Paul Sommers Wins Quicksilver Prize
Todd Ellefson (left) of Quicksilver Manufacturing awards cash prize to Paul Sommers. Photo by Mike Ostrander
Quicksilver builder Paul Sommers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the winner of the $500 cash drawing which was the culmination of the “Salute to Quicksilvers” down on the Farm in the ultralight area at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Quicksilver Manufacturing offered the cash drawing and gave away a free flight jacket each day to Quicksilver pilots who brought their aircraft to AirVenture for the tribute. Paul built his Quicksilver MXL experimental light-sport aircraft basically from parts.
Paul said he loves his Quicksilver, and he wants to thank the company for making the aircraft and for continuing to provide support. He started out working on a private pilot certificate long ago but had to give it up due to the cost. In 1995 he took a flight in a two-place Quicksilver and was immediately hooked.
His airplane, N2628C, is a two-place Quicksilver MXL that began life as a collection of parts and leftovers from an incomplete kit. Paul ordered a lot of parts from various sources and gradually made it into a whole airplane, but he admitted it would have been much easier starting with a complete kit. He will use some of his winnings to pay for a couple of tubes that got bent in a hard landing at the ultralight strip.
Todd Ellefson from Quicksilver got the needed parts shipped overnight, and Paul’s plane was back together after an hour and 20 minutes of work. Paul says his Quicksilver was the very first of the type to arrive at AirVenture 2011.
Paul and his Quicksilver on the ultralight runway
The “Salute to Quicksilvers” theme was intended to recognize their role in the evolution of ultralights and to acknowledge their continuing popularity. The program included a dedicated display area, a special seminar, a group flying session called Quicksilvers in Review, and prizes donated by the manufacturer.
A total of 20 Quicksilvers appeared at AirVenture during the week, including models manufactured under the Eipper name and one aircraft apparently a reconstruction of the original swing-seat hang glider that inspired the earliest powered versions. There were no swing-seat powered versions on display. The oldest flying Quicksilver on the grounds was probably Mike Ostrander’s blue 1984 Quicksilver MX.