KINGMAN, ARIZ. — Where? Kingman is north of Phoenix and isn’t far from the popular soaring site of Mingus Mountain. Why am I here? Because BRS hires a large aircraft here to drop heavy weights as the company conducts final R&D tests for the Cirrus parachute. Cirrus will certify their four-seater SR20 early next year and it comes standard with a BRS ‘chute system. • Now to product news… I told you last month that I had some accessories I couldn’t fit it. ••• First off is the Dust Devil, a wind indicator but with a difference. You won’t have to go to a landing field and set up poles and flags or wind socks. Instead you can carry the indicator with you, whether on a local or cross country flight. Huh? Yep, Ray Bauer of San Diego has developed a simple, low cost device that should help all your landings be into the wind. It is a small aluminum tube (about 4" long by 1" diameter) that contains a CO2 cartridge and a quantity of orange chalk that raises a dust cloud two or three times a man’s height. It floats or is blown downwind. You load it up — the process is easy and directions clear — and carry the Dust Devil with you in flight. When landing at a field without a wind indicator, you dangle the tube from its ten-foot-long ribbon tape and release. The Dust Devil always tries to orient itself straight down to hit squarely on a hammer that punctures the CO2 cartridge. From most altitudes, you should easily be able to determine the wind. • Dust Devil sells for $39 but it can be reloaded easily with supplies you can find at many hardware stores. The chalk dust is used in snap-lines that any carpenter carries and the cartridges are used in CO2 powered guns. • Bauer Aviation Products sent me three Dust Devils with supplies of chalk and cartridges. We used them during the BRS drops and they performed as promised. They were easy to see and provided an an obvious wind indicator. In our experience during 20 mph winds, the cloud didn’t go high but spread in the line of wind across the ground. Either up or across, it was quite visible. To order or get further information, write P.O. Box 23462, San Diego, CA 92193 ($39 plus $5 S&H). ••• Next is another neat idea that I’ve heard about for years, literally, although I’ve never seen a finished article. Longtime enthusiast, Charlie Baughman has developed an inverted hang system. Yep, with his idea, you can be more sure that in a tumble, you’ll be able to maintain a grip on the control bar base tube. As most of you know, if a pilot could stay in the pendulum position relative to the glider airframe, control might be maintained and flight resumed (assuming of course that the pilot’s considerable mass doesn’t hit any tubes). "A strong, stable glider could recover to normal flight," says Charlie. • Obtaining this system won’t cost you a dime, because he’s giving it away. That’s right, free! Drawings will appear in an issue of HG soon. It makes sense, really. Why should Charlie confront the legal liability of selling them… especially when the system is so wonderfully simple? Baughman is not marketing this to encourage aerobatics (though certainly some will embrace it for precisely that reason). Rather, it could make hang gliding safer. • This system — which Charlie says he’s worked on since tumbling in 1995 — will allow a pilot to "fall" toward the airframe only 15 inches. It works via attachments to the control bar corners. A line runs from one corner through rings attached to the harness and back to the other corner. This permits full lateral movement. "You can stand up for landing and have full push-out," says Charlie, "though the flare is incomplete unless you release the line on one side." That’s exactly what he does; "I’m not hooked up on take off or landing," Baughman adds. • Soon, he proposes to test it with a "flipped glider." The reality, he says, is that when you tumble you don’t even have time to think about holding on. "The glider takes off — gets ahead of you — and you lose control quickly," testifies Baughman. As a member of the Been There/Done That crowd, he knows the feeling intimately. • I have heard at least a dozen bright folks in hang gliding say they were going to tackle inverted hang systems, but Baughman’s effort is the first time someone claimed (to me) to have succeeded. I think it is an important addition to the hang gliding scene and I strongly commend Charlie for persevering. ••• Maybe it isn’t as momentous as Baughman’s inverted system, but Peter Birren eMailed to say he’s now sold over 450 of his Linknife Releases. His latest customer: NASA, who bought them to answer a need for a "sure-fire, light weight method of cutting away the initial drogue chute of a new re-entry vehicle." NASA bought four, "not at $600 each but at the normal amount of $15," says Birren. (Thanks for saving us tax payers a few bucks, Peter.) • To get more information, call 847-640-0171. Send eMail to: RHGPA@aol.com. He’s got a web page, too, so you Netheads can seek him out for faster info (search under Linknife or post an eMail. ••• Sales success is also coming to Flytec USA and their nifty instruments. With prices starting at $475 (3005 model), you can get into electronic flight decks quite inexpensively. Or you can spend $1,100 on the 4030 model that has all the bells and whistles. Flytec USA also released their GPS Access version to the US market after extensive software work with Tomas Suchanek and Larry Tudor. • After selling out of the first two batches "almost immediately," they’ve started taking further orders. They will also stock the year-and-a-half-old 4010 and 4020 models ($585 and $850). "The new line can be interfaced with a PC to up/download flight information and vario settings," with shareware available on their website. Call for info at 800-662-2449 or eMail to USAFlytec@aol.com. ••• One last neat idea… A New Zealand pilot, Nigel Leigh, is offering software called FlightView that will take vario download info and turn the data into a 3D file. The file can then be displayed "on the PC screen in full color and three dimensions," says Leigh. "The image includes the track of the hang glider superimposed on a user-entered ‘map’ of mountains, towns, lakes, etc.," he continued. The user can pan up, down, left, and right, zoom in and out, or view from a different angle. He even included a "Fly" button "which sets off a miniature hang glider flying the course!" FlightView is written for Windows 95 only at present. Call 970-544-0720 or eMail to firstname.lastname@example.org. ••• Gee… outta room again. I’ll have news of Brightstar’s new Millennium and Flight Designs’ Exxtasy next month. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or Vmail to 612-450-0930. Or eMail to CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine