ST. PAUL, MINN — With a bit of pride showing through, please note that with this column, "Product Lines" enters its 14th year giving continuous coverage of product-related news in hang gliding. Beginning way back in 1978, your readership made it last; thanks to all of you! ••• On with the show… in a rather unusual announcement, Wills Wing has told dealers they are working on a new competition glider, intended to give an edge to those U.S. pilots flying the WW brand for Team America in the ’93 Owens World Meet. Naturally, they’re still hush-hush; partly because the glider is far from determined yet and also to keep the competition from adapting their newest ideas. They have "several prototypes flying, but do not envision a new release in this category until at least the fall of the year." They did confirm the airframe will be 7075-based, continuing their satisfaction with this material (even though it must be imported, a difficult procurement task given long lead times, quality control checks, and long-distance shipping). ••• In other Wills news, prices rose $100 on March 2nd, making the top of the line HP AT $3,995, Super Sports $3,695, and fully-equipped Spectrums $3,495. Wills is starting a regular dealer survey effort, currently trying to help determine what kind of advertising best attracts students. Finally, after a lengthy period of backlog, the company has stock of some of their popular Z-3 harnesses. ••• The Dream is back! After UP reformed (again) to become the current UP Int’l, their licensed production of the Dream was ceased, stranding this popular training and tandem design. Though Bill Bennett is not re-entering manufacture, he has agreed to sell the design to Kamron Blevins, formerly of Washington state. Blevins once produced custom-made gliders under the brand name Northwing. Now he’s formed Air Sports International. ASI has "acquired the Delta Wing product line with the rights to produce any and all products" of the former company. "For now, we have concentrated on the Dream line, especially the 220 tandem glider," says Blevins. He adds, "We are also doing testing at this time on a new glider line." ••• ASI plans a full line, and is presently building the X’Stremair harness, designed by Italian Vanni Accattoli. A backframe harness, the X’Stremair has single suspension point that moves for in-flight adjustment and for landing ease. It uses adjustable leg and shoulder straps for a personalized fit. Price is set at $625 with numerous options available. Blevins has written to all prior Delta Wing dealerships hoping to reactivate them. ASI can be reached by calling 619/457-4454 or writing to 10343 Roselle St #9, San Diego CA 92121 (only 5 min from Torrey Pines). ••• The Dream may be back, but former right-hand man Briggs Christie is leaving Pacific Airwave. Says prez Ken Brown, "…these will be some major shoes to fill, but I will do it." At least initially, this will cause Brown’s road trips to be of shorter duration and his participation in competitions will decrease. He’ll be seeking new competition talents; if you’re one, he says, "Send your résumé in now!" The company has also seen several employees rise within the ranks, so Brown and PacAir continue to have a good infrastructure. PacAir’s business remains strong and their March Dealer Newsletter encouraged slot booking (a PacAir business trademark) to assure timely deliveries. ••• PacAir has received certification on their 11 Meter Pulse, complementing the 10 Meter announced earlier. The 11 Meter ship has a 33.5 foot span, 189 squares, weighs 58 pounds, and fits pilots of 160-250 pounds. The are hard at work on a 9 Meter size and expect a spring release. Brown says, "After five successful years of the Vision Mk IV… we had a difficult time topping it." But response back from early recipients on the "new Vision" has been very positive. ••• To wrap up, a worthy mention involves the USHGA Instructor, a newsletter aimed at information sharing and standardization. The 16-page first issue is out, edited by the very talented Greg Shaw. It features articles by such HG luminaries as Dennis Pagen, Mike Robertson, Ken de Russy, Jerry Forburger, and several other of our sport’s important names. Longtime school operator, Pat Denevan is Forum Coordinator ••• Outta room. Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call or fax: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine