Here are just a few words of my first ten hours flying the Merlin in the UK.

The Merlin has had some rave reviews by established pilots so do my own experiences match theirs?

Here in the UK the Rotax 582 is the only viable option to allow us to comply with the SSDR requirements of max takeoff weight 300kg or 315kg if a ballistic parachute is fitted.

My previous aircraft was a RANS S6ES also powered by a blue top Rotax 582 so I am familiar with this engines performance. Performance was acceptable in the RANS however in the Merlin it is a whole new beast. I fly from a 250 meter grass farm strip and in light winds I am off the ground in less than 100 meters. Landings are similarly short and on two occasions when the grass was a bit long 50 meters was achieved.

I have logged about 10 hours with 21 takeoffs and landings, incorporating two short cross country flights where each leg was over an hour. For both XC’s I brimmed the fuel tanks for the outward flight and refilled on my return to base. I have calculated the fuel burn from these flights to be 11 litres and hour. My oil usage was just under 100 – 1 which I think is what Rotax specify.

I have checked the ASI and it appears to be reading correctly so my indicated air speed was 80 – 85 mph. I know the Merlin is capable of faster speeds but I am a cautious pilot and feel the engine needs some time to bed in before I start to open it up to the maximum.

I have flown the Merlin in some turbulent conditions and can say it is very stable with only light inputs needed to keep on track. I know from experience that if I was flying my flexwing trike (Quik GT450) I would have had a very good workout to say the least.

Have I made the correct decision in purchasing this aircraft, So far the answer is defiantly YES! YES! YES !!!.

My thanks go to Graham Smith of Sprite Aviation (Importer/dealer who struggles to understand northern English banter and dialects) and fellow builder Bernard Carpenter for their help, support and encouragement in getting this project off the ground.

John Murphy G – CJTD