ST. PAUL, MINN — In announcing minor refinements on the Sensor E model, Seedwings begins to reveal their accord with the Austrian distributor now representing the brand in Europe. ||| First, the E model has control bar hardware which permits the glider to be laid down flat without disassembly of the wings. This has long been a requirement of the European pilot. Next, the Sensor has a speedbar, which they’ve subjected to 1,000 pounds without seeing deformation. It has only a 2.5 inch offset, reducing flex and allowing better in-bag storage. ||| Bob Trampenau’s design will now use streamlined down tubes offered by Finsterwalder, one of Europe’s up and coming manufacturers (who recently acquired the Charly company, a big manufacturer of safety and accessory products in Germany). Seedwings has enabled the airfoil downtubes to fit all models of the Sensor line. ||| While many pilots are attracted to the airfoil downtubes, some pilots raise a question. “At $100 for a single [Moyes] XS downtube,” says San Diego pilot Bob Schwartz, buyers may want to to reconsider plain old round tubes. Round is better for side loads and are often safe after repairs from minor “bonks.” Not all companies charge $100 for airfoil downtubes. ||| Apparently “Kiss” is too long a name, as both Airwave companies rev up their promo machine for the K2. Sold by Airwave UK and PacAir, the K2 is enjoying notable competition success. PacAir announced plans to HGMA certify the wing which has a Hang III rating. Apparently pushing the K2 as their high-end glider, PacAir states, “[It’s] the best glider [we’ve] ever produced. Period.” They say particular attention has been paid to setup/takedown, noting that “tensioning of the crosstubes is far easier than any of our previous performance wings.” It’s also said to exhibit good tracking. No price was mentioned. The wee K2s (145 & 155) seem to compete with PacAir’s Magic Formula 144 and 154 which they are also interested in promoting harder. Given a $3,200 retail for the Formulae (a “low” price these days!) and a generous dealer discount, you may want to pay your local rep a visit. ||| In a final PacAir note, the Airwave team has recently enlisted the famed Australian Duncan brothers — Rick and Russell (listed #24 and #30 on the international PIRS ranking system) — to fly the K2s. ||| News in the towing “industry” reveals a new opportunity for ATOL owner and truck launching founder, Jerry Forburger. The Texan is near agreement with Hawaiian airpark developer, Bill Fulton, to become operations manager and chief tandem pilot of the new business on Oahu (across the island from Honolulu). If the pact goes through, Forburger will arrive on site in November for all of 1991. He plans to continue support for current ATOL customers with spare parts and service, but may suspend production of his high-class rig due to prohibitive shipping costs from Hawaii. ||| Meanwhile TLS (Tow Launch Systems) owner, Chris Gagliano, has announced a “kit” version of his Mk III winch system. Normal retail is $1,899, but those with mechanical aptitude can save $600 if they want to perform the assembly. TLS will even sell the kit in several packages to allow pilots to purchase the system in pieces, lessening the cost burden. Though different from the tow system sold by ATOL, the TLS unit has attracted 25 buyers in the last 14 months. Call TLS at 512/824-1803. ||| Some pilots have resisted paying the ATOL price (some $6,000 for the deluxe outfit). However, Todd Braden of Skyhook Towing, Inc (not to be confused with the Gibbo Skyhook) is betting the opposite of TLS, offering a beautiful, all-hydraulic winch system for $6,950. The impressive package uses no disk brake, instead using a controllable line tension adjustment to limit tow line pressures. Rewind is via a 10-horse, electric start gasoline engine driving the hydraulics. The slick package is similar to the top ATOL model in that it has all the required items as part of the price. Contact Braden/Skyhook at 407/452-8143, or write: 2105 N. Tropical Trail; Merritt Island FL 32953. ||| I observe that though these prices seem high, buyers must recall you pay for not only the components but all the manufacturer’s costs of being in business. While TLS’s approach to economy is commendable, $6-7,000 for a state-of-the-art tow package may be acceptable for the smoothness and durability of the costlier packages. When clubs purchase, the cost is spread over many users and years of operation. If everyone tried to build these units themselves, no businesses would offer support, innovation, or service. It’s a well worn adage, but generally you still get what you paid for. ||| Next issue, news on parachute swivels, saves, a new Ball vario and more. ||| Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset; St. Paul MN 55118. Call 612/457-7491, or FAX to: 612/457-8651. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine