The Good Old Days

Tri-State Kite Sales has been around since the middle of 1974 when I began ordering Delta Wing Kites and Gliders from Bill Bennett. I really have never given much thought about the business aspects of my business. This has resulted in having a poor turnover in inventory but usually having stuff in stock for my customers.

I began flying a small Obrien kite in the local water-ski club. It only had 13 feet spars with less than a 90 degree nose angle, I and several friends had spent hours slaloming that kite on a 75 foot rope. We took lots of minor spills and thought that it "couldn't get any better".


Well, it did get better when we moved to higher performance kites from Bennett and longer ropes. We started beach launching and landing avoiding the need to get wet. Wind and cold still played havoc with our desire to fly so when we heard of the Soarmaster units we had to try them. They worked fine with the higher square foot kites and let us fly through late fall and begin again in early spring.

In the late 1970's I bought my first Quicksilver from Eipper Formance. It was basically a weight shift airframe kit, cost each, $ 600.00 . I made wheel assemblies for them and used Soarmaster power packs with a shortened shaft.


Quicksilver decided to stop selling the C Model air frames and produce complete ultralights. I became a dealer for them as the Yamaha engine/clutch was far superior to the Soarmaster setup.
I had a small hangar at the local airport and taught literally hundreds of people to fly the weight shift Quicks. I had a Tomos moped and followed the beginners up and down the runway often running close enough to touch the stabilizer of the plane. There were as many as three WS Quicks on the ruway at a time each eager to wheelbarrow and experience that first short liftoff into the air.

Potential pilots would arrive at my house before daylight and toss stones at my window to waken me so lessons could begin. I've had wives direct the carlights down the field so their husband could practice into the evening. I helped paraplegics into the swing seat so they could experience the freedom of flight.

In those days a long cross country was 7 miles to a friend's real airport. I launched out of a mall parking lot with the mall's lawyer rushing around trying to get someone to sign a waiver.

We retrieved a friend's Easy Riser from an island when he pulled the axle off while attempting a take-off into a mud hole.

I've had the sparkplug in my Westbend engine fall out and hit me in the helmet.

Those were the good old days and as I sit in my MXLII doing a magcheck on the 582, I can't help but think it hasn't gotten more funner just more expensive.

Return to Main Page