ST. PAUL, MINN. — Response to the mention of Mondial De L’Air (the French light aviation airshow) was surprisingly strong. Though I believed Americans were only mildly interested in international hang gliding news, evidently some readers perceive that European innovations are worth following more closely. Examples of recent impactful developments include topless gliders and D-cell rigid wings… both ideas sailed across the Atlantic to significantly affect the wings we buy and fly here at home. Fascinating. • Anyway, let me provide an address to write for info (several of you asked). Contact: Edition Retine (the same as the publishing office of Vol Libre), 3 rue Ampere, 94200 Ivry-sur-Seine, FRANCE. Call: 011-33-1-46-72-74-60 or fax to 011-33-1-46-58-97-52. Though a 1999 event appears certain, no date has been announced to my knowledge. ••• John Heiney’s new Altair company is about to offer their new Saturn hang glider, proving this isn’t a one-glider company. Every now and then a new glider comes along, but failing to acquire enough market mass, it disappears without a follow-on design ever emerging. Altair appears to have passed this point. • However, while we await more news on the Saturn, Heiney is justifiably proud of achievements by his kingposted Predator in a competition world of topless gliders. John writes, "Paris Williams — who travels for us on the demo circuit — flew his first season of competition this year, and so far he has finished ninth overall at the Sandia Classic and ninth overall at the Nats. Of course the foreign pilots whipped up on the Yanks again, but Paris finished third among the Americans." Understandably impressed with Williams, Heiney added, "And this on a stock, kingpost glider (Predator, of course). With the tragic loss of Brad plus the retirement of Lee and Howe, Paris could be one of the new world team boys. The thing about Paris that impresses me is his consistency. He finished right around ninth every day of the Nats. He really enjoys competition and wants to make the world team." ••• Davis Straub and his "Oz Report" kept wired pilots informed of meet results out in Washington state (a familiar stomping ground for Straub). The Chelan XC Classic attracted almost as many pilots as big national contests, known as it is for excellent over-the-desert cross country potential. • The unofficial results according to Davis show an impressive performance by the Exxtacy — and odds are this isn’t just because Exxtacy is what Straub flies these days. Both top spots were filled with Exxtacy gliders, in the hands of Scott Rutledge in first place and Dave Sharp in second. Wayne Leuth took third in a SX. The first ten places included a total of four Exxtacys, two Fusions, and one each of the SX, a CSX, a Klassic, and a Ram Air. • Though kingpost and topless had more equal numbers than the Atlantic Coast Championships or the Nationals, the continued success of the Exxtacy may foretell the future of competition gliders. No question — certainly when you add the Brightstar Millennium — D-cell rigid wings are enjoying their time in the limelight (although we’ve seen no proof they’ll knock off topless or even the better kingpost gliders). • Straub himself ended up in sixth place. Thanks for the news, Davis! ••• Also out west, the 1998 King Mountain Meet drew well, counting 38 pilots with a score at the end. More notably than at the big national meets with top-ranked pilots, the King Mountain event seemed to deliver fun in a contest environment. Anyone who supports competition agrees that such regional meets are important to develop top pilots for world meets. • Letters via eMail give lots of credit to explain the enjoyable experience many had. "Lisa Tate did an excellent job as meet Director and kept it safe and fun," wrote Kevin Frost. Agreeing that it was a well-run meet, Randy Chaffin added, "Lisa Tate… deserve[s] all the credit in my book." • The winner was Heiner "Pete" Biesel, followed by Al Whitesel and Ken Muscio in third. • Among product observations in the contest (a hallmark of "Product Lines" reporting), Frost expressed, "I didn’t notice the topless gliders really doing much better than the blade wings… but the Exxtacy clearly was a superior wing." ••• To finish, we return to the Mondial story from July’s column. You may recall I wrote excitedly about a French D-cell glider called the Ixbo. Since that story broke, Moyes America honcho, Ken Brown, faxed to say that his organization has secured the distributorship to Tecma’s Ixbo. He expected to have two on hand as you read this, and will sell them at $9,495. To see more on this high performance wing on the Internet, use http://members.aol.com/tecmasport. Call 415-753-9534 or eMail: FlyaMoyes@aol.com. • Moyes America also felt required to note that the replacement Moyes sails available from Airfoil Sales of Australia (mentioned in July 1998 edition of this column), "are not in any way similar to an authentic Moyes Delta Gliders Replacement sail." The U.S. Moyes distributor detailed their comments saying that Airfoil Sales patterns, "are over five years old and do not include factory specified updates." Airfoil surely thinks their sales will work fine and that the customer should choose. Moyes agrees adding, "Buyer beware." • Moyes America is proud to announce that six more Dragonfly tugs are up and running since it took over Moyes distribution in the USA. A great plane and improved support, "are encouraging flight parks to utilize the Dragonfly as the primary tool of the trade," boasts Brown. ••• Outta room again. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call (new area code!) 651-450-0930, or eMail: CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine