ST. PAUL, MINN — A few things of interest again this month, as (trumpets blare!) our old faithful Hang Gliding magazine turns twentysomething. Yipes, can ya believe it? ••• Its summertime and the action is plentiful. Been doing some traveling; visited several hang gliding and ultralight dealerships (my job you know). Excitement surrounds the UP Int’l TRX. In the ’70s each new glider was heads above the rest. Those days passed into technical advances and fine craftsmanship in the ’80s. Raw leaps of performance gradually metamorphosed into professionally engineered refinements. I thought I’d heard the last of comments like, "No, really, this glider is a huge step over previous state-of-the-art. Flies better, lands easier, is lighter… blah, blah." You should judge for yourself, of course, but the TRX has earned wide praise from old timers. ••• In August, UP was out testing the TRX 140 or 145 (final sail measurements are still pending). They hope for certification by the end of September. If these rave reviews I’ve heard are substantial and not just "first blush," the TRX seems destined to earn a firm niche in American hang gliding. Whatever the final judgment, I’m pleased as punch to see the old UP solidly back in the action. ••• In non-American companies, Moyes seems more determined than ever to hold onto their part of the big U.S. market. As I write, Bill Moyes, Bobby Bailey, and crew are touring the east with their slick aerotug, and playing to impressed Yankee pilots. ••• Moyes also reports for son Steve that the California Moyes operation has stepped up efficiencies by retaining Juan Corrall who will assemble airframes and spare parts in SoCal. Office response to customers is improved by the addition of Gayle Schutte, who answers the phones and fax plus handling the bookwork. If you’ve been concerned over the quick availability of parts, try ’em again. Bill assures me things are being smoothly managed. ••• Having mentioned the aerotug, I should note their very first outing produced a sale. Yep, Sequatchie Valley Soaring, at famed Henson’s Gap near Chattanooga, Tennessee, expects to receive the remarkable machine later this fall. They plan a membership deal to fund the rig, an airstrip, hangarage, and other operational costs. Limited member slots are filling up. If interested in this exciting concept at a top soaring spot, contact Rick Jacob at 615/949-2301. ••• Jacob also reported that the Mountain Condo lodge at the well-known site is now open and booking space. He’s reportedly full already for next April’s East Coast Championship. The Condo offers three small apartments plus a kind of bunkhouse for individual pilots. ••• Another bit of Moyes-oriented news is the inclusion in that company’s gliders into a new proposed show at galaxy-famous Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Malcolm Jones has been retained by Disney as a consultant to coordinate logistics of the boat-towed hang gliding portion of the show. Four Moyes gliders have been received for use, and all aircraft will be equipped with special BRS rocket parachutes. The show will also include some ultralight action. This is all still tentative pending Disney big wigs’ final approval, but it appears the mammoth entertainment complex will again present ultralight flight to (get this!) 10-12 million annual visitors. Jones has promised to keep me informed. ••• Rich Pfeiffer is back at High Energy Sports and working hard on new projects. Ready at this time is his and Betty’s newest harness, the Tracer. The front-entry pod features an easy-up linkage allowing the pilot to de-prone easier ("like a cocoon," says Rich). It also has more storage areas, uses continuous webbing, plus it sells for $399 which qualifies as a bargain in these days of pricey high-tech harnesses. Call HES at 714/972-8186. ••• Mitch MacAleer (former Gen. Mgr. of UP) informed me that the failed Dream rigging reported last month was a Delta Wing unit. UP built a continuous cable that could not pull through the aluminum, as occurred on the failed craft. Seems DW made the wires as separate using a nico stop to secure the cable. That stop was retained at the top of the reinforced kingpost, and evidently under significant force the wire could be yanked out. Check yours! Make a correction if needed. ••• Got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset; St. Paul MN 55118. Phone or fax: 612/450-0930. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine