and Hollywood’s Fly Away Home fame will show along with fellow birdman, John Stokes. Michael Robertson — who did the Easy Riser flying in Fly Away Home — will also attend. Ray Leonard, one of the few U.S. pilots who knows the Speed Gliding format personally, will direct that part of the Festival. Of course, Jim Zeiset’s Pendulum is offering that $15 Grand prize dough that will surely draw far and wide… HA!, like the event needs more draw. It ought’a be great. To keep up-to-date on the developing news of the Festival seek out their web page at www.pendulumaero.com or call 800-WE-FLY-XC. ••• Back east and out west at the same time, Greg Black’s partner Lars Linde bought out Jeff Greenbaum’s Airtime with another partner, Greg Smith. Lars had been running the EPC and will now add the WPC, or West Coast Paragliding Center. Black stays in the loop as partner of the hang gliding operation in the Bay Area shop. • Lotsa news from Greg as he says Mountain Wings took over the local Ellenville, NY airport as FBO (that’s Fixed Base Operator to you non-general aviation pilots). Kind of a big deal when an HG biz takes over a GA airport, I think. Greg says business has bounced back nicely from last year, in fact, he’s already ahead of all last year and the season is just beginning. • The airport will be the site of a big July 4th event which is open to any commercial sport aviation enterprise who’d like to find some new customers. The town’s doing up fireworks on a grand scale, Black reports, and pilots like John Heiney and Larry Tudor will be present. ••• Tudor is traveling on his familiar Road Tour, except now it revolves around his AV8 business selling the Italian-made Laminars. (More on them, GW’s import biz, and Kamron Blevin’s new North Wing manufacturing operation next month as…) ••• We’re outta room. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 612-450-0930, or E-mail to CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine