ST. PAUL, MINN. — Ready or not, another holiday season is upon us. We’ll look at some gift ideas… which means you should be sure those who buy gifts for YOU know about the nifty things you want. Face it. Many spouses feel hang glider pilots are hard to buy for; they only want expensive stuff. In the next couple issues of "Product Lines," I’ll try to highlight some more gift-priced items. But first… ••• Some results have been tabulated from the survey card that came in your October issue. Over 300 cards arrived in a short period, a large enough sample to get reliable information. • Asked if you believe hang gliding has a growth period ahead, a split response resulted. Slightly more than half (54%) feel it can grow, but 46% apparently see obstacles. • When asked if you desire to see hang gliding grow, an overwhelming 86% answered yes, with 14% not inviting growth. This is an unmistakable indication that most pilots are pro-growth and may be a strong enough answer to suggest some pilots could become growth activists. • The question about glider prices invited some to express frustration over gliders approaching the $5,000 mark. However, a very solid 69% said they believed gliders are priced right for the value you receive. Just under a third (31%) say prices are too high. Many feeling this way added notes in the margins. • Finally, when consulted about whether you believe hang glider design can make performance leaps, 61% said yes, while a large group of 39% said no. A few notes indicated that some considered aircraft like the Swift a leap of design for hang gliders. At best this question brought an uncertain answer, yet designers should take heart that well over half the community still believes they can achieve great new things with hang glider design. I’ll have more from this survey in future columns. Now, to some gift ideas. ••• From Tek Flight Products comes a very lightweight camera mount and remote shutter. While you can buy fancy rigs from the camera companies, you’ll spend a lot and gain unneeded weight. Tek Flight’s system is simple, weighs barely a pound, and costs only $39 which includes shipping. You don’t need to buy a remote-capable camera, because Tek Flight also has a simple remote shutter that should work on most 35 mm cameras (an auto winder is required, but these are common). All components are very basic items but it appears to be an effective mount for the smaller cameras. Call for info and delivery at 203/379-1668. ••• Jim Lee is one of our best-known competition pilots. Yet not everyone knows he makes and sells a composite rescue toboggan called the Jetsled. Used for over-the-snow transport of injured skiers, it’s given his company — Wingover Composites — experience in making light, strong structures from exotic materials. Wingover has introduced a HG helmet line that Jim says will pass the rigid DOT motorcycle standards even while weighing only 1.5 pounds. Their Arc model features a well-considered movable chin guard that works like a full-face helmet. However, by a clever design, Wingover’s chin protector can be swiveled up to create better vision and communication for the pilot during preflight. In flight, you can cool off a bit by raising the chin guard. Testing employed such rude-sounding devices as an anvil and a pointed, weighted striker which Lee says resulted in "various [prototype] helmets lying around here with holes punched through them." After several changes of the plys of carbon and Kevlar, Wingover is ready to be DOT tested. Prices run $300 for the Arc. Wingover will also sell their ZD-7 carbon harness, though Lee admits, "Most pilots don’t like the $3,000 price tag." Call 505/758-0526 for more info on these and other products from Wingover. ••• Though our choices here are getting expensive, I’m intrigued with the SST or super-slick transport. Made from what the company calls "space-age materials," the glider transport will comfortably protect two or more gliders plus gear in a ready-to-use, roof-mounted container. A low-drag shape is standard along with a key lock system and rear entry loading. The SST intro price of $1,500 (a $300 savings) isn’t cheap but it should last through several gliders. Options include custom paint, side doors, insulation, and mounting racks. Call 307/672-6715. ••• To get additional choices at more affordable prices, get a copy of Mojo’s Gear catalog, kind of a Sharper Image for flyers. Done in full color, the 32-page catalog features hundreds of products for pilots. Produced by Hill Country Paragliding of Austin, Texas, Mojo’s Gear catalog lists many items hang glider pilots would like to own. I was impressed with the broad range of items as well as a professional layout. Many items are priced $20-50. You can also find a few deals like the FlightMate Pro GPS for $785. Call or fax toll-free at 800/664-1160 or 800/261-MOJO (fax). ••• If you sell items of a gift nature, let me know soon! So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or V-mail to 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine