Rambling Blog: Too much news…

Good News #1: I have been Covid-free for a month now. But my lungs are still not fully recovered. Every hockey game I play gets a bit better however so I think in some weeks or months I will be fully recovered. At least I hope so. Need to get my blazing speed back. Oh wait, I never had blazing speed. I may be old but at least I am slow!

News #2: More Vtwin engines arrived and look great! First customer collected his engine the week and he will begin installation to his trike in a pusher configuration. I will post photos when available.

Another engine arrives this week to Tech Pro in the Czech Republic. They already have our CAD files and will be responsible for the final details of the Merlin installation such as the exhaust and cowl.

Photos: VTwins arrive to Dayton with another one sent to the Czech Republic for the 2nd Merlin installation and the cowl fabrication. 2nd image is two of three Vtwins. Another VTwin is already in the customers shop. 3rd image is our dual high pressure fuel pump drawing. High pressure for the fuel injection and dual pumps for redundancy. Pumps are in stock and the custom fittings are at the weld shop.

News #3: I am writing this blog while cramped into an economy seat midway over the Atlantic as I am returning from a very productive meeting with Tech Pro in Olomouc. I also got a few new teeth in Prague. I have an excellent dentist there. I know, long way to go for a cleaning but well worth it for quality service at half the price in USA.  But I digress. I had a big agenda for this trip. First off was inspecting the 8 Merlins getting prepared for the next two container shipments. And they look great! I will have happy customers and hopefully zero back-orders. Almost everything is already done.

Merlin QBKs getting ready to ship. Aircraft for the next two containers are mostly finished with plenty more queued up.

Digression #2: I booked my Prague ticket after the December lock down was lifted. But it was reinstated again shortly before this trip. Tourists were banned. That was actually kinda nice. But all restaurants and pubs and most hotels were closed. Only essential shops like grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores and flower shops were open. Don’t know how flower shops made the list. Never have been essential to me but that might explain a lot….

Most grocery stores also well some small household or office supplies but they were not permitted to sell those items as it would not be fair to the small shops that were forced closed. At the check out my couple of beers were approved but the tape and scissors I needed to box up some parts were confiscated. Malls were open but 95% of the shops in the malls were closed.

Nearly empty mall with a few food court shops open for take-out. Of course the mall cop busted me for not having a mask while drinking my beer. Actually found a better use for the masks….

News #4: The new long wing for the Merlin Lite is nearly done. And as expected it is truly a work of art. Built to withstand + 4 G’s but without an ounce of extra aluminum. The skins will be installed, and the wing set shipped this month in the next container. I look forward to test flying it and comparing performance to the original shorter wing. The span and huge 3-hinged Fowler flap are designed to meet the Part 103 24 knot stall speed and I am quite sure it will. The test is not even at gross weight but with a 170 lb pilot only. This rule was written in the early 1980s when 170 lb pilots existed.

The wing is nearly ready for top and bottom skins and will be shipped with the next container later this month.

News #5: The Merlin Lite video on YouTube has gone viral with over 102,000 views. I just need to watch it another 100k more times…


News #6: The Merlin Lite design is getting updated based on my test flights and design objectives. Here are some sneak peeks:

There is a pretty big design change you can see above if you are paying attention. But by now my 12 readers’ eyes are glazed over.

News #7: That’s not enough already? After the dust settles from this trip, and it warms up some up north, I will fly up to Dayton to finish a Merlin in the build center and prepare the shop for the next container with 4 more Merlins and the Merlin lite long wings. Plus continue the parallel installation we are doing with the Vtwin to the Merlin. But first I need to play some ice hockey to see how the new teeth hold up.


COVID Kai Kicks Aeromarine’s Ass

Not your usual post but 20 days of fighting the Kung Flu is not normal either. I am healthy athletic, and with no underlying conditions yet Covid sent me to the ER. A solid 2 weeks of misery and now just recovering. I will spare you the details.

Let’s talk wings instead!

In the world of light aviation and especially in ultralight aircraft I doubt there has ever been a more sophisticated and beautiful wing as the new long wing for the Merlin Lite. This wing design was made on 3D Catia software. Just to convert to the above Solidworks image took nearly an hour of fast processing time.

Hundreds of unique parts re required as the wing is tapered in 3 dimensions. Flaps and ailerons of course are tapered to match perfectly.

