ST. PAUL, MINN. — As I write this, the U.S. Nationals are underway and the ’95 World Meet in Spain has just concluded. ••• One wonders if a new "dynasty" is beginning? More to the point, will anyone ever beat Tomas Suchanek? Unprecedented in world hang gliding competitions, Suchanek won his third-in-a-row World Meet! A stunning accomplishment, I’m sure all hang glider pilots will join me in congratulating Tomas for winning the 1995 edition in Spain. Through eleven days of world-class flying by 190 pilots from 36 countries, Suchanek prevailed. After his again-repeat performance, it may appear all a contestant can hope for is Second Place. ••• Moyes Delta Glider is understandably pleased with the results, quickly sending out a mailer that heralds Suchanek’s and their accomplishment. While it’s Suchanek’s third World Championship title, Moyes brand can now claim five titles and even their Xtralite glider has two. Moyes had the most gliders represented in the top 50 finishing pilots. Their 16 Xtralites (32%) doubled that of the closest competitor, Airwave. • Wills had five gliders in the top 50* and was the only U.S. brand in the elite top quartile. *40th finisher, Canadian Chris Muller, was presumed to fly Wills (not identified in the news release). • High flying Jim Lee was the top-placing Yankee, finishing in 10th place on his Wills, trailed by Mark Gibson (Airwave) in 23rd, Brad Koji (Moyes) in 25th, Larry Tudor (Wills) in 33rd, Nelson Howe (Airborne) in 41st, and Mark Bennett (Airwave) in 43rd place. • Italy’s Icaro brand (once a Moyes licensee) managed third place with six of their Laminar 14s flying. The French brand, Tecma, tied for 4th with five F1s… matching Wills’ five XCs. Though French La Mouette brand is best known internationally, Tecma is a rising star and trounced La Mouette, who only earned two slots in the top 50. • As a country, Australia dominated the top quarter with 42% of all glider brands (Moyes 32%, Enterprise 6%, and Airborne 4%). England was second with 18%, followed by France with 14%. Italy had 12% and the USA came in fifth at 10% of the top 50. ••• Speaking of inter-national competitions… our representative to the FAI/CIVL (world body for hang gliding), writer Dennis Pagen, reported that the World Hang Gliding Series (WHGS) has been officially adopted and Pagen will serve on the committee that overseas its development along with Blue Sky looper John Heiney, Speed Gliding developer Murray Rose, and Joe Hayler. The contest will employ three task disciplines: Cross Country, Aerobatics, and Speed Gliding. Bids for this exciting venue are actively being solicited. Pagen indicated the planned Speed Gliding World Meet has been canceled. While it may sound like bad news, it’s actually good news. Organizer Rose has been able to secure a "major contract with the Reuters news agency" (a widely known, large, international news outfit). Pagen continued, "[Reuters] wanted a long-term contract under one format so we couldn’t have a World Meet that switched to a World Series." Pagen promised more information on this subject. The combination of cross country, aerobatics, and speed gliding seems to me to offer broad spectator appeal and Rose’s success at signing Rueters could bring massive coverage to our sport. I’ll try to keep you posted. ••• Jeff Greenbaum, owner of Airtime of San Francisco, brought not one but two new harness designs to the market. The first is his LaZer which features a "flexible back frame." The other is the Jetstream, a "competition version with full back frame." Both designs are built by Miguel Ochoa, whom Greenbaum promotes as having "20+ years of sewing experience and sewing loft management skills." Airtime plans to expand their harness manufacturing and will offer dealer pricing in the future. A unique feature of these harnesses is that "the body and main suspension system of each [harness] is the same." Greenbaum explained, "This means we will be able to convert any harness from one design to the other," ostensibly giving buyers more flexibility (or less, I guess, if moving from the more easily stowed flexible-back frame to the more supportive back-frame model). For more info, call Jeff at 415/759-1177. ••• Though they’ve been around for years now, it appears the marketing of electronic flight decks is becoming invigorated with new gizmos. U.S. distributor of the Afro line — Ikaros Sport Aviation of New York — announced two new instruments. In the Afro way, each is available in either the Cumulus shape most pilots recognize or the Micropanel shape, a larger screen with controls that appear somewhat more intuitive. The new boxes are called the Afro Easy and the Afro GPS. The Easy is an entry level model with the Cumulus cover offering variometer and altimeter for the low price of $339 with a few going for only $299. The Afro GPS, still in development, will also use the Cumulus shape and can "radio transmit all data to a Cumulus 3 or Micropanel 3" (which are top-end units; models are numbered 1, 2, and 3, each increasing in capability… and cost, of course). The Afro GPS could be carried in your harness or elsewhere. • Afro 2 models (either shape) can now be fitted with speed to fly software for a slight price increase. Call for literature: 718-777-7000. ••• After getting comments from fellow [Inter]"Netters," Danny Stephens has announced new control bar gloves, Grippies. Not mere bar mitts, Grippies are designed around a secure grip while not sacrificing feel. "Using the gloves can allow you to keep grip tape off your control bar, which may save your sail from abrasion while your glider is folded," says Stephens. Grippies can be washed and are available in S-M-L and XL sizes. Contact Angle of Attack at 209/529-9911 or, if you’re among the computer cognoscente, E-mail to DannyS12@aol.com. ••• Outta room, once again. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or V-mail to 612/450-0930, (or… New…!) E-mail: CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine