ST. PAUL, MINN. — Results are in from the World Record Encampment. In short it was not the year most hoped for due to the massive rainfall Texas sustained. The bad weather was north of Zapata, but it significantly affected those hang glider and paraglider pilots who had converged on the south Texas town. Many pilots had traveled a long way, some internationally. Many got skunked. lll However, some records were set and FAI has already approved a few. s In a “joint flight,” both Pete Lehmann and Mike Barber were awarded the Straight Distance to a Declared Goal record of 516 km (322.5 miles). Lehmann flew a Wills Talon 150 and Barber flew a Moyes Litespeed 4. s Paraglider pilots were perhaps the most celebrated of the 2002 Zapatans since two pilots managed record on successive days (before the rains started). Dave Prentice flew his Ozone Proton GT Small for 386 kilometers (241 miles) earning a Straight Distance record. s Dave’s time in the limelight was for a mere 24 hours. Though it had not received sanction at press time, Will Gadd started an hour earlier the next day flying his Gin Gliders Boomerang Medium and set a new (as yet unofficial) world paragliding record at 423 kilometers (263 miles). • Another record that gained quick approval was Bo Hagewood’s Speed Over a Triangular Course of 100 km at a record 42 km/h (26 mph) on his Aeros Combat 2. s Congratulations to all. lll From across the big pond come results from European Hang Gliding Championships. No one will be surprised to hear Manfred Ruhmer won it, but perhaps you’d like to see how the Euros choose their gliders. The results differed a bit from the big Florida meets last spring. s One thing remains the same: Moyes stayed solidly on top, with an impressive 34% of the field. They had nearly a 10-point lead on the next contender which was Icaro (25%). Another good notch back was Aeros at 18% of the field of 99 flex wings. s Those were the big three and the closest to them was La Mouette at 7%. Trailing even further was Wills Wing at 3%, AirBorne at 4%, and a smattering of others including Avian, Seedwings Europe, Airwave, UP, and three of a glider called the Carl Haman Relief Quasar. lll Special focus was given to the Chelan Worlds Women’s competition where 20 pilots were registered. Kari Castle easily maintained her position at the top of the stack, followed by Claire Vassort in second. Manfred Ruhmer won Class 2 and Christian Ciech won Class 5. s Do women choose the same or different gliders from men? Well, 20 is hardly a valid sample size and contest pilots don’t necessarily fly what the rest of us do. But surveying the gliders selected by female pilots at the Chelan meets a similar distribution. Moyes holds the lead at 35%, trailed somewhat evenly — and distantly — by Icaro (15%), La Mouette (15%), Aeros, AirBorne, and Seedwings Europe (10%). No female was registered on a Wills Wing. lll In glider news, the rigid wing crowd was again enjoying some excitement in the northwest USA. The Chelan meet had 41 Class 5 rigid wings (with control bar) registered and ten Class 2 (faired) rigid wings. Among these, the Swift Light was attracting lots of attention. s After San Francisco’s Brightstar licensed the design to Belgium’s Aeriane, the glider got more complex and heavier. A fully faired motorglider version was introduced some years ago. s But now, with Manfred Ruhmer flying one at the Quest meet and with him returning to Chelan on a Swift Lite, it appears the Belgian company is finding new interest from the hang gliding community. s The Oz Report, which covers the contest scene in depth, published comments from various participants flying the Swift Lite. A recent edition asked, “The big question… how is the Swift Light different than the Swift? Robin Hamilton, who has been flying his [original] Swift a lot lately, said that the Swift Lite has much better response,” due, he says, to lighter wings and the addition of rudders. The cage is shorter which makes it quite a bit easier to foot launch. Swift Lite can fly slower and pilots felt that it would be quite a bit easier to foot land, though Davis asks, “What’s the point when you’ve got that nice wheel?” Manfred Ruhmer said that he really enjoys flying it, feeling the Swift Lite provides pilots with “much better viewing than the Swift.” My experience flying the Swift confirms an obstructed visibility from the high performance rigid wing. lll Tails are gaining a toehold on rigid wings. Tails aren’t new; hang gliders have used them on and off for decades. Now A.I.R.’s ATOS is sprouting them. According to Web writer, Davis Straub, his ATOS V-tail “works with all ATOSes and the Exxtacy.” Regarding flight characteristics, Straub writes, “The glider now feels rock solid. No longer does it move around in pitch. I’m astounded by the difference.” The fitting, a sleek looking composite construction, sells for close to $400 but is getting good reviews. According to Straub, the non-articulating, lifting surface “dampens roll and pitch” somewhat “increasing bar pressure.“ He summarized with this comment: “It is hard to belief that these changes have made such a dramatic improvement in the feel of the glider.” lll So, got news or opinions? Send ‘em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930; please note my new e-mail address of News@ByDanJohnson.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine