ST. PAUL, MINN — Say diver fans, another World Meet is history and again we didn’t win. We have some of the best pilots, perhaps the best gear, yet the dang Brits beat us regularly. Ah well, you’ll read a full report elsewhere. In this column, we’ll look at what brands were flown by the world’s best pilots at the world’s top meet. Think you can guess? Try. Then read on… ••• Team USA was third, only 2.7% behind the leader (UK). Australia was almost 12% back (in 4th). The stackup of brands reflects something about the largest glider builders. Here we go: #1– Airwave (UK) at 23% of the field; #2– Wills (USA) at 16%; #3– a tie between La Mouette (France) and Moyes (Australia) at 11%. Thus the big four accounted for 61% of the gliders present. In #4– Enterprise (Australia) at 9%, coming on strong with their Foil; #5– Solar Wings (UK) at 6%; and rounding out those with at least 5% is #6– Firebird (Germany) at 5%. American companies were further represented at 4% by UP. Quite notably, not a single Seedwings Sensor was entered. All told, 16 brands made up a field of 80 pilots from 30 countries, making a fair sampling though not representative of the overall sales of brands. Well, enough worldbabble. Let’s go home. ••• No mention above of Pacific Airwave as they are Airwave UK’s American partner, so the brands are the same. Truth is, they may have built some of the Airwave gliders being flown (I had no way to know). ••• PacAir reports very strong sales this spring, quoting 6-8 weeks which they believe will get longer. They’re encouraging dealers to "book slots," European style. Seems to suggest if you’re interested in a PacAir diver, you might want to start talking to your dealer. ••• PacAirMan Kenny Brown has been "flying tandem extensively" on the Double Vision. The company is very pleased with the results of the new purpose-built model. They promise not to ship before HGMA certification, of which they’re confident. In related news, PacAir has sold all the Black Magic paragliders they brought in from parent Airwave UK. More were expected as I wrote this. ••• On the road again traveling to your favorite site, you might see one of 200 U-Haul trailers emblazoned with hang gliders, a city identifier for Seattle (though they’ll be seen across the nation), and a slogan, "America’s Moving Adventure." The glider is fairly modern, though with a tall, rakish keel pocket. The pilot is using a cocoon harness. But hey! It’s better than an old standard, and it is a national company. The sign is about 3 x 2 feet and is placed at an attention-getting angle. Thanks to PJ of USHGA for the info. ••• Sentek instruments of Washington State (206/338-3081) offers their new SVA2 electronic altimeter with audio vario, a nice combo considering how many of us fly by sound when working lift. It’s tiny: 3 x 4 inches and must weigh about nothing. Mount via a quick clamp or leg/wrist strap. Altimeter has a one-foot scale. Audio-only vario has up or up/down sounds and can be zeroed. The device has a low battery warning, temperature compensation and warranty. Retail is $259. ••• Do you think "Stone Fabric" is an odd name? Maybe. But they make stuff we all know and love: harness/gear bags, XC glider bags, tip bags, padded stuffsacks (for instruments or cameras) plus various sail protectors. Proprietor Don Ruzek says his company has new designs and colors and offers an economical source for custom work (which the biggies often dislike). Call ’em at 415/945-1233 in Walnut Creek, California. ••• Summer in Telluride, and upcoming events: the L/D contest over Memorial Weekend; the Manufacturer’s League July 10-17; and the grand daddy of fly-ins, the HG Festival Sept 9-16. ••• Want further info? Call former Bennett rep’, Luigi Chiarani, who is running an operation called Telluride Airsports. His number is 303/728-9525. ••• Nick Kennedy, who will run the League Meet, announced some exciting news, that Gold Hill has sold to three purchasers. That often spells bad news for hang diving, but one of the three gents flies paragliders! "So," says Nick, "Telluride, one of the last of the ‘ski area-based’ sites in Colorado, is looking forward to a long and much more certain future." This should firmly entrench the Festival as the single largest annual gathering of hang glider pilots in the nation! ••• Couple last items… Been spelling the Florida name wrong. The club with the HG ultralight tugs is the Draggin-Flyers, a great "makes-sense" name for a motivated bunch of experienced flat-land soaring pilots. ••• GW Meadows, recent manager of the HG Center of San Diego, is now relocated back in his home state (N. Carolina). GW accepted a position running the tandem flight ops for Kitty Hawk. Attaboy, GeeDub! ••• That’s it. Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Or call 612/457-7491. Fax: 612/457-8651. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine