ST. PAUL, MINN. — Even as fall colors dominate the landscape in much of America, hang gliding businesses are working hard on various new products. I’ve a few to pass along… ••• Bob Trampenau announced a novel concept for hang gliders, at least the flex wing, Class 1 variety. Though most rigid wing entries in production (Swift) or development (Apex, Stealth II) use controllable surfaces, they haven’t found acceptance on rag wings. True, other experiments have employed similar ideas before. Bob says his latest notion was tried by both Eric Raymond and Roy Haggard. Now, Trampenau has announced flaps for his Sensors. He says he’ll generate an article for the magazine on this subject so here you’ll merely get a sneak preview. Trampenau voiced his opinion that wing loadings will continue to increase on modern flex wings. After years of hovering around 1.5 lbs/ft2, he feels designs are now moving toward 2.0 lbs/ft2. This is good, he says. It permits faster speeds, can aid handling, and of course produces smaller, lighter gliders which therefore are easier to carry and ground handle. They may be more difficult to launch and land though, as more speed is required to produce the same lift (versus a larger wing carrying the same weight). Flaps are used on most aircraft to lower takeoff and landing speeds as well as to permit steeper approaches without speed buildup. Trampenau says his flaps can do likewise. He further claims protoypes have revealed a 25 fpm improvement in sink rate. Bob can tell the details of how it works later. He estimates that the new feature could be on line in two or three months. FMI: 805/968-7070. ••• Betty Pfeiffer, proprietor of High Energy Sports, announced her company’s new line of emergency parachutes called the Quantum Series (QS330 for solo; QS550 for tandem). They’re very excited about the performance as the new pulled-apex ‘chutes exceeded their descent rate expectations. Designed by skydiving guru Bill Gargano, the new canopies have completed an intense TSO-type test program. Betty says she expects to have them in production and on the shelves as you read this. ••• HES has been busy. They’re also ready to announce their new Ace harness. What’s new? The big improvement is an automatic bomb-bay door for your legs. Yup! No more frantic zipper pulling as you begin your approach. On the Ace, the door is linked to your shoulder lines. When you prone out, the door closes. When you rotate back up for landing, the door opens. This certainly sounds like a worthy idea; you can keep both hands on the bar and your concentration on a good landing. FMI on the Quantum Series or the Ace harness: 714/972-8186. Also look for company announcements elsewhere in the magazine. ••• Go south for the winter… was the advice followed by former Sequatchie Valley Soaring (SVS) boss, Rick Jacob. He and companion Lois Breden departed the Tennessee shop for Costa Rica where Jacob will plan activities for a new resort being developed by businessman, Huber Matos. Jacob will research hang gliding sites as well as locations for such sports as hiking, white water rafting, SCUBA diving, mountain biking and more. He’ll assemble tour packages plus arrange accommodations and guide services for visiting pilots (and other sports folks). Additionally, Jacob will use his design and construction background to help in building the resort complex. After many years in the sport, Jacob should do well establishing fun flying vacations for Yankees looking to escape wintertime blues. ••• Meanwhile, back at Henson Gap, Jacob’s former partner, Cliff Whitney, will take over operation of the hang gliding business. Whitney’s got a long history himself, dating back to the late ’70s when he established Whitney Glider Supply. Matter of fact, he’s the one who started SVS at Henson. Over the years this well-known shop has served the sport, he’s taken on several partners, but is now the sole owner once again. Whitney indicated he plans to keep all aspects of SVS humming along, to include the established contest events. The fall Team Challenge will go on as usual as will the season-opener, big-point-meet East Coast Championships. Whitney also plans to continue and increase Sequatchie Valley Soaring’s importating of helmets, flight suits, and other gear which they sell through their widely-distributed catalog. (They also sell these imported goods to other dealerships.) Of course, SVS will continue with glider sales and instruction and they’ll still operate the nearby Mountain Condo rental units that are used by visiting pilots who want to fly the famed radial ramp and the Sequathcie Valley. For info on either SVS or to connect with Rick Jacob in Costa Rica, call 615/949-2301. ••• Outta room again… next month: ideas for hang gliding Christmas gifts. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or msg: 612.450-0939. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine