ST. PAUL, MINN., — I don’t believe I’ve noted so much buzz about a harness since Wills Wing first introduced the Z1-2-3… series. Maybe the Woody Valley from Europe, but even that popular brand name never created what you’d call a "stir." ••• Regardless of the past, Jay Gianforte’s CG Carbon Harness has people talking (and writing in the case of Internet messages). Jay’s enterprise, called Center of Gravity, first became known nationally in 1984 with the C-G 1000 and 2000 models. He says "We have created the Carbon C-G with carbon graphite molded into a durable aerodynamic shape and glass smooth finish." Gianforte says 30% of the drag on a hang glider can be caused by the pilot, so his sleeker solution may boost your glide angle. Certainly Jim Lee’s futuristic hard-shell harness of year’s back had some of this advantage, but the harness was not widely available. Center of Gravity is clearly hoping to capitalize on that interest only they’ll do like the Dorito chip people… they’ll make more. • The most interesting feature is the inflatable chest cushion and shoulder pads which reportedly do wonders for the pilot comfort. For "stiffy" pilots, this may be considered a necessary accessory, since those wings can make even better use of a more streamlined pilot. With water, radio and oxygen in pockets under one arm and the parachute mounted under the other, the hard shell smoothness is preserved. • Bob Lowe of Colorado writes, "Very warm, balanced, functional, automatic tail-lifting feature for take-off and landing works amazingly well… Jay must have really spent a lot of time on this one." After sometime "beta" testing with an early Carbon C-G, he feels "it will quickly be a ‘must-have’ in the world of hybrids [and] toplesses. • Jay makes one point succinctly, "If removing the king post helps, think what this will do." According to web writer, Davis Straub, "Jim Lee ordered one." Impressive! Info: CGravity@dreamscape.com. ••• In mentioning Wallaby regarding the Open and Quest Air for the Nationals, I left out the other active towpark in central Florida. Gregg MacNamee runs Graybird AirSports and operates the Dunnellon Airport. Located 16 miles west of main north-south route I-75 on Highway 484, he offers hang gliding, paragliding, paramotor and ultralight flying. Flight training, sales, and service are available seven days a week. Greg writes, "This airport has 500+ acres square clear space, two paved runways 4,875 feet long, a disc golf course, bathroom with hot showers, store/office, and hangar space." Info: 352-489-9969 or firstname.lastname@example.org ••• Up north in the greater Chicago area, the Hang Glide Chicago group (1 hr. west) or Surf Air (NW of Milwaukee) each expect to have two tugs operating, according to Steve Revelinski. But instead of working exclusively with the Dragonfly, this group is using a modified Kolb Aircraft tug based on an apt-sounding combination of two of that company’s models. Kolb is one of the most respected names in ultralight aviation and I’ve flown all their aircraft. They fly wonderfully but are slow enough that I can visualize them being great tugs when properly configured. Members of these operations, aided by Harold’s Flying Service (at the Leland, IL site), have refined an early Kolb into a machine the company can reportedly now supply. They believe it is more stable in rougher conditions than a Dragonfly. • Steve also related a fascinating story about Harold’s work on a DC-3 being modified so it can carry a dozen hang gliders! Back in early June it was in Indiana being refurbished. I’ll bet we hear more about that project. Info: 414-557-4041. ••• Out west, the Sierra Dragonfly Club has been operating most of this year at the Carson City Airport. Steve Lantz (the founder of Second Chantz parachutes) "has built some real nice hangars on the airport to store all of our flying toys," writes Ken Munn. Some extra hangars were also available, though those things can change quickly. If you fly Nevada you should check out the operation. Info via AirMunn@aol.com ••• The Mosquito power harness continues to make converts from those who wouldn’t have anything to do with power. One tale I was told, about a pilot who powered all the way to 14,000 feet on the gallon and a half fuel tank, makes the case pretty convincingly. Even if that story may stretch reality, the fact remains that some pilots who don’t live near mountains — and that means lots of Yankee pilots — yearn for the ability to gain altitude for soaring. To some pilots, powering up and then shutting down is easier than towing which requires expert assistance. According to importer Bill Fifer, North American sales are past 50 units by now, at $4,700 a copy. Pilots compliment the relatively quiet and efficient operation, quick assembly, and general ease of use. Info: 616-922-2844. ••• In closing I have to tell you that my "day job" at BRS was exciting recently, after the JFK Jr. thing preempted every other news item in the country. Our company’s rocket-deployed parachute system for the Cirrus SR20 4-seater aircraft was shown on numerous national television broadcasts for three days running. It nearly swamped the company with phone calls and the value of BRS stock shot up 175% on volume four times heavier than any prior single day. With remarkable timing, Cirrus finally delivered SR20 #1 to its first customer right in the middle of this Kennedy event. • John also flew a powered parachute ultralight and visited the BRS Oshkosh airshow booth two years ago. While lamenting the loss of a fellow sport aviator, BRS found itself in the spotlight of national attention. ••• So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to: 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. Messages or fax to 651-450-0930, or e-mail to CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine