Road Trip

I started this road trip 8 days ago, right after the SNF show ended. This is the first day I have not driven 5-12 hours. I took one day off to catch up with e-mails and to write this dribble.

Here is why pick-up trucks sell best in USA. I am gonna hafta have one some day.

I still am old school and pull a trailer. Here I am all packed to drive up north. And before that, our SNF booth. Here is a link to the video we ran off a battery pack: https://youtu.be/0G4rqBM0FAU

The panel image is here to show the color and laser-etching we will be using for our new deluxe MGL panels. Our deluxe panels are going to be very nice with those custom circuit boards and new fuel management system. Those who may not have ordered this panel might want to get their order in soon because that is one line item going up in price. Not because of inflation but because we are providing so much value and it is underpriced and we added a lot more than originally planned.

Thanks very much to my new best friends that helped me manage the SNF booth. Graham, Bob, Art, Brian, and even Jay. And to the current and new customers that stopped by of course.

First stop was in North Carolina to pick up some chutes and rockets from BRS. I now see why they consolidated to NC. Their facility is huge and looks very well-organized.

Next stop was in New Hampshire to deliver the Merlin QBK to new builder Partrick. He has a perfect hangar with a loft and office. Aeromarine needs a hangar like his!

Next stop was Canton, Ohio. Photo above is the same Amada punch press I had in the Czech Republic. It is top of the line and perfect for us. Why? Planning ahead. If freight costs keep rising, we will want to make some Merlin and Merlin Lite parts in the USA. Now we can. Also note that Russia has a history of invading the Czech Republic…. Better to be prepared.

Then on to Dayton. Spent a couple days moving our hangar to a better facility on a nearby airport north of Dayton. We will be happy there and it will be a great place for Merlin builders/flyers to visit.

Then on to Wisconsin. April 18th and it is still snowing. Ice was still on the pond. WI didn’t get the global warming memo… In WI I visited builder Ryan and handed over his Vtwin and MGL panel. I am still in WI and will be heading to Dayton next to finish the hangar move.  Then to Georgia to deliver another Vtwin and panel. Then to Mobile, AL to set up our newest build center with Paul Mathers at M-Squared. Then finally the last leg back to home base in Florida to test my water-skiing skills again….

Builder Bob will be happy to see his Merlin about ready to ship. This one looks great!

 

CHIP

 

 

Merlin Guest Blog: Ben Bosma

Guest Blog from Engineer Ben Bosma:

PANEL

Here are the first versions of the new Merlin instrument panel. 90% of the information is presented by the MGL iEFIS. I pasted the iEFIS into this picture. Chip will have an actual one on this panel at Sun N Fun.

https://www.mglavionics.co.za/iEFIS.htm

The rest is technology we’re developing. First, the engine information is normally channeled through a box from MGL. We are developing our own mainly because we can. The data coming from the ECU has everything we need from the engine. Second, we’re using printed circuit boards with microprocessors to do our switches. All the switches are dual pole for redundancy. We are also using fuses which are difficult to see when they blow. That’s what the LEDs are for. They light when a fuse blows. The fuses are standard automotive products and can be replaced from the front panel. All of that is on the left. On the right is the fuel panel and fuel pump control. There are two fuel pumps. They are plumbed so that you can use either pump or both. If a pump fails, you have a backup. Part of the preflight will be to check each pump. If a pump fails a red LED indicates which one is out. The other pump bypasses the bad pump with a check valve.

Why not circuit breakers? Have you priced them, lately? There’d be about $1000 in breakers in this panel vs about $10 in fuses and $20 in holders.

Above those switches is a left-auto-right switch for tank selection. We are using an automotive fuel tank selector valve that is electric. It has dual spools that allow both the supply and return to be switched.

This allows us to instantly switch tanks and since it’s electric we can automate the tanks switching either by time or quantity always keeping the tanks balanced. Of course, you can manually override the automatic tank switching by simply selecting the desired tank. Fuel management is the third highest cause of accidents. Engine out work with fuel in one tank and dry in the other is not okay.

There are fuel senders in each tank which display the quantity in each tank at all times. Since, we have a microprocessor on each board, we’ll just ask it to do a little bit more for us.

Automatic tank selection is something you don’t see on most GA aircraft. It’s a jet thing. Of course, there will be lights indicating the feeding tank.

The panel is hinged on the bottom so you can easily wire and inspect your wiring. It’s not a big panel. 22-1/2″ wide. It’s got everything you need within easy reach.

 

VTWIN

The V-Twin is a very advanced engine not just with its induction system which has dual overhead cams and electronic ignition but also, it’s cooling system which is entirely liquid-cooled.
Originally, we were using commercial cooling hoses joined with aluminum tubes, nipples and connections. This looked cobbled together and although perfectly adequate was heavy and too complex. So, we now have custom silicone hoses that are molded to our specification. While we were at it, we also designed and had built a custom radiators and custom coolant cans.
The radiator is in the prop disc so even though the ECU has a coolant sensor and fan control we don’t need it. Temperature is controlled with a mechanical thermostat in the coolant loop just like a car.
We put the coolant can at the highest point in the loop and has a 1.3bar cap and overflow tank.
Our hose vendor gave us a broad choice of colors. We picked blue. What do you think?
 
 

Aeromarine’s Innovation Center at Sun n Fun

BE SURE TO VISIT:

AEROMARINE’S INNOVATION CENTER

BOOTH LP-24 IN PARADISE CITY

See emerging aviation technologies in commercial, military, electric, and autonomous aviation vehicles.

  • Aeromarine’s new Deluxe EFIS panel for the Merlin sport aircraft. Twin custom-made proprietary circuit boards and wiring harnesses with a laser-cut panel result in a true ‘plug-and-play’ panel featuring the MGL EFIS with ADS-B in and out.
  • Aeromarine’s new Vtwin 4-stroke 60hp engine with reduction drive, electronic ignition, and fuel injection. Plus, Aeromarine’s now completed firewall-forward package including the fuel and cooling system for the Vtwin-to-Merlin installation.
  • Aeromarine’s patented Distributed Electric Propulsion On Demand ‘DEPOD’ that doubles take-off thrust, provides envelope protection, and has reverse thrust for shorter landings.
  • The patented parallel hybrid gas/electric propulsion system utilizing the Vtwin engine.
  • The Rapid Airman Extraction System (RAES) using long-line spiral technology to rapidly rescue downed airmen. This technology was pioneered with the Merlin aircraft as the primary test platform.
  • The patented A3R system that autonomously refuels UAV aircraft from another UAV aircraft. The amphibious Merlin has been selected to prove this concept.
  • Aeromarine’s latest military concept aircraft: The Hyper-STOL Amphibious multi-mission platform.
  • Tech Pro Aircraft’s fully aerobatic electric-powered aircraft.
  • Tech Pro Aircraft’s VSTOL tilt-rotor
  • The new Merlin II: Two seat Merlin E-AB kit aircraft.
  • The latest Sat-Comm transceiver based on smartphone technology.
  • Latest images of the now-completed Merlin Lite Part 103 aircraft and 750 floats.

Many of these proprietary and classified programs are presented to the public for the first time. Some with video clips for your entertainment.

Back to Dayton

Progress Report

The objective of this trip was to finalize the Vtwin firewall forward package, follow up on the panel circuit board, and prepare for the Sun n Fun show.

We are still optimizing the fuel system and believe we have the final positions for the pumps and regulator. Once those are mounted, we can finish with the cooling system, voltage regulator and solenoid mounting. We have those stuck in about their final positions now.

A few more mounting brackets and fuel line attach plugs are ordered and just arrived as I am heading back to the airport for my return to Florida. Colleague Ben will mock-up the new and likely final positions.

We have found a fabricator of aluminum racing radiators. They will soon be making a big batch of custom sized and spec’d radiators to match our cowl. They have the capability to mold silicone tubing and we have requested their offer. It would be a nice finalization to our cooling system to have perfectly curved tubes with minimal fittings.

At this point I would say the firewall forward BOM is 95% finished and the stocking bins are getting set up.

We have a few more cowls, engine mounts, and exhausts shipping from CZ this week so we will be able to show these parts at SNF. Here is our nearly finished BOM:

MERLIN VTWIN FIREWALL FORWARD PACKAGE
ITEMQTY
ENGINE MOUNT
REDUCTION DRIVE KIT  –  BOM1
VTWIN ENGINE1
TOP COWL1
BOTTOM COWL1
CAMLOCKS
ENGINE MOUNT  WITH 4 MOUNTING BOLTS/NUTS/WASHERS1
TO INSTALL BRACKET TO VTWIN
ENGINE MOUNT MAIN BRACKET1
BOLT3
M8 WASHERS3
BOLT1
M10 WASHER1
BOLT1
M8 WASHER1
M8 SPACER – DRILL TO 5/16 ID1
VTWIN TO ENGINE MOUNT
RUBBER MOUNTS2
NYLOC NUTS FOR RUBBER MOUNTS4
M8 WASHERS4
STARBOARD ENGINE MOUNT BOLT1
NYLOC NUTS1
WASHER1
ITEMQTY
FUEL SYSTEM
PUMPS2
REGULATOR1
GAS HOSE  5/16 GATES HIGH PRESSURE. USE FOR RETURN LINE ALSO
GAS HOSE  3/8 HIGH PRESSURE
CHECK VALVE 3/82
SELECTOR VALVE1
WIRING 5-PIN PLUG1
FUEL SWITCH BRACKET1
5/16 X 3/8 X  5/16 BRASS BARBED Y1
5/16 BULKHEAD FITTING1
3/8 BULKHEAD FITTING1
CABLE CLAMP & 10-32 SCREW1
QUICK DISCONNECTS2
QUICK DISCONNECTS2
QUICK DISCONNECTS-WING 3/82
QUICK DISCONNECTS-WING 5/162
ITEMQTY
COOLING SYSTEM
RADIATOR1
RUBBER MOUNTS4
NYLOC M64
PRESSURE TANK1
OVERFLOW TANK1
TOP & BOTTOM BRACKETS2
FRONT BRACKET L+R2
FRONT BRACKET CLAMPS2
3/4 PIPE BEADED .028 THIN WALL 9 INCHES LONG1
HOSE ELBOW 3/46
STAINLESS STEEL BARBED CONNECTORS 3/42
HOSE CLAMPS -OTECKER 31.612
REDUCING TEE 3/4 X 3/4 X 1/4 ALUMINUM1
1/4 ID X 1/2 OD BRAINDED VINYL HIGH TEMP 175 DEGREE HOSE
REDUCER TO OVERFLOW TANK1
ITEMQTY
EXHAUST SYSTEM
EXHAUST1
LEFT EXHAUST PIPE1
RIGHT EXHAUST PIPE1
02 LUGS2
CLAMPS2
EXHAUST GASKETS2
HIGH TEMP LOCK NUTS4
MOUNT BRACKETS L+R2
ENGINE GASKETS2
HOSE CLAMPS – 6″2
HEAT CUFF1
HEAT CUFF HOSE CLAMPS2
SCAT TUBE1
SCAT TUBE HOSE CLAMPS2
ITEMQTY
THROTTLE SYSTEM
AIR FILTER1
THROTTLE CABLE THROTTLE CABLE CLAMP1
CABLE FERREL1
PROPELLER
PROPELLER W/HUB1
PROPELLER BOLTS8
PROPELLER WASHERS8
SPINNER1
PROP EXTENSION 1-1/41
BATTERY1
COPPER LUGS-STARTER TO SOLINOID2
SNAP GROMMET1

Here is the reduction drive inventory and installation parts per the BOM:

AEROMARINE VTWIN REDUCTION DRIVE BOM
P/NITEMQTYPACKED
1REDUCTION DRIVE KIT1
2M6 X 20BOLT4
3M6 X 55BOLT2
4M10 X 35BOLT2
5M10 X 110BOLT2
6M10 X 220BOLT1
7M12 X 90BOLT1
8WASHER12X37MM WASHER SS1
9SPACERSHORT2
10SPACERMEDIUM2
11SPACERLONG1
12CLAMPKEYLESS SHAFT CLAMP2

Bins will be stocked this month. We already have plenty of engines and reduction drives. Finally, we can begin shipping these packages. Meanwhile we are working on the Merlin with Vtwin POH and Vtwin installation manual. These items won’t take long as the POH is just a revision, and we are making the engine installation as simple as possible.

And now embroidered and finished Merlin Temperfoam seats in stock.

In Merlin Lite news the first airframes are now finished and in the paint booth. The plan is to get one flying before SNF so I can show video. Fingers crossed.

We are going ahead with Plan B for the SNF show and will create a ‘museum style’ display of several of the AFRL projects Aeromarine has been participating in over the last few years. Most of this will be on public display for the first time. I think it will be interesting. Actually, I know it will be interesting and I doubt you will see more high-tech ideas in any other booth in any other show. That’s a big claim so I refine it to any other light aircraft show like SNF.

Expect to see DEPOD, RAES, DART, Hyper-STOL, amphibious Hyper-STOL, electric Z-50, and a new VSTOL design. We like our acronyms. And most of this will be on our video monitor as well. I even have a novel way of powering the computer and big screen TV in our non-electric booth in Paradise City.

Here is our R&D Merlin that was used in some of these programs moving from our Dayton R&D shop to our hangar. We will prepare it for our DART program when we get this current work behind us.

I received a text from a Merlin Lite customer pointing out that it has been a year since I accepted his order and other orders at SNF and have yet to deliver a Merlin Lite. No chit. I know. And it will be a topic of discussion at the show I am sure. But I have addressed this in my blogs and will repeat: Yes, I underestimated the project. And we have half the normal staff to manufacture aircraft. And I wanted the best possible product so I made 20+ changes to the prototype which basically results in nearly a new aircraft so the engineering hours totaled thousands instead of hundreds.

I accept all responsibility of course. I also made the deposits small and refundable and secured those funds and promptly refunded 100% usually within hours of any request. I did twice offer a deposit refund to this customer but he remains on board.

We are offering the worlds’ best line E-AB and Part 103 aircraft in the Merlin and Merlin Lite. No short cuts, nothing inferior. And I trust worth the wait. That is the bottom line.

CHIP

 

 

Czech Trip Part 2 Plan B

I am halfway over the pond as I write this. Which happens to be a lot farther than the Sun n Fun shipment of aircraft will be in 2 weeks as planned. So, we will NOT have 3 Merlin kits and the new Merlin Lite and the 750 floats at the SNF show. The freight industry failed us. An entire container ship was cancelled. How does that happen?

The truth is we really had to push to meet this term. Floats were done. The 4-color Merlin would be out of the paint shop and drying as we packed. Two other Merlins still had short a list of items to finish. And the Merlin Lite would have been painted but I doubt we would have completed the panel and engine and cowl installation on time, and I do not want to show unfinished work.

So, we now work on Plan B and in retrospect, it is a fine plan.

  1. 4 Merlin kits just arrived to our Mobile, AL build center. We will bring one to the show.
  2. We have plenty of Vtwin engines and redrives and props. We may demonstrate a Vtwin reduction drive installation then a Vtwin to Merlin installation at the show. Anyone interested to see that?
  3. Having more time to complete the Merlin Lite in CZ means we can fly it before SNF and have video to show. That actually may be a more important indicator of progress than showing a Merlin Lite only statically.
  4. Merlin Lite #2 is being assembled side-by-side so we will still be able to ship a finished Merlin Lite in March while the other Merlin Lite is getting the flight test program completed. Furthermore, we are working parallel on the electric propulsion system so we can swap out the Polini and conduct a second flight test program using the same airframe. This all makes a lot more sense. It is not advisable to rush things in aviation.
  5. At SNF we will be introducing the AEROMARINE INNOVATION CENTER. I will have room for a second tent and will create some posters and displays of some of Aeromarine’s projects. You may see some cool stuff. But I still must hold back due to national security (always wanted to say that). Expect to see:
    1. Aeromarine’s Hyper-STOL project
    2. Aeromarine’s amphibious Hyper-STOL project
    3. New concept for a tiltwing VSTOL
    4. Hydrogen fuel cell project
    5. Fully electric and fully aerobatic replica of the famous Zlin Z-50 aircraft and not only just images. Assembly is in progress
    6. Vtwin engines/reduction drives/props
    7. Patented DEPOD innovation on display in the prototype Merlin Lite
    8. 2-seat Merlin II aircraft
    9. Merlin deluxe panel including the first circuit boards which have just now arrived
    10. 750 floats

So, we won’t be packed with Merlins but I think we will be displaying more advances in aviation and work-in-progress than just about anyone at the show. Still coming?

A quick note on painting Merlins: We fill in every rivet head. Not that it is necessary, but it does make the aircraft look entirely solid-riveted.

This 4-color Merlin in the paint shop for final colors when I left. Should be done by now but won’t be on display at SNF. Sigh.

Here is a brand-new Merlin with a new HKS installed. We are going to fly it for a few weeks then it is available for sale. We can upgrade the panel to our deluxe EFIS or at least imperial gauges. Anyone interested?

Here are the two Merlin Lite tricycle gear aircraft in final assembly. Both will be painted. Both will have the Polini 303DS installed. One will ship in March to USA and the 2nd will be first test flown with the Polini then swapped out for electric power and test flown again. That is actually a much better plan than rushing to ship an unfinished Merlin Lite to SNF. And then miss the show anyway when the container gets stuck in customs in case I did not pack enough beer for the customs agent.

All Merlin Lites will be easy to swap out the gear for the float brackets. This is designed from the beginning.

Here is some really big news for those waiting on their deluxe panels. The first batch of 25 custom printed circuit boards has arrived. These are made for us in China very quickly and sent air express. Now we are populating the boards with the components. Won’t be long now. We will have finished panels for customers and on display at SNF. In related news the 10 month back-log on transponders apparently was exaggerated. I have them in stock now and more coming.

For those still reading here is some dribble: I needed a 2nd suitcase to take the electric motor to the Czech Republic for the Merlin Lite. This turned out to be an ideal place for my dirty laundry after I delivered the motor to TPA. In my infinite wisdom I thought I would take some touch up paint back to USA with me. Turned out I needed 3 small cans. Paint, activator, thinner. When I returned to my hotel room later i thought they must have been doing some painting. Didn’t take this genius long to figure out those volatile paints were escaping the cans. So good luck with TSA on that too. The paint went into the outdoor trash bins, and I hope the hotel didn’t figure out why the room stunk. I think I aired it out enough. But now I have plenty of space for other contraband. In goes a dozen cans of fine Czech beer. 10 of them survived the trip. 2 cans cracked open. Now I created a WMD with dirty laundry coated in paint thinner and soaked in warm beer. Yet it still cleared TSA. LOL

I was on a mission to find a pub that served Radegast on tap in Prague. And it was a lot harder than I expected. But I did succeed finding the only pub that specialized in this fine Czech beer.

Now for more useless trivia. Proper beer has a nice full head. Here is an example. And note the foam lines indicating every sip. Took one thirsty guy five sips to polish this one off. Nice mugs too. They should be more careful counting the returned glasses…. There still happened to be room in my suitcase.

My favorite Czech meal: 2-colors of sour kraut, 2 kinds of dumplings, one half a crispy duck, and gravy. I won’t question their wisdom.

Now back in Florida and gonna play some ice hockey to work off all the beer and duck and jet-lag…..

CHIP

 

 

Czech Trip: Part One

Where to start. So much to report. How about in USA? The container shipped in January has finally arrived to our new Mobile, AL build center. There was a customs hold. They might have found our smuggled Czech beer and taken their ‘import duty’ share. The 4 Merlins are now getting prepped for the build program or direct delivery.

More news from USA: The design of our custom circuit boards to run our deluxe panel is done and we have 25 sets of circuit boards in fabrication now.

In the center of our panel will be the 8-1/2 MGL EFIS. On the left side will be mounted one circuit board with the switches and fuses for the Vtwin operation and aircraft systems. Above each switch will be a blade fuse for that circuit. Above the blade fuse will be a LED which will light only when that fuse is blown. That way you do not need to search for the blown fuse.

On the right side of the panel will be circuit board number 2 which will control the fuel system. We have an electric actuator to change both the flow and return of fuel from the left to the right side. And we have two independent fuel pumps so you have redundancy in this critical system.

Most of this circuit board is behind the panel. What you will have in front for example on the fuel board pictured on the right, will be the two fuel pumps with a green LED when the pump is on and the fuel tank selector toggle which is oriented horizontally. This circuit board also converts the engine RPM signal for the EMS on the MGL EFIS.

The panel will be laser-cut for these circuit boards and the EFIS then powder-coated. Installation will be hinged on the bottom for easy access. Assembly time should be under an hour.

 

Finally, we have our embroidery back and can make up the temperfoam seat kits. I think they will look great. Samples above do not have the foam sewn in yet.

My main mission for this trip is to get the next container shipped to get to the SNF show on time. Even we book a ship that works there is still no guarantee as the shipping industry is really screwed up now.

My perfect plan for SNF is to create an ‘AEROMARINE INNOVATION CENTER’ and show:

  • A couple of new Merlins before the build program or customer delivery
  • The new Merlin Lite tricycle with the Polini 303DS installed including the cowl
  • 2 sets of 750 floats built for Part 103
  • Vtwin engines and reduction drives and props
  • Images of the Electrolite (Electric-powered Merlin Lite)
  • Merlin Lite prototype with the patented DEPOD invention installed

I don’t have a very good back up plan if the container is late. Sigh.

