ST. PAUL, MINN. — Airwave is back! Not long after I announced that the enterprise was for sale (June ’99 "PL"), a deal was done and former European Wills Wing distributor Markus Villinger is the owner. By now, the new Austrian base for Airwave Gliders should be running and shipping gliders. They plan to add paragliders to the mix once again, although like so many PG vendors, they will have the wings sewn elsewhere. • Villinger Birdmen Enterprises will start by marketing the Pulse and Fly 2 (known to Americans as the Double Vision). Villinger also reports they will offer the Skye, which he calls "the next generation skyfloater." Most credit Villinger with inspiring Wills Wing to market their then-new Falcon for use in skyfloating — and the recent 95 mile flight by David Glover using this posture proves it is viable for more than simply drifting around the launch site. As Markus puts it, his new Skye will be the glider that "brings the fun back to a lot of pilots." With that goal, I certainly wish him Good Luck! He finally reported that his newly expanded company will also work on a new high performance design. Info: email@example.com or web: www.Airwave-Gliders.co.uk. ••• GW Meadows reported results from his Dinosaur meet. A surprisingly light turnout of pilots experienced the mildest weather of Meadows’ several meets in this location. Perhaps strong conditions in the past caused some competitors to pass up the contest. Nevertheless, results show several of America’s top pilots participated. Jim Lee continued his winning ways, taking first place in his Wills Fusion in flexwing class. And Dave Sharp took first in Class II flying his ATOS, distributed in the U.S. by Predator producer, Altair. • Among flex wing participants, the Aeros Stealth saw a great turnout, with seven (out of the 20 flexxies) participating. However, the top finishers were mostly other brands. After Lee’s Fusion honors came Mike Barber’s La Mouette Topless, Dustin Martin’s Moyes CSX, Steve Rewolinski’s Altair Predator, and Barry Bateman’s Moyes CSX. • Following the seven Stealths came the Predator with three flying plus another trio of Moyes models, and a pair each of Fusions, CSXs, and Laminars. The Topless was a loner. Among rigids the meet hosted a couple Exxtacies, an ATOS, and an E-7. Unfortunately, as the number of competitors was small, the survey of models used is too limited for other than curiosity. ••• As we continue debate about control bar wheels for contests and general use, and as drag ‘chutes remain a topic — also in pursuit of better landings in our high-performance gliders — a new idea arises from Norway. The Delta Dragger is an interesting variation on the drag ‘chute theme. Imagine a small vertical tail on a glider not unlike that used by Seedwings. Now imagine this surface being able to open laterally, unfolding as it were from the front and hinging on a vertical tube at the rear of this dorsal fin. It would set up quite a bit of drag I’d expect, just like a ‘chute. Except Delta Dragger can be retracted quite easily at which time it again acts like a tail fin, adding a measure of yaw stability to the wing. Seems like a nifty idea to me. The invention of Bjornar Ryeng (excellent English skills), Delta Dragger is now entering production. It is "produced in a solid plastic material and aluminum," Ryeng reports. Weighing less than two pounds, the drag device exposes "3.2 square feet of curved area facing the air flow," he adds. You must pull "no more than about 15 inches of rope" to get fully opened fins and you supposedly do not notice a difference in handling. Bjornar also says mounting takes five minutes when you get the Dragger and 20 seconds to fit during preflight assembly. You needn’t drill any holes in your glider’s tubing and Ryeng says it will fit "almost any glider." U.S. prices will be between $120 and $150 depending on initial production costs. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or see his website: www.infodist.no/delta. ••• Well, what did you expect? It’s getting near that season when everyone scrambles to buy gifts for the holidays, so naturally, "Product Lines" has a couple early entries. Two items caught my attention recently. • First is a neat flying toy that some of us adults may enjoy but which certainly makes an interesting (and inexpensive) gift for youngsters that tend to surround many of us during Christmas. Zing Wings are a simple foam gliders that fold up uniquely such that they take up little more space than a No. 10 business envelope. However, when launched vertically, they flip open James Bond-style, and glide freely. It always amazes me how well a piece of flat-as-a-board swept foam with its trailing edge bent upwards can fly. But it does. A child can shoot it aloft with a provided rubber band and launch stick. It’ll fly quite a distance depending on the prevalent wind (and thermal lift). And although the construction is ultra-simple, Zing Wings are quite durable… just don’t play fetch with your dog. At 2 for $5, 5 for $12, or 10 for $20 plus $3 S&H, Zing Wings are a fun bargain for all the little ones on your gift list. Span is 18 inches when open, but just like a real hang glider, it packs to about half-span. To buy: 360-802-2426 or email@example.com. • Item two is a beautifully crafted scale model hang glider "to hang in your car, office, or home," says designer Nancy J. Benoit. A designer of etched metal products, Nancy was "inspired by the countless hours I spent sitting in the fields at Morningside Flight Park watching my husband… run down the training hill with a hang glider." She adds, "I’ve noticed that there isn’t enough paraphernalia for hang glider pilots to buy… so here it is!" The sample I saw certainly shows the work of a professional and for $19.95 plus $3.95 S&H, it’s a good value. If nothing else, show this column to your spouse (or kids) and let them buy it for you. Available only in dark blue and lime green — plus bare gleaming metal — the piece is attractive enough to display proudly. Glider manufacturers are invited to inquire about ones with their logo printed on the wing. About 7 inches in span. To buy: 1-800-395-2832 or NJBmetalwork@usa.net. ••• So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930, or e-mail to CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine