Early Weight Shifts


The early gliders with motors were actually the first ultralights. Prior to introduction of the motorized gliders, just towing the glider or jumping off a mountain side were available to get in the air.

Eipper Formance was in the business of making high performance kites, hang gliders if you will and had a rather impressive array of craft from beginner to well advanced, state-of-the-art models. The hang gliders of the day were rather simple craft usually designed after the Rogallo wing developed for space vehicle retrieval. The high arch of the rear of the sail was very effective in stability. The drag was high and the craft easily folded along the outer and the central tube into a small diameter, long bundle.

Hang gliders developed but retained the easy folding design allowing a fast fold-up and return to the top of the hill.

Eipper Formance introduced a model and offerred plans. This was the Quicksilver B Model. It looked similar to the later models but with a tapered wing tip and a reduced wing chord. This model was a considerable step from the Rogallo type wings. It had a long wing, a rudder operated from the pilot's movement side to side and a horizontal stabilizer. Pitch control was effected by moving forward and back. This weight shift came to be the common term associated with this early plane.

The B Model was followed by the Quicksilver Model C. This had square wing ends, a slightly longer chord and other minor changes. Several people saw this model as the basis for adding power. The large wing area, would carry the extra load, the stability would allow reasonable learning times, and Eipper Formance sold many of these hang glider kits to aftermarket manufacturers.

Motors were installed near the trailing edge of the wing, usually with a direct drive propellor. While the power was rather meager by todays standards, total weight was often around 100 or so pounds. This allowed foot launched take-offs for those who could run, steer, carry the craft while it developed lift, steer, etc, etc.

Many of the early pioneers who bought and modified the Model C are still in the ulralight business. Wayne Richter called his variation using the Quicksilver airframe, a Hi-Nuski, Wayne now manufactures the Sea Ray line of craft.

Bill Adaska called his basic planes, Rotec Rallyes, the last of which was built in the latter eighties.

Another manufacturer built a model under the name Terratorn. It used wheels on the tri-bar with bungies, a small tail wheel and evolved into the Tierra line of craft.

I also bought, modified, and sold the Quicksilver Model C with landing gear and a power unit. This picture is one of the many units I sold locally.


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