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Quicksilver hang glider.
Powered Quicksilver microlight.

Quicksilver is a line of ultralight aircraft that evolved from weight shift hang gliders including Bob Lovejoy's High Tailer.



A company called "Eipper Formance" (founder, Dick Eipper) began manufacturing the early Quicksilver ultralights (Designed by Bob Lovejoy) in the late 1970s when hang gliding was very popular. The Quicksilver hang gliders differed from most hang gliders of that time period in that the Quicksilver had a rigid wing and a tail with a horizontal stabilizer and a rudder. At that time, the majority of the hang gliders were simple Rogallo wing type hang gliders.

Eipper added a seat, wheels, and a small engine behind the wing of the hang glider, and the Quicksilver ultralight was born. This aircraft was controlled by pushing a bar forward and backwards, and side to side, in the same way that hangliders are controlled. This shifted the center of gravity of the aircraft and allowed the pilot to control the plane. Many pilots wanted an aircraft that was controlled with a stick and rudder, similar to the way "typical" light airplanes are controlled, so Eipper added rudder and elevator control surfaces to the Quicksilver ultralight, giving it two axis' of control. This aircraft was called the Quicksilver MX. The high dihedral of the wings caused the plane to bank when the aircraft was turned with the rudder, but there was no direct means of controlling the roll axis of the airplane—the aircraft only rolled in response to the yaw axis. Pilots still wanted a true 3-axis control ultralight, so Eipper added spoilers. The spoilers were ineffective, only providing a minimal amount of control over the roll axis. The next generation of MX had true ailerons which gave the aircraft full roll authority.

The Quicksilver MX evolved over the years. A two-seat model was added for training purposes, although the two-seater was not legally an ultralight. Eipper Formance changed their name to Eipper Aircraft and then Quicksilver Aircraft, and they are still in business, although they are not producing aircraft in the quantity that they were at the height of the ultralight craze in the mid 1980's.

Specifications (typical Quicksilver)

Data from Quicksilver[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 18 ft 0 in (5.49 meters)
  • Wingspan: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 meters)
  • Height: 8 ft 0 in (2.44 meters)
  • Wing area: 224 ft² (20.81 m²)
  • Empty weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 525 lb (238 kg)
  • Useful load: 275 lb (125 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 525 lb (238 kg)
  • Powerplant:Rotax 447 Wood prop, 40 hp (30 kW)


Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ Ultralight Aircraft of Iowa Website (undated). "Sprint Specifications". Retrieved 2009-11-05.  

External links



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