ST. PAUL, MINN — When the wind howls and the snow blows over vast, frozen lakes here in the lovely Midwest, what better to do than load up a hang gliding video tape and dream about the speedy approach of spring. ••• Since reviewing Rob Reiter’s Hawaiian Flyin! video tour, several other interesting tapes have found their way to a pile growing beside my VCR. I’d be pleased to review them here and now except I haven’t found the hours to watch them all. We’ll spread them out. Who knows? Maybe you ought to send for the entire lot. Support hang gliding businessman… buy American, and all that. ••• This month we’ll look at Cloudbase III: "Hang Gliding Extreme," the slickest package yet from experienced videographer, Paul Hamilton. The entire genre of these tapes won’t reach the general public particularly well. They’re too long, have too much jargon and detail, and have too many talking heads, especially of people the general public doesn’t know. If you’re a hang glider pilot, though, these tapes offer enjoyable entertainment and several desirable attributes. ••• HG Extreme is a reasonable western site guide. Hamilton visits a few major sites and provides a visual tour far better than "There I was…" stories from your buddy’s visit. The 50 minute tape also covers a few events, in particular the Torrey Wind Sprints. As it offered close-in viewing for spectators, the picture frame is always filled with color and action. Naturally, some views are on-board flight shots. HG Extreme keeps a good pace and sprinkles the tape liberally with that perennial favorite, the landing phase. Some are gracefully achieved, but no hang gliding tape would be complete without a dose of "whacks," complete with background audio to record the abuse given by those who just whacked to those about to whack. Overall Hamilton’s production values seemed top notch to a layman like myself. The clarity of the picture was good, the copy clean. Nice pieces of music were used. The backdrops to the flying glider views are pleasing. Lots of camera angles were used. Clips were short with the vantage point varying. And overall, the pace was reasonably brisk with enough action to keep your eyes moving. The tape comes in a plastic case wrapped with a beautiful full-color cover. Call for price and availability: 702/972-3518. ••• Jay Gianforte, builder of the successful CG 1000 harness (over 700 sold), has introduced his newest: the CG 2000. This new product is not custom fit, rather being made as a harness dealers can stock. Over the years, Gianforte has discovered, "There really is an average guy. The CG 2000 is made in a couple sizes that will fit the majority of all pilots." New features include more storage area, lighter weight, less rigid foam, simplified zipper lines, and a change to plastic seat belt buckles for the main closure. Price is expected to be about $500, somwhat less than the CG 1000, which is still available for the pilot who wants a custom fit. ••• Be a better birdman! You’ve heard of the the Thermal Snooper, now consider the Thermal Rider. A computer fixer named Dave Green has used his skills to make a heatseeking instrument that he claims will "detect thermals long before a vario…" to help "find the true center in drifting or broken thermals." The unit employs miniature sensors wired to the wing tips and control frame. A blinking display directs you to warmer air. It’ll also track the air just flown through for 2-20 seconds (user adjustable). Thus "it can direct your flying from cooler air to a warmer thermal boundary." Priced at $249, Computer Doctors is selling the Thermal Rider for $199 till May 1st. Contact 301/474-3095. ••• Tom Kreyche is announcing the 1992 Cross Country Classic (or pre-"Worlds," as all the international boys call it). This will be the final tuneup before the long-awaited 1993 World Meet in the U • of A. The event will emphasize national team competition. Though many spaces are reserved for international world teams, some independent team slots are available. Contact Kreyche at 415/965-8608 for more info. ••• Finally, after years of starts and stops, the USHGA office under a persistent Jerry Bruning, has earned non-profit status! Being exempt from fed tax is fine. But as the organization isn’t focused on profits anyway, the primary benefit could be an ability to gain sponsors. For example, a legally deductible donation might inspire some corporate sponsor to help finance costs for future World Teams. Competition for the big business bucks is still fierce — especially in recessionary times. However, it’ll help and puts USHGA in a better position to make winning proposals. If you have ideas on this, contact the office at 719/632-8300. ••• All for now, diver fans… Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Call or fax to: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine