ST. PAUL, MINN. — Thinking small may be the reason designer Bob Trampenau’s Sensors often find themselves at the top of the stack. Long renown for beautifully shaped gliders which are meticulously built, Trampenau is also well regarded for innovative ideas. Some of these are modest when looked at individually, yet add up to overall polish. He’s been working on an improved kingpost hang system. The goal was to maintain light forces for roll or pitch up, while keeping feedback in the system when you pull in deeply. He also predicted he could do this without complicated mechanisms, seeking to produce 15-20 pounds of bar pressure when at the 55 mph Vne of his 610 model. By assembling the primary loop spreader bar behind the backup strap, Bob found his solution. This way, the backup strap has some tension while the bar is pulled in. Otherwise the very high hang point of the 610 ("one of the highest in hang gliding," says Bob), keeps the pressures light. "Such a method will work on other glider brands," adds Trampenau. It is important, however, that the backup strap be the right length… one to two inches longer than the primary. Warning: Do not make changes to your glider without consulting the manufacturer! Another change is a new tip cord arrangement, making the Sensor’s stiff, curved wingtip easier to set up. By using multiple purchases (think of a "purchase" as a pulley system without the wheels), Bob claims to have cut the effort in half. This will no doubt be a welcome change to those who have struggled with the highly-tensioned Sensor tip. Last, Seedwings has gone to an internal kingpost reflex bridle compensator using an aircraft pulley at the top. However, the Sensors will have a 4:1 ratio (others have 2:1), and owners will not have to go inside the double surface to hook up the compensator as it stays attached. ••• Another small manufacturer, Air Sports Int’l, reports growing sales. ASI acquired the rights to the Delta Wing line, including their popular Dream series. Boss Kamron Blevins says a small staff is working hard to keep up with Dream orders, leaving little time to work on their Vector advanced glider. Selling Dreams at the rate of about 100 a year, Blevins claims they’re in the black. The former proprietor of Northwing in Washington state wants to evolve his former Merger glider into the Vector. He reports pursing HGMA certification efforts, and has enlisted Mitch MacAleer for the in-air video tasks. They’ve flown a 141 ft2 model. "It’s doing very well even with pilot Woody Woodruff hooking in at 230 pounds," boasts Blevins. ••• Back east, a veteran sail maker (mainly specializing in replacement sails for ultralights), Gunnar Graubaum has been manufacturing the Mountaineer Trike. This fall, he’s introduced an aerotug version that he says is performing the task beautifully. A midwest pilot gathering including the "aerotow king of Ohio," John Leek, used the Mountaineer Tug apparently with great satisfaction. Leek was reportedly very pleased with the tug’s slow speed capability — best for hang glider towing — and the machine’s strong climb capability. The Moyes/Bailey Dragonfly may be getting lots of media attention, but trikes are also succeeding as aerotugs. For more information, contact Graubaum at 518/789-6550. ••• Following the success of USHGA’s calendar, a European version will be available for 1993. The large format "Drachenfliegen" calendar (bigger than the USHGA version) is being distributed in the United States by Airtime San Francisco. The production is superb and the European flying scenes are well chosen. This calendar has been produced for several years and has sold well in Europe. For information, contact Jeff Greenbaum at 415/759-1177. ••• In closing… another closing. The heavily-advertised Walt Disney World hang gliding (and powered parachute) aerial act has flown its last exhbition at the Epcot resort. The show, with Malcolm Jones as its coordinator, performed "without incident one," he says. "Basically, the show was discontinued because it served its purpose promoting Disney World’s 20th anniversary." Disney will retain the hang gliding gear and may use it in some future show. The cessation had nothing to do with any problems. "It’s show business," added Jones, "and shows are changed frequently to maintain viewer interest." The Surprise in the Skies spectacle ran about a year and employed several hang glider pilots from the Orlando, Florida area. ••• Room’s gone again. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Fax or message: 612/459-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine