To provide the best support and service to our customers Mission Soaring Center chose several decades ago to limit the number of manufactures it could represent. MSC focused on established manufacturers primarily here in the USA which could provide consistent exceptional quality, industry leading safety results, and a range of products that could satisfy the size, talent range, and flying styles of our clientele.
We have a demo version of most of the gliders we sell available for potential clients to test fly. Once a client has decided upon the model and size, the next step is to determine the sail colors and any accessories the pilot may want to add. We then place an order with the manufacturer. Rarely will a given manufacturer have the model and colors chosen in stock so the glider will most likely be made from what has been ordered. It is not uncommon for a hang glider to taker several months to be made, tested and shipped. Many customers will even request custom sail patterns.
Ocassionaly Mission Soaring Center will purchase used gliders and resell them. Used gliders are all given full tear down inspections and test flown before being sold. For many, buying a used glider is the quickest cheapest route.
Buying hang gliding equipment is not like buying a stereo or a book. Even veteran pilots rely on the experience and support of other pilots, their club, and their local hang glider shop to help make their flying safe and satisfying. Manufacturers would be happy to sell direct and cut out the middleman if they weren't convinced that dealers are an important part of the flying equation: good for the sport and good for you, the pilot. Is your shop living up to that trust?
A good shop will help you make the right equipment decisions: choices that are a good match for skill level and flying "style". Sure, dealers will have their favorite models, but they won't push an advanced glider on a hang 2 pilot just to sell a glider that's been on the shelf too long.
Mission Soaring Center LLC, won't show you a glider you shouldn't be flying. We stock an extensive demo fleet. We test fly every new glider, and don't rest until it flies right. We work closely with the manufacturers to improve handling and durability. We remove the sail, inspect, overhaul, and test fly every used glider we sell.
The used gear market can be especially treacherous. Old gliders are cheap, but no bargain for the new student. The wrong glider will be disappointing, if not dangerous for a novice pilot. To say nothing of hidden damage that can turn a bargain into an expensive mistake. Your dealer should be selective about the used gliders he offers: only good flying, carefully overhauled models.
It's an expensive proposition to keep state-of-the-art gliders for training these days. But you will progress faster if you train on the model of glider you will eventually buy. And harnesses are like shoes; some just don't fit your body -- a good shop should have a selection of harness styles to try on, and a place to test hang and adjust the rigging on a a stationary control frame.
Let's face it, the sport needs new pilots. Without the support of more new pilots, we won't see those new, improved gliders, harnesses, and varios each year. We grouse when our old gear is obsolete in a few years, but who doesn't want the technology to progress? And new pilots contribute fresh energy to maintain existing sites and help open new ones.
Schools spend time and money introducing the sport to future pilots. They turn out skilled, safe pilots that are easy to share the air with and don't jeopardize flying sites.
Who's first in line to benefit when a shop supports the local club and flying sites? Darn right -- the pilots. A good shop should be involved with the local flying community by supporting club activities and flying sites. That's the way it should be. Maintaining local flying sites is the other half of dealer support and service. You can't generally get much use from a hang glider in your own back yard.
A shop can provide the daily services that are tough for the local club. Visiting pilots find a reliable source of site information, paper work and pilot contacts for rides and guides. Locals have a ready supply of site and weather condition info. Heading out of town? Your shop should be able to tell you what to expect and who to contact.
You won't find better value for your hang gliding dollars than at Mission Soaring. Add our support and service to competitive prices and you'll find yourself a winner.