The parts are now complete and the wing is in final assembly. Just to note: Each part has every singe rivet hole punched to final size and that is before the part is formed. It is quite incredible to have hundreds of parts designed, fabricated, and fitted up all near perfection. This is science but the result is this wing is truly a work of art and will be beautiful to see.

Plus of course the huge 3-axis Fowler flap will bring the stall speed down to Part 103 limits yet when retracted result in a very clean and high-aspect ratio wing providing efficient flight.

Now I am recovering I will be back in the Dayton workshop next weekend. And I already booked my ticket to the Czech Republic for January to inspect the next 4 Merlins about ready to ship now. Slots are already filling in the container after that planned for February.

And in VTwin news we have a batch of engines shipping in 2 weeks. First installers getting ready.



No News?

I know, been quiet. And my 10 readers are expecting some test flight news too. I sat in Ohio for a week waiting for flying weather that never arrived. Then I remembered I live in Florida. So I packed up the merlin Lite and shipped it to Lakeland.

But that also required a complete reorganization and cleaning of our Florida build center. So when the Merlin finally arrived so did Eta.

Sat around Florida trying to guess the ETA of Eta.

Now the weather is finally improving. I need to sort a temperature sender fault then i will be good to go.

So this was my most useless post ever. But I guess I am not the only one locked down for various reasons. Meanwhile our YouTube videos have really gone viral. I guess that’s what happens when travel is restricted. I need to get the the Czech Republic to inspect the next container of Merlins soon. Sigh.


22k and 35k views as a LOT in this industry. And my phone and e-mail traffic has tripled. Huge interest in the Merlin Lite has also generated more interest in the 120mph Merlin.

It also raises a lot of questions on the difference between the two aircraft and the rules they fly under. Think I will get another cup of java and write that addendum for the web page




Merlin Lite in the press

As I was about to begin another round of flight tests with the new Merlin Lite the PPG engine monitor crapped out. I ordered a new one from Polini to replace the PPG meter I had left over in the hangar. By the time it arrived the weather crapped out. I spent a week in Dayton waiting for good flying conditions. Then I realized that I live in Florida. And Florida has mostly great flying weather. Plus I was freezing my butt off in Dayton and it has not even started to snow yet.

So the Merlin Lite is now packed up and heading south with all the other snowbirds. Flight testing and new videos will be forthcoming later in November. Maybe that’s a good name for it: The Snowbird!

The video/interview team of Dave Loveman and Dan Johnson have published  new Merlin Lite video. If you have not seen it yet here it is:


But my guess is you have already viewed it as the views are already over 20,000!!!

The popular consensus is that this aircraft is going to be a bit hit in the ultralight market. I hope so. Ice hockey is expensive with stiches and all.

The new longer wing for the Merlin Lite is nearly finished. The increased span and huge 3-hinge Fowler flap will bring the Merlin Lite stall speed down to Part 103 specs. Tricycle version also in progress. Watch this space.

In VTwin news we have new engines arriving this week. In addition to our planned Dayton flight tests we will be installing a VTwin to a Merlin in the Czech Republic. The concurrent flight testing will really prove the installation. Plus we will have an official Czech LAA engine approval once the LAA complete their test protocols.





Weighing and Flying Aeromarine-LSA’s Part 103 Merlin Lite — Does It Make Weight?

The most popular article of this crazy year — when people have been visiting in record numbers — was about Aeromarine-LSA‘s Merlin Lite. Tens of thousands of you devoured this article within days of it being posted. The word sensational is vastly overused in modern American society but in this case the word fits the intense interest in Merlin Lite. For the back story, see the article in this link.

Despite obvious enthusiasm for this new Part 103 entry, many of you were skeptical. No wonder. An all-metal, fully enclosed aircraft does not closely resemble many of the other Part 103 aircraft that are selling briskly over the last few years. If you were among the doubters this post — and the video below — may serve to allay one of your concerns. Weighing Merlin Lite Developer Chip Erwin came to 2020’s Midwest LSA Expo prepared to tackle the hesitation in pilot’s acceptance of Merlin Lite as a legitimate Part 103.

read the rest here …

Flying Merlin Lite 0920

Randi Flys His Merlin Taildragger! And an update on Frank’s Merlin Build

Great idea for installing the wings without a helper.

Randi has the only Merlin taildragger in USA and recently finished and flew it. I will ask him for his impressions.

Here are some of his build comments:

Have ~0.7 on engine in taxi tests, am very happy with engine all the temps look good. have prop adjusted (30 degrees, started 20, then 25) static RPM is just below redline as is highspeed tail high taxi. Laser checked engine RPM and it agrees with EMS (less gear reduction).

Changed out tailwheel to a pneumatic scooter wheel, like it much better doesn’t sound like I am dragging a bunch of cans behind me anymore. Confirmed all the weight and balance calculations, leveled the plane and laser plumb-bobbed all the datum points, tailwheel dimension changed a tiny bit due to the replacement  fiberglass spring but everything else agreed.

Mowed the grass runway, Merlin likes grass much better than asphalt, is a tad squirrel like with highspeed (40mph) taxi but then it wanted to fly and any tail wheel is a handful high speed taxi part of it is me getting accustomed to that brake system. I am wearing dive booties so I can feel the rudder pedals  May end up with a extension to the brake pedals off to one side so you slide up and on it like a heel brake, will see. Had a week full of virtual meetings, an annual convention but it wrapped up today so can play. I am guessing it will fly Friday morning weather permitting, for sure over the weekend.


Note: Randi got to play early and flew on Thursday.


News from Frank in St. Paul, MN

Here I am spraying SPI grey epoxy primer for my interior finish. This stuff is amazing, it sticks like crazy to bare aluminum and is very tough and scratch resistant. Plus, it has a mild sheen to it that doesn’t show scuff marks.

I had hoped to get everything painted before it got too cold to paint, but I didn’t make it. My paint requires a minimum of 65 degrees overnight for the paint to cure properly – I won’t see that kind of temperature in my unheated garage until next June. The plane is ready for painting, but that’s not going to happen until next spring. I’ll continue to do what I can on the plane in the garage until it gets too cold to work out there.

Here is the lower cowl primed. I made a recessed mount for my landing light. I also straightened out the lower lip of  the radiator opening and got rid of the sagging corners.

Engine cowl primed with SPI epoxy primer and mounted. I spent a lot of time working on the cowl. It took a bit of work to get the two cowl parts to fit well together and have a smooth uniform gap without any bulges. I didn’t like how the two carb clearance bumps on the cowl top were shaped, so I made them into more of a proper teardrop shape. I spent the most time on the louvers getting them formed into a uniform shape and size and sitting on a level surface. Some of the louvers were paper thin and I made them thicker in order to prevent future crushing issues.

Congratulations on the Merlin Lite video by Dan Johnson. I think you are going to sell a lot of these.




If you ever have any potential Merlin customers in my part of the country I would be happy to make my plane available for inspection.




Merlin Lite Introduced at the Midwest Expo!

The Merlin Lite has gone public! The first post was by Dan Johnson and has gone viral with nearly 20,000 views in the first 2 days! A record for Dan’s popular site:


Here are some questions and answers from a journalist in South Africa:

  1. What made you design and produce this little craft? Modern technology. The majority of Part 103 ultralights are still tube and fabric and cables. It has been very challenging and capital-intensive to design and manufacture a more conventional aircraft that can meet the strict Part 103 parameters of weight and stall speed. But now with 3D CAD systems and match-hole technology punch presses it is possible. And we proved it at the Midwest Expo by bringing scales with us and proved we were 8 lbs. under the limit! Customers can include paint and more complex instrumentation now and still be compliant. But of course more important is that they have the pleasure and comfort and security of flying an aircraft that has the looks and feel of an aircraft.
  2. I am interested in the  ‘magic’ feature of an electric trim and why you felt it necessary to include this> We include a LOT of features rarely, if ever, found in ultralights like the EFIS, phone charger, electric trim, flaps, windows, air vents, cabin heat, defroster, etc. Most of these items don’t add much to the cost or weight but add a lot to the impression and value of the aircraft.
  3. Who are you aiming at buying your craft? We do not have such a defined market as this style aircraft is both new and has a wide appeal. Low cost flying without burdensome regulation.

The Merlin Lite certainly attracted a lot of attention at this show. Today is the last day then back to Dayton to continue preparation for test flights then production.


Above photos highlight some of the details and features. Notes:

  • Huge baggage area
  • 5 position 50 degree flaps
  • Racing quality 3-point seatbelt
  • Real throttle
  • Dual independent hydraulic disk brakes
  • Full EFIS and Ipad panel with 2 GPSs, moving map, radar overlay, EMS, charging port, and fuel gauge.

Here is an excerpt from the price list showing all that is included:


We are planning for the first deliveries in January and the order book is open to reserve production slots.

Now back to work.