February 6, 2013 - The EAA AirVenture Museum's mission is to display sport aviation's innovation through exciting exhibits that showcase the significant moments in aviation history, and the stories and backgrounds of the innovators behind these achievements.
Another step in that direction took place recently when an Eipper/Burgher Quicksilver MX-1 was hung from the rafters, honoring the exciting world of ultralight aircraft, a record-setting aircraft, and its pilot.
The Quicksilver on display in Oshkosh was owned by Peter Burgher, who made the record flight from his home in Utica, Michigan, to St. Petersburg, Florida in the summer of 1982 - a north-south trip never before attempted in an ultralight.
Peter departed Utica's Berz-Macomb Airport on July 24, 1982. The ground crew consisted of Gordon Sorenson and Ira Breneman. Gordon was the official National Aeronautic Association (NAA) observer who drove the communications car and kept an educated eye on the safety of the operation. Ira drove the second car, which hauled a glider trailer containing a complete spare airplane, plus extra parts and fuel for the Quicksilver.
Peter modified the MX-1 to prepare it for the long flight. He clipped the wings about 5 feet for increased airspeed, better gas mileage, and better handling in turbulence. Using special small jets in the carburetor, Peter was able to reduce the gas consumption to an average of 2.6 gph in the Cuyuna-powered Quicksilver.
With help from his ground crew, Peter completed his record-breaking trip that spanned more than 1,000 statute miles. The trip earned 56 world and U.S. national records, a record in and of itself. He made 26 scheduled landings and just two unscheduled landings over the course of his trip. The flight was estimated to take seven days, but thanks to the tenacity of pilot and crew, they did it in only five and a half days. According to Peter, the main success factors were the selection of the aircraft, the full year of planning, the excellent ground crew, and just plain luck.
A year after Peter's adventurous flight - in October 1983 - he donated the Quicksilver MX-1 to EAA. He is the very same Peter Burgher who launched the chapter challenge to promote chapter activities and advance our EAA community of aviators.
Ultralights make up one of EAA's most significant segments of aircraft, providing an exciting and exhilarating way for people to enjoy wonders of flight. The non-stop action at the ultralight field during AirVenture is a testament to the passion of the devotees of this community, and Peter Burgher's intrepid flight displays both the spirit of aeronautical endeavor and of EAA.