ST. PAUL, MINN — The fall board of directors meeting in beautiful Salt Lake City focused on paragliding. Here’s a few figures picked from several conversations… • APA membership is up to 800 nationally, close to APA Prez Peter Zimmerli’s projections of a year ago, but still a far cry from Europe’s alleged three to five times their hang gliding population. • USHGA membership climbed modestly but steadily to over 8,000 in recent months; 364 are paragliding-division members, "most of whom are HG pilots also doing PG," says E. D. Jerry Bruning. • Paul Voight’s survey of 105 USHGA Chapters brought 63 replies (60%). Forty percent were "Pro paragliding at site but against merger." In a separate question, a plurality (64%) said the Chapter was against any merger. Ironically, a majority (54%) have paragliding members in their Chapter, and 78% of those responding did allow paragliding at feasible sites. However, a third indicated other specific bad experiences with paragliding activities at their sites. • Last, both USHGA office staff and editor recently report 70-75% not in favor of an HG/PG merger. The ballot/survey just mailed is contributing information. • Reminiscent of the ultralight issue a decade back, be advised no plans for any merger are in board discussions. ••• Seedwings’ Bob Trampenau called to correct last month’s mention of his 610 model. In fact, some are flying now! He observes his company has a "three month backlog of twenty units" at this time. Bob was very pleased with the test rig performance of the 144. The wing boasts the right new features: rear set up, non-removable VG cord, and enclosed wing tips plus it sprouts the distinctive Sensor tailfin. Call Trampenau at 805/968-7070 for further information. ••• Wills plans to run an ad promoting their dealers who maintain demo gliders for customers. Showing good coordination between factory and dealer, the customer has a wide opportunity to fly-before-you-buy. The hang gliding industry leads sport aviation by offering demos and factory- plus dealer-test-flown aircraft. Ultralights and kitplanes are overwhelmingly sold as kits, mostly to people who have not yet flown the aircraft. Surprised? Hang gliding’s done proud! ••• Knowing each dealer can’t afford to have all seven current models, Wills will send their demo team on the road. They’re at work on a ’92 schedule. Orders are strong, with deliveries quoted at 10 weeks (some inventory is available). In recent dealer communications, Wills clearly specified, "Hang gliding is still the main part of our business, and we are still committed to doing the best job possible in hang gliding." ••• Continued effort by Bobby Bailey and great close-in support from the Draggin’ Flyers (Orlando, FL) have spawned two aerotowing offspring. Both Chattanooga, Tennessee shops will offer aerotowing. Lookout Mountain is already operating from their 22-acre landing area where they hosted a successful clinic from Moyes/Bailey and the Dragonfly tug. Many solo tows were liberally sprinkled with tandem flights, all drawing rave reviews. Sequatchie Valley Soaring hosted an earlier clinic a valley away and expects their tug in December or January. Each business is offering membership deals. Contact Lookout at 404/398-3433; reach SVS at 615/949-2301. Call the Draggin Flyers at 904/775-3252 (Steve & Barb Flynn) or 407/657-1699 (prez Campbell Bowen). ••• Wrapping up with three aftermarket products… • Rob Reiter’s newest video deserves applause. Just because hang gliding "works" in front a video camera doesn’t mean all productions are created equal. Professional technique means a better tape. Hawaiian Flyin’ is smoothly done, moody with soft views of our exciting way to fly. Rob’s mellow style befits Hawaii and its pastoral yet thrilling soaring adventures. Other video tapes show scenes of interest to pilots; HF will appeal to anyone (though some won’t last for all 45 minutes of running time). See Rob’s ad for further info. • Christmas gifts for pilots with everything? How about a carbon/Kevlar lightweight full-face helmet from Bieffe of Italy. Promotions Unlimited is selling the MX helmet for $207 ($220 with graphics), postpaid. The helmet is certified exceeding basic DOT standards. Call 619/229-0048. • You can pick up a custom-made, polyfilled Ultrex flight suit, highly recommended by Jim Reynolds. Call Stewart of Oregon at 503/475-7650. Price is $100-150. • Maybe a flying trip to warmer climes sounds good? John Olson is headed south of the border again, including Guatemala. John guides tours through the winter season, so contact Welcome Aboard Travel at 703/828-4000 for costs and availability. Olson’s tours have earned good reviews from pilots. ••• Outta room. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call or fax: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine