|By Carmelo Turdo|
The Gateway Area Ultralight Association (GAUA) held another technical clinic at St. Louis Downtown Airport this weekend - the topic was the operation and maintenance of the Rotax engine. The session is a follow up to the very successful carburetor clinic held in January, and signals a resurgence of interest in ultralight flying activity in the St. Louis/Metro East Illinois area.
The clinic was conducted by Mr. Mark Smith, owner of Tri-State Kite Sales in Mount Vernon, Indiana and experienced builder of ultralight aircraft. He started Tri-State Kite Sales around 1974, selling and flying Delta Wing Kites and Gliders. Mark progressed to Quicksilver Aircraft. In 1982 Mark was the top selling dealer in the country. He needed to have his own airfield so in 1985 purchased about 30 acres and constructed runways: 5/23 9/27 9W/27W. In 1989 Mark stopped buying kits and completely involved himself in building planes from scratch. He accumulated a metal bender and materials so that all designing and manufacturing could be done by himself. Nearly 10,000 were sold, many models sharing design features of the Quicksilver MX. Changes he made to make the plane fly, steer, handle wind and gusts better.
The clinic covered a wide range of issues relating to Rotax engine operation and maintenance, including oil brands, filters, and clutch options among others. Many of the over 20 attendees contributed their experiences and lessons learned for the benefit of the group. Besides the informative clinic, many of the attendees admitted to being lured by donuts for breakfast, chili for lunch and a peak at Bob McDaniel's beautiful Buckeye Breeze powered parachute.