ST. PAUL, MINN. — Pacific Airwave is using an old but proven promotion (as the Electra Flyer company once did). They plan a "class contest," a concept used in several sports. Such meets require a large number of the same model and PacAir’s Vision qualifies. Boss Ken Brown notes, "Recognizing the success of fleet racing that sailing has made so popular, we are beginning a fun event… the Vision Classic." He adds that many of their dealers have suggested and support this plan. Details are still being finalized, but dates have been set: Oct 17-18 in Ellenville, NY (host: Mountain Wings); Oct 24-25 in Chattanooga (Lookout Mountain); Oct 31-Nov 1 at Nags Head (Kitty Hawk); a date in February in San Diego (Hang Gliding Center); and Mar 6-7 at Milpitas (Mission Soaring & Airtime). The contest is aimed at those who generally don’t compete, with tasks being duration, spot landings, and possibly a pylon course. They’ll also offer tuning and safety seminars. PacAir will host a barbecue at each location. To get the latest on this fun flying program, call PacAir at 408/422-2299 or call any of the dealerships mentioned. ••• A Hang Glider Dealers Meeting is scheduled at Mission Soaring on October 7th, a timely event near the fall meeting of the USHGA board of directors (which should allow some eastern dealers to participate). The Bay area shop will be busy that month, with an Instructor’s course held a few days earlier. Contact Mission at 408/262-1055. ••• Wills Wing has achieved noteworthy success at telling the general aviation world about paragliding and hang gliding. They’ve managed two stories in the AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Ass’n) magazine, AOPA Pilot. The journal is only circulated to members of AOPA; you can’t buy it any other way. But nearly 300,000 members will see the story in the aviation world’s second largest magazine (Flying has about 15% greater circulation). Famous writer, Richard Bach, flew a paraglider and wrote a story for the AOPA magazine that consumed a generous nine pages in full color. Next, Eric Fair will prepare a hang gliding story for the magazine with a short piece from a magazine editor who went tandem with Rob McKenzie. Attaboy, Wills! ••• Now convincingly the largest of U.S. manufacturers, Wills is preparing to celebrate its 20-year anniversary in February ’93. Only one other builder ever reached this mark (Delta Wing, which closed soon after). ••• Acting a distributor for Free Flight Enterprises, Wills offers a new size PDA emergency ‘chute, a 24 gore, tested at 450 pounds. This new, tandem-capable canopy is part of the FFE line that includes a 20, 22, and 24 gore PDA (retail: $480, $500, and $545). The ‘chute maker has dropped their 18 gore model because they feel "too many pilots are making the choice of size based on cost and weight, as opposed to safety." This concern is echoed by most parachute builders. ••• Interest continues to grow slowly but surely for various electronic gizmos that aim to help you find the ever-elusive thermal. Doctor Dave promotes his Thermal Rider in a descriptive piece of literature. The "black box" appears to be a sophisticated instrument performing a simple task. Succinctly stated, "[it] detects minute differences in air temperature across the wingspan, helping you to identify lift and sink, beyond the ability of human perception or a variometer." By audio and a small visual display the Thermal Rider identifies the air temperature trend you have encountered over a 20-second period, providing a general steer from cooler to warmer air. Another indicator gets more specific and, by comparing air at each tip, helps you decide which way you must turn to enter a region of warmer air (hopefully thermal lift). The $399 device (intro priced at $220) can be ordered by calling 301/474-3095 or fax 474-0805. Ask for their leaflet. ••• A couple relocations as we close. Bob and Gayle Schutte (Schutte Sails) have left Seedwings and Moyes, respectively. Bob will take, "a good position in a family business… I could not refuse." He will continue with his sailmaking in a loft he plans to construct. Meanwhile Gayle is vacating her role as office manager of Moyes California. "[I’m] sad to leave and will miss everyone," says Gayle. "Working with Moyes was fun and rewarding. I wish Moyes California good luck." The two also represent France’s Cross Country magazine and sell the Swiss Swing paraglider line. ••• After a notable eight years with Kitty Hawk Kites, Steve Wendt plans to open his own hang gliding shop in central Virginia, near the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Wendt will call it Blue Sky and will feature tandem towing instruction. Steve brings his experience at KHK and will offer a full schedule of events throughout the year. FMI: 703/432-6557. Outta room. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or message to 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine