As a dealer for
Eipper Formance, I thought the name change to Eipper Aircraft was
a fine idea. It portrayed the company as thinking ahead to the newer
type planes that were on the drawing boards. Left behind was the
play on words 'high performance' that the ulralight world had gotten
used to. Eipper was the key word. "are you selling Eippers?" people
would ask. Yes and they are now becoming proper little aircraft.
The GT-400 was such a proper little aircraft. Eipper had designed the 400 based on a survey taken at the dealer seminar. Most wanted an enclosure for less than perfect days, ailerons would be standard of course, tricycle gear for ease of operation, etc. The entire ultralight community had deep respect for the Eipper Aircraft Company. They had done it right. They required dealers to train purchasers, preventing accidents. They required dealers to carry parts for the inevitable problems that frail, light craft succumb to. And they always had parts and new designs available too.
The company had more than 100 employees at the height of the boom years. Many were hired out of the dealer network to perform new job descriptions. The 1983 Dealer Seminar was a grand afair also, held at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The program was totally prepared by Eipper and kept us all busy all day with little interaction among dealers.
There were lots of blazers there, a term for the company managers attending the show. I heard people talk about various aspects of the business that I had never heard before. Lots of them too ! Jim Newby talked about the many types of manuals available, operator, parts and prices, product, accessory, service manuals, and owners manuals. Lots of paper and lots of new business technology. Sally Muehl talked about shipping planes and the truck line problems, Tom Franklin discussed warrantee claims. John Lasko gave he details of the warrantee and its relation to the dealer. Tom Price gave a long and technical discussion of designing planes, the theory of flight testing and all the V speeds and how they affect uls.
Dale Salem talked about safety, and accident prevention. He also discussed the new hand deployed chutes and training systems. Lucky Campbell talked about a four cylinder engine that Quicksilver was developing that weighed fifty pounds and produced fifty horsepower. We all loved it since we would be dealers for the new engine. Walter Cole gave a good talk on how to best spend advertising dollars at the local level. Eric Gilliatt gave a talk on the type of person that was buying Quicksilvers and where they first saw the planes. Several of the previous speakers were noticeably absent during the conference due to unexplained illnesses. Walter Cole again spoke on sales techniques. Coleman Welte spoke on airframe problems and solutions. I should have given part of this course as many of the dealers I had had time to speak to, hadn't a clue as to how to build or teach pilots to fly. I also found that many of them had sold only a handful of planes. Tom Drisdale spoke on the new Rotax being sold starting in 83. John Lasko spoke about new products being offerred in the next year. Ron Bafetti spoke about a new Q Squadron being organized for dealers and owners of Quicksilver planes. Bruce Noll spoke about the newly developed MXL and its flying characteristics.
Lots of new faces doing lots of new things for a company selling recreational
products. As a one man organization with gross sales of almost a quarter
million dollars, I was awed by the many avenues being explored. The new
products were numerous, the accessories available, the jackets, even
a Christmas catalog was planned. Wow, can it get any better?
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