Now on to the Czech visit part.

All the times I have visited Olomouc I never actually looked at the city. It is very impressive.

Here are some images from the Czech workshop:

New BRS 500 installation system for the Merlin Lites. The chute can be installed from the top then the blow-out aluminum panel can be fixed in place.

Here is a similar BRS installation for the Merlin. The bracket is now designed to match the BRS exactly. You can also see the rocket bracket.

 

You may recall the process we use for custom painting schemes. We take your crayon sketch and CAD it like above. Once approved then we CNC-cut painting templates and prep the airframe.

Before we even assemble your Merlin the parts are run through this cleaning machine. They come out polished and oil-free. Interior parts are then all epoxy-primed.

Here are images of the first base coats and colors being applied. By the end of the week it will look like the image above. You can see that the emblem and the rudder already are finalized. I trust you will all come to the SNF to see this beautiful Merlin in person just as I trust it will arrive in time.

For those of you waiting for Vtwin firewall forward parts they are being made in quantity now.

Here are some welding jigs and welded parts. Cowls are in production as well. And the details of the systems work moves ahead on both continents.

2 sets of Merlin Lite 750 floats finished!!!! 33 lbs each with paint!!!

And here is an image of my jet lag cure:

Watch this space for Part 2.

CHIP

 

 

 

 

Back at it in Ohio

I just returned from a few days of butt freezing in Dayton and have some progress to report: One butt successfully frozen.

Took a couple days to clear off the ice from the POS van I use there. Destroyed an ice scrapper then a credit card. Had to open the driver door to see to turn left. Happy to be back in Florida. However, next week I fly to the Czech Republic to inspect the next container which will be full of Merlins and Merlin Lites and 750 floats all going to the Sun n Show starting 4 April. Maybe I will get lucky and avoid another ice and snowstorm. But I doubt it.

Here is a sneak peek at the new 750 floats for the Merlin Lite and Electrolite. Fiberglass nose cones and water rudders are now finished as well.

The above photos show some of last week’s work. We have sorted the positions and mounting for the engine components: Exhaust, radiator, voltage regulator, fuel pumps, ECU, and overflow reservoir. We even made a test fit of the cowl and that is looking good as well.

The fuel pressure regular and tank selector mechanism are not shown but have been sourced. It is a bit complicated as there is a fuel return line with fuel injection systems. And this return fuel must feed back to the tank it was drawn from. Perhaps next blog I will detail how we solved that issue. It is eloquent.

As we progress, I am populating the BOM and building the inventory of hardware and USA-sourced items. Tech Pro also confirms that there are 8 more sets of cowls, exhausts and engine mounts near finished. I will go see for myself and make sure they all get packed in the container leaving in 2 weeks.

At the same time, we are mapping out the wiring harness and preparing our custom circuit boards.

What you see here mostly goes behind the panel. There will be the main switches and fuses to the left of the MGL EFIS and another circuit board holding the fuel switches and fuses to the right of the EFIS.

The panel will be laser or water-cut for the switches and above the switches will be the blade fuses. Above the fuses will be a small LED which will only light if the fuse is blown so you don’t have to hunt to find any blown fuse. No one else offers custom-made circuit boards with their aircraft kits that I am aware of.

Our build time of 2 weeks is going to be greatly exaggerated. And in a good way.

Sometimes we get custom painting requests.

Here are a few custom colors with one multi-colored Merlin already delivered.

We are happy to take on custom paint schemes. The process: Download the Merlin 3-view diagram from our builder’s page. Get your crayons out and have at it. Then pick the RAL paint codes you like best. Scan and send to us. We will digitalize it and send to you for approval. Once you agree we will cut full size templates and paint away. Here is one in the paint shop now.

 

 

This kit is planned to arrive to Florida in time to be on display at the SNF show. Come see it! Now you have no more excuses.

CHIP

 

 

GET R DONE!

Here is some big news! Weights of the Vtwin, reduction drive and main components collected. And the numbers are spot on or even below projected!

 

AEROMARINE VTWIN ITEM WEIGHTSLBSKG
VTWIN WITH REDUCTION DRIVE115.6152.44
VTWIN WITH RADIATOR, EXHAUST, SOLINOID, REGULATOR, ECU125.0056.70
INDIVIDUAL ITEMS FOR MERLIN INSTALLATIONLBSKG
REDUCTION DRIVE WITH HARDWARE15.437.00
VOLTAGE REGULATOR1.810.82
ECU0.260.12
SOLINOID0.570.26
RADIATOR3.531.60
EXHAUST WITH EXHAUST PIPES5.732.60
ENGINE BRACKET1.550.71
PRESSURE REGULATOR0.520.24

 

There will be a few nuts and bolts to add plus the cowl and propeller, but it looks like the total installation will be less than the HKS which is what we were expecting.

We are making the first USA Vtwin installation now and weighing parts as we install them. Plus, we are making a BOM and step-by-step photo assembly manual. We have already posted the Redrive to Vtwin installation manual.:

https://www.aeromarine-lsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Vtwin-Redrive-Installation-Manual.pdf

We had a couple issues with the first production parts. You can see above the engine mount pick-ups were welded on the wrong side of the bracket. That resulted in me flying back to Florida to wait for 2 new brackets to be fabricated and Fed Ex’d to Ohio. And the express package took a 5-day holiday in Frankfurt. Finally, the new brackets arrived in Ohio 2 days after I did.

Here you can see the new bracket painted and installed lower port side.

Now we have mapped out positions on the firewall for the overflow tank, ECU, voltage regulator, solinoid, and fuel pumps. Everything fits in real nice.

But then…..

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing if the drawing in the background was a mirror. But it’s snot. At least I can and did fix this myself with some re-riveting. You are looking at the nifty exhaust bracket. There are two of them that attach to the engine by replacing a cover on each side so they have gaskets as well. And by attaching the muffler to the engine we avoid most of the vibration transfer which stresses out the attachment tubes and can result in failures.

We have shipped the first Merlin to Vtwin Firewall Forward Package (FF PKG) to a Merlin builder. He now has all his main components like the engine mount, Vtwin, redrive, exhaust, radiator and cowl. As we proceed with this Vtwin installation in Ohio we are making proper documentation to include the BOM and photo assembly manual. And, of course, we are busy fabricating plenty more FF PKGs to get out to other Merlin builders ASAP.

Plus, we are installing the first deluxe panel with the MGL 8-1/2 EFIS, antennas, EMS-to-Vtwin connections, and custom wiring harness. Expect more blog posts to follow this work. Getting R Done!

In other news another container of beautiful Merlins is shipped and will arrive to our newest build center near Mobile Alabama in a couple weeks. This orange Merlin pictured has a nice slate gray interior and is really sharp.

Plus, we will ship 2 more Merlin quick-build kits and the first 2 Merlin Lite aircraft by the end of February. That container will go to Lakeland, FL so we can offload right to our booth at the show. The first two sets of 750 straight floats will be in this container too. Our SNF booth will be epic!

Watch this space!
CHIP

 

Plenty of News from the Hangar!

But not all of it is good. Let’s get the negative stuff done so we can get on with the good stuff. IMHO best just to tell it like it is.

Shipping of container #3 is delayed until the middle of January.

That is so frustrating. It was supposed to ship in November or even before. Our assembly shop just didn’t get the work done mostly blaming it on not having every part. there was a communication breakdown between them and Tech Pro. I got that sorted and they got the parts. And should have shipped last week but the assembly shop got quarantined. Just our luck. After the holidays they will finish up some painting and load the container with a new ship date of 15 January and ETA to our build center of February.

2021 was actually an excellent year for Merlin sales with some 6 containers of aircraft sold. A lot of this has to do with the new Vtwin 4-cycle engine so lets’ start there.

We had some rough running at idle issues. We spent 2 months chasing down a rabbit hole thinking the ECU needed reprogramming due to the prop and redrive loads. Turns out all we need to do was turn up the fuel pressure higher. Runs so smooth you would think it was not even running. We have a bunch of test runs now. Here are a couple:

https://youtu.be/Ok2fkv8a88c

https://youtu.be/lCuoRYMiyXk

We have engines in stock. We have reduction drives in stock. That is of course very important but useless without the firewall forward installation package. The good news here is that design is now finished, and the first two FF PKGs were shipped this week to our Dayton build center.

Above are the 2 FF PKGs in transit. We have some Merlins collecting dust waiting for these and now finally they are coming. We will make 2 installations in Dayton and one in CZ to control the parts, make the installation manual, and the Bill of Materials list. About the only good news about the late shipping container is that we can include more FF PKGs and finally get these out to our patient builders.

Here are some reduction drive images.  Last week we dismantled this redrive so we can document the re-installation and make the assembly to the engine manual and BOM. Plenty of redrives in stock.

For everyone who has ordered our deluxe 8-1/2 inch MGL EFIS panel we have some good news. Most of our orders have been filled. At one time there was a 5-month lead time due to the microprocessor shortage, but we dodged that bullet.

We are designing a new instrument panel to fit this EFIS. It will be hinged at the bottom for easy access. The switches and fuses are all mounted on a custom circuit board. The panel is laser-cut for this circuit board and EFIS then powder-coated. And all the wiring harness are custom-made to fit including the 3 antenna cables. This very sophisticated and complete panel will have an installation time of perhaps a few hours or a day at most.

This Merlin has a Rotax 582 installed. It is now in the black hole of container shipping on its way to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps it will show up at a future airshow there.

Merlin Lite News:

The 30 lb. 750 straight floats are done. The Merlin Lite on floats is gonna be a blast. And with electric power it will make more than just a splash!

I have been flying the Merlin Lite prototype quite a bit lately. But most of my video cameras did not record and none of the audio was captured. I have bought new batteries and accessories plus another camera. The last flight yesterday was in 12 mph crosswinds with gusts to 16 mph. It was a good test, and the aircraft handled the winds a lot better than the pilot. But cut me some slack after all it is a taildragger. Some of those gear-testing landings will be posted in the future once edited for my ego. Follow the Aeromarine page on Facebook to get a notice when this video is published.

It is clear that we need to build more Merlins and Merlin Lites and even a few of our 2-seat Merlins. In January I will sneak through the lockdown and visit CZ again to address this supply issue. I plan to be flying the Vtwin-powered Merlin and the Polini-powered Merlin Lite then.

I will also have most of the electric powered system for the Electrolite by then. Merlin Lite #2 will have this power system. I might be over the pond for a while to get all this work done. Maybe I should pack my hockey gear.

We won’t have much of a back-log once the airframes arrive to the USA. We are adding a third build center near Mobile, AL. We also plan to bring a 2-seat Merlin to USA to offer conversion training, especially for the Merlin Lite as many of those customers are likely to need some refresher training. More on this new center to follow. Have to sandbag some news for the next blog.

Merry Christmas!

CHIP

 

 

 

Merlin Lite and Vtwin Update

OK here we go with another blog. I know, ’bout time. But I had to have something to report. I still don’t but will give it a go anyway:

Vtwin News: We built a test stand, installed wired, and plumbed the engine, and it fired right up and runs perfect. Stuck a prop on it with same results. Just as we expected. Now we can breath again. I have 20 engines and 20 reduction drives in stock and will start pairing them up and shipping them off soon. This link shows our Vtwin high pressure fuel system with return to feed the fuel injection system.

https://youtu.be/ONJGYrD9XwY

And this link shows our first run with a prop attached:

https://youtu.be/lCuoRYMiyXk

We have two Merlin firewall forward packages shipping by air to us soon and we have two Merlins waiting for Vtwin installations in our hangars. Plus some Merlin builders ready for engines now as well. 5 containers of Merlins sold so far in 2021. That means plenty of engines needed. And plenty of engines and reduction drives in stock too. Plus we are now the 2nd biggest customer of MGL with all the new panels sold.

Last week was vendor-bonding at the Deland airshow. This Merlin Lite prototype has the now patented DEPOD installed in the wings. That got some attention at the show. Our DEPOD not only cuts take-off and landing distances by more than 50% but it also has active envelope protection. That means a loss of primary engine power on take off is a non-event as the aircraft can still climb on DEPOD power and circle back to make a normal landing. Furthermore, the DEPOD eliminates the base-to-final spin, or all other spins for that matter as the computer automatically spins up one motor when needed to keep the ball always centered.

Now the Merlin Lite is back at the South Lakeland hangar and reassembled ready for more fun and informative flights. Expect some new videos!

In production news the first two Merlin Lites are nearly finished and we will begin with both Polini and electric-power installations in early December.

Above you can see finished wings, tails, flaps, and ailerons. The rear and forward fuselage assembles are mostly done as well and will be joined soon. Once we have the airframe assembled we will conduct a W&B exercise to determine the engine and motor positions and then can design and fabricate the mounts.

Watch this space!

Chip