ST. PAUL, MINN. — A new soaring season approaches and we are now in the month when two major contests will again dominate the news in hang gliding. After several years, the Wallaby and Quest meets have grown beyond their American base. These two season openers now influence the entire world of hang gliding. lll And another de facto annual event has been slated again. The 2003 World Record Encampment that produced two years of record flights in the flatlands will occur again in Zapata, Texas in two sessions. A first session June 15-28 and June 29 to July 12. We’ll hope for more big things from the far southern tip of the USA. If you’re interested in participating, communicate to firstname.lastname@example.org. lll By press time, the move of Betty Pfeiffer’s High Energy Sports should be complete. This longtime vendor to hang gliding (and to ultralight powered parachute producers, by the way) has been stable in its old location for a long time. But progress keeps happening. Betty writes, “I have been pretty busy. I am in the process of moving the shop to 1081 Shepard Street Suite A, Anaheim, CA 92806. My new phone number will be 714-632-3323. Fax is 714-632-6622 and E-mail Betty@highenergysports.com. My old phone number will work for a short time.” The e-mail address is also different than the AOL one many of used for her, so, customers, please note these changes. lll Speaking of parachutes, the king of hang gliding importing, GW Meadows, reported that his JustFly operation has added a new product line. “I’ve picked up the Metamorfosi line of ‘chutes. The Conar [model] HG reserve is a patented design with high internal pressure with small size.” High internal pressure is another way of saying the canopy is small — thus highly loaded — but boss Angelo Crapanzano is a longtime guru of hang gliding emergency parachutes with over 250 “saves” to his credit. He’s learned the fine points of these canopies very well and has a long track record. I’ve been in the parachute game myself for 15 years and he was an oldtimer when I arrived. As if to prove its worth, Meadows notes that such world champion pilots as Manfred Rhumer and Robbie Whittal are “firm supporters of this canopy.” GW also indicated that the Conar utilizes a special round, braided bridle for “twist resistance.” Metamorfosi canopies are German DHV certified. Info: JustFly.com or dial 252-480-3552. lll Actually Metamorfosi is having a good run of penetrating the American market as they also enlisted major U.S. paragliding supplier Superfly. “In keeping with our philosophy of providing the most state of the art technology for the US Paragliding population, we have received the exclusive distribution rights for Metamorfosi paragliding reserve parachutes in the USA,” says Superfly. They say that the Metamorfosi PG line is characterized by “super re-enforced parachutes with paragliding specific packing and deployment bags that are both light and compact.” While they also sell DHV-certified parachutes from Gin and Firebird, they feel “Metamorfosi is the obvious choice for those that demand what is absolutely the most high end reserve parachute available.” More info: 4superfly.com. lll I wrote last month about Davis Straub’s use of a parachute when his ATOS broke after a sudden dive. He expressed concern over the descent rate of his little 16-gore ‘chute. In response, his Oz Report got a reply from Metamorfosi boss, Angelo Crapanzano. As part of his remarks to Straub, he wrote, “In my web page I do suggest to choose a size which will give you an equivalent height of 4.25 feet, with a maximum for a young athletic pilot of 5.5 feet. The ‘equivalent height’ is the height of a jump, which is equivalent to your sink rate under canopy. I do prefer to speak about equivalent height, instead of sink-rate, because it’s much easier to visualize it and is linear with the impact energy. If you fall from a double height you’ll hit twice as hard the ground.” Check the chart for yourself at metamorfosi.com, then click the Conar button. lll After going head over heels, Davis says he will have a tail on his new ATOS in time for the Wallaby/Quest events this month. A.I.R. has several tailed ATOS gliders flying but tails for hang gliders are hardly new. Well over two decades ago, the Seagull V used a tail and of course the even older Quicksilver (hang glider not powered ultralight) had a tail as did other designs. Bill Bennett Delta Wing Kites experimented with them and other companies also looked into the idea. u All of this work attempts to impart a higher measure of stability on our hang gliders. The idea never caught on and maybe it never will. Some industry leaders — Pearson from Wills Wing and Holtz from Icaro — doubt that tails are particularly effective. This has do with several technical points but also factors in the downwash from a wing in flight. u Therefore tails laid right on the keel aft of the wing center section may be more decorative than aerodynamically potent. To address that particular issue T-tails are coming. A British pilot has an early leg up on the T-tail concept with rather expensive carbon fiber version that weighs under 30 ounces. Info: email@example.com. 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… but you can still use CumulusMan@aol.com for the foreseeable future. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine