Fundamentally Fun – Hangar Flying | Aviation


By Rick Larsen, EAA Lifetime 9006212

For me, the idea of fulfilling my dreams of personal flying has always had pragmatic roots. I need to see a clear path, to be able to envision myself being able to do it. I’ve always thought this way. When I was back in high school in Chicago in the early ’70s, I got into hang gliding because it was attainable, affordable, and doable. (For more on Rick’s early days in hang gliding, see “The First 20 Seconds,” Ultralight World, in the April 2020 issue. — Ed.)

Then college came and went, and I started my career on the business side of the airline world. It’s a story you hear all the time: Someone gets the bug as a kid, gets involved, and then life happens. Suddenly it seems like the idea of flying is out of reach. I was luckier than a lot of people, though. Between my industry immersion and my lifelong interest in RC modeling — a passion that’s still a big part of my life to this day — the aviation itch was scratched, even though I wasn’t getting myself up in the air all that much.

In the back of my mind, I always had this quiet question — if I did get back into flying, how would and could I go about it? For me, the answer was ultralights. I remember going out to the dunes to fly the hang glider one day as a kid. This guy shows up with an orange and white Eipper Formance foot-launched Quicksilver hang glider.

Unlike our flexible Rogallo wings with our 4-to-1 glide ratios, that first Quicksilver had what we’d recognize as a traditional rigid rectangular wing and a tail with a rudder and horizontal stabilizer. He just stepped off the dune and kept flying, and it was totally unfair. We were gliding, but he was soaring. That made a real impression on me, and permanently planted the name Quicksilver in my head.

It wasn’t much later that Eipper added an engine, some wheels, and a seat to that unusual hang glider and created the first Quicksilver ultralight. Even while I was getting… read more

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