Eipper Formance - The History
My association with Eipper Formance was basically a good one. I wrote them almost a million in checks and they sent me a lot of good planes and parts. I always got about the right stuff at about the right price and delivery was about the day agreed to. I say 'about' several times and don't want to offer the impression the company was running improperly, or at least improperly with respect to the dealers. I never had many problems with them.
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My concern and I may only have formulated it into actual thoughts long after they had gone out business as Eipper Formance, was that somewhere the bubble was going to bust. And bust it did. More on this later.
It was suggested that I consider buying a Quicksilver glider to install my Soarmaster power packs on. This glider was superior to the Delta Wings Kites and Gliders that I had been flying as it offered increased glide, climb and stability with the same horsepower drive system. Sounded good to me and I ordered two units. Quick assembly and install the shortened Soarmaster unit. Go flying. The whole deal took less than a weekend. Sunday was the big day. Fly my Quicksilver, foot launched that is. I had foot launched Easy Risers, CA-14's, and the many rogallo wings I had owned and sold, but the Quicksilver was the best. It was stable just as they said it would be. It climbed better on the same horsepower just as they said it would. My only problem was getting the rudder to stay straight long enough to launch. I fashioned a tailskid and bolted it on. This made launching a breeze.
I sold many of these inexpensive units to the locals, taught them to fly and had a great time doing it. We added a carb for more power, got good at tearing down the small Chrysler engines. I started adding landing gear and instruments to monitor the engines. We made a sort of double quick by placing two engines in line on the same drive shaft. This was indeed a hotrod.
The company was run very well in the early years, the "Formance' years that is. I could call on Monday morning to order six planes to replace those sold over the weekend and get them by truck a week later. The kits were complete to the last bolt. Rarely was anything backordered or 'shorted' as they refer to it now. Parts were available in 'onsies' or if needed, a discounted 'fivsies' at a small discount of the single price each.
They had dealer seminars for dealers and attendance was required. They were in March or there abouts and I attended reluctantly since I didn't want to spend the money to go to Las Vegas nor did I enjoy the Vegas life style. The seminars were OK but I felt very out of place there. I didn't really know many of the company people other than Sally Muehl who took my order and Tom Franklin who ran customer service and took parts orders.
The seminars were glitzy things with more fanfare than substance. After one of them , I was on my 400 dollar plane ride home and decided that the only real knowledge I had gained was how to install the compression strut in an elevator. The rest of the time I knew more than the other attendees and the presenter.