ST. PAUL, MINN — September ’90 begins year #2 for this column in Hang Gliding magazine… thanks for your enthusiastic readership. This is also the month that Prez George Bush has declared to be Sport Aviation Month (thanks to a lengthy effort by the NAA). Does this mean we’ve arrived? ||| Aero towing development continues to complement the successful truck tow method initiated by ATOL. Florida designer, Bobby Bailey, has returned from a couple months in Australia helping Bill Moyes develop a prototype aero tug based on Bailey’s work for Advanced Aviation. Bailey reports the plane flies well. After further changes stall was seen at only 18 mph. Plans call for Bailey to return to Australia next year to assist with intitial production. ||| Why is Moyes so keen on this idea (that he’d spend considerably to hire and transport Bailey plus equipment costs)? A veteran towing enthusiast like Moyes may just be expanding his understanding of the art. But rumors say Moyes has also spent funds on a Horten wing derivative. Ah ha! More evidence? …to suggest “conventional” hang glider manufacturers could be eyeballing rigid wing development? If you hear any reports along these lines, pass ’em along. ||| Recently, Airwave UK announced the successful competition outing of their Mylar Magic Kiss 144 in the hands of British hotshot, Bruce Goldsmith. As you’d expect, he spoke highly of the small wing and its ability to act like a larger glider. This continues a trend in the sport, as manufacturers offer a proliferation of micro-bladewings. Wills Wing promotes their 145 HP AT with similar enthusiasm. Moyes is marketing a mini-XS and as announced last month, Pacific Airwave has certified their Magic Formula 144 to 200 pounds of pilot weight. UP International, Enterprise Wings… well, just about everybody is offering products in micro sizes. Do such small wing areas provide slow enough launch and land speeds for “normal” pilots? Are we targeting cross country speed and performance to the detriment of newcomers? Nonetheless, one has to commend the irrepressible development energy of our fine manufacturers. ||| A conversation with Steve Moyes a few weeks ago helped to focus on a favorite subject, the international market, and which manufacturers seem to dominate. Moyes again affirmed that France’s La Mouette seems top of the heap productionwise (in spite of rarely occupying that position in contest results). Steve thought La Mouette was pumping out some 1,600 gliders a year, followed by Airwave UK (he didn’t estimate, but the figure is widely thought to be 1,100 units). Wills should exceed 1,000 gliders again as America’s clear market leader. In Steve’s opinion, Moyes ranks 4th at about 1,000 units a year. What’s fascinating about this is that the majority of these (700 units) are moved through Icaro-Italy, a longtime Moyes rep’. Moyes has done well in competitions. But perhaps their best efforts have been consistent travel around the world, pushing their gliders. In this business, nothing seems to beat on-site visits by factory gurus, and the name Steve Moyes doesn’t hurt. ||| To close, Hawaiian Bill Fulton leads a group that will soon burst upon the scene with an operation many can envy, and for more reasons than Hawaii’s “Paradise” reputation. For years, Fulton and a partner have pursued a full-blown flight park concept to promote flying sports while earning a few bucks. Their dream is nearly reality. Using a 4,000-acre private estate valued in the hundreds of millions, Sport Aviation Hawaii will offer a complete valley for hang gliding and ultralight flying. You’ll be able to start on a Hang Glider Simulator®, the longest in the world, offering a quarter-mile flight into the Kualoa Ranch, itself a successful operation appealing to Japanese tourists with several activities guests can select. The Simulator will be one of several new activities. ||| Next, you may choose full “conventional” training using groomed Hang II and III sites in the Kaaawa Valley. Initial reports from students and experienced pilots are very enthusiastic. ||| Perhaps you’ll tow aloft on an ATOL-launched tandem glider in the smoothest and most plentiful lift on the island. ||| Or you could get intro training in a two-seat ultralight. Both the tandem and ultralight flights can likely roam all around the 2-mile deep, 1-mile wide valley, until recently reserved exclusively for Kualoa Ranch’s 2,000 head of cattle. Few outsiders have set foot in the stunning valley which has spent 140 years in the owners family. ||| Write Fulton at 46-389 Nahewai St., Kaneohe HI 96744, Or call the Ranch at 808/237-8529 Give the Ranch personnel who answer a chance to understand your call; they’re new to hang divers. Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Or call 612/457-7491 (days). FAX to: 612/457-8651. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine