What’s Up Post

A few of my 15 followers have noticed I have not blogged in a while, and they are anxious for news. I have not posted in some time as I am busy making the news to write about. And I usually like to have something significant to write about when I post a new blog. But today, the big news is I am still here busting butt to get aircraft finished and delivered. The last few weeks have been spent in Alabama and Ohio working on the Vtwin installation and getting firewall forward parts sorted. I will write some highlights as I think of them.

The new engine wiring harnesses arrived. Plenty for everybody. We unwound one and traced each wire back to the plug pin number to confirm it is prepared correctly and they are.

Wiring harness in stock!

The reduction drive upgrade parts are also in stock. I have started to ship firewall forward parts out now. But slowly, as I would really like to make the shipments complete. Not quite there yet. As Paul and I work through customer builds we update the working document for the BOM and for the photo guide assembly manual. Anyone wants a draft just e-mail me.

Here is a Vtwin mounted on a test stand in Alabama. We did mount and run a Vtwin some time ago in Dayton. Now we think we can improve our installation with some ECU fine-tuning so we mounted up an engine just as it would be on a Merlin.

Here we have plumbed in a fuel pressure gauge and amp meter to confirm these parameters are in spec.

We are also experimenting with an in-tank fuel pump. Bench testing is promising.

Oh, and 15 instrument panels are finished and shipped to AL. MGL water-jetted the panel then powder-coated them. Then laser-engraved the labels and N numbers for those customers that have N numbers reserved.

News from CZ: The next 7 Merlins and one Merlin II are nearing completion. The Merlin II is already in the paint booth.

Merlin II in the paint booth.

We are flying the Merlin Lite in Alabama now. I will ask Paul to write a flight review so you can hear how great it is from someone less biased than me. I know he likes it. And he is not used to the long glide when power is pulled. We did discover that a mag sensor mount was out of spec by 1/10th of a millimeter. Polini sent us new spacers and now the engine starts perfectly.

My next trip is:

  • The CZ to inspect the next two or three containers of aircraft getting ready to ship. And to make sure TPA has completed my parts order. Some parts for the firewall forward package come from TPA so I will make sure to get them so everyone can get on with their builds.
  • Next stop will be Spain to fly the TrueLite and to nail down delivery of the first kits.
  • Then to India to install floats to a CH601 and fly it.
  • And a quick stop in Myanmar to visit an aviation friend and kind of accomplice in aviation endeavors.
  • And finally, to the Philippines to finish and fly a Merlin there. And help out with a couple M-Squared aircraft that happen to be at the same airpark.

The trip might not be in that exact order. Depends on if I head east or west leaving Tampa. Another time round the world.

Nearly forgot, Builder Don got his wings installed and HKS engine started! Another Merlin will be flying in Dayton soon! Pictured above: Ben, Don, Chip & Ron.

Oh, BTW, I also am expecting 2 more patents this year in the electric aviation field. Patents starting to stack up with four total. More on that later. Some of this work directly helps the Electrolite project. Personally, I think the Electrolite will be a big success.

And, in my spare time, like there is any, I have submitted 3 of 4 proposals for military projects. One to NASA, one to the Navy, and one to the Air Force with a second one for the Air Force in preparation. The topics generally revolve around the technologies in my wheelhouse like the Hyper-STOL aircraft, and amphibious version, and hybrid propulsion systems. I included an autonomous air-to-air refueling technology just for a teaser. This military work helps fund the Merlin R&D and production so winning an award is a good thing for Aeromarine and our customers.



Quick Update

Waiting on the new engine harnesses to arrive. 20 being made up now. Last big item to get. Next time I am in our Alabama build center I plan to box and ship stuff to builders.

The interest in a long wing Merlin continues. However, I am not starting any more projects until we get the Merlin and Merlin Lite orders filled.

But just for a tease:

I sketched these images out some time ago. Maybe it is a good idea? Electrolite first. then maybe Merlin and Merlin Lite folding wings.

The new redrive backplates are finished and in stock. Nicely anodized too.

Merlin Lite #2 is flying in Alabama. It will be N-numbered as a motor-glider.

Here is another irritating sideways video for you. From my phone. And too short to bother editing.

I did try a dead stick landing. Was really strange because after I shut the engine off and the tach read 000 the prop was still really spinning. The clutch is interesting.

Finally, home after a month of driving. Finished a proposal for the Hyper-STOL amphib for the Navy and the parallel hybrid system for NASA.

Dat’s it for now.


Oshkosh: Year 43 for me and Year 1 for Davi

Here is a Vblog from Oshkosh. Skip to 8:50 to see the Aeromarine display.


We were missing a few bits and pieces for our booth including the RV that I booked in April that cancelled the day before the show started. Good thing for tents and thanks to M-Squared for allowing squatters on his site. And also, for Paul Squared for taking Davi on his first Oshkosh flight in the M-Squared demo aircraft.

This was my 43rd Oshkosh and Davi’s 1st.

Showed him where the best coffee and snacks are….

This perfect Grumman Albatross happened to be anchored off the dock on Lake Winnebago. Davi scored a tour.

Today is the last day and I am hitting the road early tomorrow to get back to work:

Stop 1: Visit the first Merlin Lite in Illinois.

Stop 2: Dayton to finish a Merlin build there and to complete and submit a proposal to the Navy for the amphibious hyper-STOL aircraft.

Stop 3: Working my way south to Georgia to fly the Merlin with the Vtwin with a customer.

Stop 4: Pee and coffee break.

Stop 5: Mobile, AL to work with Paul on the next Merlin build and to prepare shipments to customers waiting forever for their firewall forward parts. More inventory has arrived so the shelves will be mostly stocked.

New reduction drive backplates are being anodized and will ship soon. Bearings in stock.

The first two avionics wiring harness are in hand and will be installed when I arrive.

The Vtwin engine wiring harness has been reworked and shipped to China. They have it now and are making up 20 sets.

Finish and post the FF PKG packing list and assembly manual. BTW, I plan to rework the builders’ page soon and upload all the current documents and manuals for easy access. Read more

Bonus History Blog

Back when I had more hair and less sense.


Around 1981 I had a Tomcat ultralight. I made several innovations such as flying on floats. And I believe was the only ultralight with the Cuyuna engine with electric start. Cuyuna was not available with electric start so we made our own. We thought it was pretty cool.

One fine spring day I was flying ‘cross country’ from Oconomowoc, WI to Aeropark, near Milwaukee, the home of EAA Ultralight Chapter 1. I had climbed exceptionally high that day to a whopping 500 feet.

In my infinite wisdom all too common with our young group of ultralight pilots, I decided to turn off the engine and glide for a while. I wonder now what I was thinking on how far I was going to glide in a 1980s ultralight from 500 feet. But I had electric start so no big deal. Easy to restart. I glided for maybe 10-15 seconds then hit the red push to start button no doubt acquired from Radio Shack. The Cuyuna turned over just fine but, as 2-strokes often do, loaded up and wouldn’t start. I held that button down until my knuckle went white, and the battery died. Back then 2-strokes stopped stroking often enough by themselves without any help from the dufuss pilot.

So, technically, maybe I was the first to ‘fly’ and ultralight on electric power? Turning the prop had to generate some thrust…..

I happen to be over Okauchee Lake which was still about half frozen over. I basically landed on an iceberg a hundred yards or so from shore. No problem I thought. I will just give the rope starter a pull and take off from the slab of ice I found myself on. Snap, the rope broke first pull.

Now I was out of options but eventually the ice slab with me on it drifted to shore. There happen to be a guy working on his car in his back yard. I asked him for a jump, and he complied. I thanked him in advance and told him once this sucker starts, I am gone like it or not. The jumper cables will pull off. Ultralights back then had only Flintstone brakes (my Sorel boots) and they are not effective on ice!

The Cuyuna really spun up and started fine with a full-size car battery and off I went heading toward open water. I did manage to take off and complete my cross country to Aeropark, which I believe is now a subdivision.

Some of us proved Darwin was wrong and lived through our misguided youth…..




Too Busy to Blog!

That just means more to talk about when I do get a chance to write.

The problem is I hafta drive this trip. A lot. And I don’t get much else done when driving 8+ hours/day. Hard to type and drive…. Worse than texting. Some lady almost hit me while she was texting. I nearly dropped my cheeseburger and spilt my coffee!

First leg was 8 hours Tampa to our Mobile build center. Drove that on the 4th so I could start work early on the 5th. If there were any fireworks nearby, I sleep through them. Just don’t snore in my RV.

Waiting for me in Mobile was a finished Merlin with a Vtwin. I flew it right away. Nice high cruise at 122 mph true airspeed.

I made a short video while flying. The audio sucks. I will keep experimenting.

We reworked the top cowl to increase the space for the injectors and coolant hose. Best not to have any interference there.

Between test flights I unpacked boxes of firewall forward components ordered from my last visit. The inventory is stacking up.

This week Paul and I started another Merlin Vtwin build. This time I was documenting every step with parts required, photos, and notes. We worked through the entire FF build, and it totals 34 steps. Most are quick and easy. The complete engine installation can be done in 2-3 days. We did most of it in 1-1/2 days. I should be writing up that manual and I would if I wasn’t busy blogging. But then I need to blog once in a while so everyone knows how much we are getting done. I look forward to finishing and posting the FF BOM and installation photos. BTW, the redrive upgrade is finished and components are arriving as I type. We even anodized the new backplate.

We made a short summary video which I will post on Youtube soon.

Builder Don created this condensed engine wiring harness diagram. We sent it off to China for fabrication. It just arrive to Dayton. So did I after another 8 hours wasted driving.

This is the plug & play harness. Takes just a few minutes to install. I just installed it today, but it needed a little fine-tuning on the lengths. Now yet another Merlin has a VTwin running in it! I will document the changes then have 50 harnesses made up.

Meanwhile, the panel harnesses have another upgrade. This one is pretty cool. Don added a few more circuit boards to plug directly into the remote components on the instrument tray. This simplifies the wiring and the installation!

We need to redesign the instrument tray for the smaller footprint now. Rivnuts will be inserted in the perfect locations which makes this installation really nice. While I am in Dayton I will follow up on the panels that are being custom fabricated for each customer. Waterjet cut, then anodized, then laser engraved.

I will bring the entire panel assembly to Oshkosh for your viewing pleasure.

Next stop looks like back to Florida this week. 15 more hours behind the wheel. Sigh. This time to pull a trailer I need down south to use to bring the Merlin Lite to Oshkosh coming up. Another 20+ hours’ driving. More if I detour to Mobile first. Double sigh.

At least I get to fly Merlins more often now!!!! BTW, the green Melrin factory demo with the HKS engine is still available. I would be happy to fly it to Oshkosh if I didn’t have to drive the Merlin Lite up.

In case you missed it Dan Johnson posted a nice article and video on our DEPOD innovation:


Back to work.





So much to report I don’t know where to start. Randomly:

The first Merlin with a Vtwin is now flying in USA! And it flys great! Smooth, fast, and just feels nice. And sounds nice from those reporting on the ground. And the avionics are super.  That is big news, but it gets better.

Almost the entire week was devoted to getting the St. Elmo. Alabama build center set up. What this really means is a lot of effort went into inventory management. The Vtwin installation has been a moving target. Don’t need to tell you it took a while. But now we have a product we can deliver! And to do that well means getting the assembly steps and details documented and then setting up the inventory and populating the shelves and bins. This was accomplished to a very large degree this week and means: 1) Builders will finally get their chit, and 2): The build program starts in earnest!

I prepared a step-by-step assembly process including the detailed BOM then matched the inventory bins to the steps and parts list. We need to do another build to get the part numbers perfect then I will share this document on the builder’s page.

You can see from the photos that these are not bare shelves either. Probably over $100k in inventory not including the aircraft kits. Engines, redrives, engine mounts, exhaust systems, cooling systems, props, cowls, strobes and other options and several complete deluxe panel avionics!

Now that we have a proper BOM nearly finished I can fill in the blanks to bring inventory levels to 100%. Then finally ship the parts builders have so patentially waited for. Very soon too!

Check out the build center and a cockpit flying selfie video:


Plus, both the engine wiring harness and the avionics wiring harness designs are finished and out for production.

The next Merlin is already in the build center. Next week I will be in Dayton to finish and deliver the last Merlin from Dayton. Then back to Alabama to work with Paul and crew on new builds.

Even more news: A Merlin was delivered to Brian from Texas. Or more accurately, he came and picked it up. He booked a flight to Mobile and rented a 20-foot U Haul box truck, drove it to Lowes and Harbor Freight and collected ratch straps, shipping blankets, and 2x4s and even some tools, I guess for his upcoming build. This plan means only driving one-way plus, the Merlin is protected inside the truck. Pretty good plan.

Say hi to Brian! I am sure he will post photos from his upcoming build on our Aeromarine Facebook page.

Now the really big news!

I found a case of Czech beer in one of the Merlins from the last container that was somehow overlooked!

Woohoo, a cold Czech beer after a very productive week.






Busy week and another Merlin!

How much content can I get into one post before my enchiladas arrive? I lot I think as I haven’t ordered them yet. Working backwards: I just finished a solid week of building at our Dayton center and now driving a Merlin to Alabama. Only 12-hour trip. Sigh. But we got A LOT done in Dayton. In no particular order:

The first Merlin recognition light is installed. We could call it a landing light, but it does not quite meet the FARs for certification as a true landing light. Plenty bright LEDs, however. And easy to install as we made a pretty cool bracket plus we already pre-wired a switch on our circuit board/panel for it.

Sure, I have been talking about how cool our panel is forever. But it is so cool I bring it up again. What’s new is we just finished two panels in one day. You can see the wiring, the remote components, and how one of the 7 screens looks like. This is a LOT of technology and I trust worth the wait. Now the final circuit board versions are done and same for the avionics wiring harness, and the remote mounting tray, and the custom engine harness. ALL DONE. I know, about fricking time. Soon we will stock up and ship out.

On this Merlin I have been trying to remove the protective film for about 6 months. Even with special solvent it was not possible. Maybe a blow torch and an edge grinder woulda worked but I doubt the Lexan woulda survived. Finally, I bit the bullet and removed the windscreen. Conveniently, about 5 miles away is the shop that produces all the RV canopies and a few hundred more. We traced the windscreen shape and cut a new one out. Back at the hangar I overlayed the old screen and clecoed the two together and drilled the holes.

New Lexan is installed. Don was working on the panel for an hour and never noticed the windscreen was there it is so crystal clear.

Today I mostly finished this Merlin which is not following me to Alabama for certification before handing over to the customer.

I conducted a series of taxi tests. Adjustments and comments:

The prop was set at 24 degrees. I changed it to 18, then 16, the 14 degrees before I got the 6,000 RPM, I like static. I will be compiling a worksheet on specs like 14 degrees measured 7 inches in from the prop tip and other useful data.

Idle needed fine-tuning. Seatbelts needed adjusting. Static port needed unplugging. Now all good and ready to fly. I made my usual high speed taxi test. And that is all I am saying. I never left the ground. It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there, and nobody saw me.

BTW, we have custom screens for the EFIS to match the Merlin and Vtwin specs. Copy the files to a SD card, upload to the EFIS, and configure. Plus a few other set-up tricks.

So here is the really big news: Oh, wait my enchiladas arrived!











am now driving from

Dayton Video

I spend all last week and the weekend in Dayton finishing two Merlins.

And made a demo flight in the Merlin Lite before handing #1 over to the customer in Illinois.

Here is a selfie video:


It was a good week, and these two Merlins will be delivered soon.

I even managed to get the graphics installed. New look for this year. I can provide these stripes in any color.

I worked alongside Builder Don for the avionics. He fine-tuned the engine wiring harness. The supplier has already laidd out the final engine harness version and will build some for us ASAP.

I also upgraded both reduction drives to the new back plate with the second bearing. I found a much easier way to get the belt onto the pulleys. Do it before sliding onto the back plate. Works great!

Here is what a blown fuse looks like. Red LED lights up so you know which fuse blew.

Also, I have the files from MGL to upload the screens custom for the Merlin and Vtwin. Screen is now perfect with the info we need.

I think the video covers everything, at least when my fat finger is not covering the mic.

Monday morning, I fly back to Dayton to finish these two Merlins!!!!!

Next stop will be Alabama to get more Merlins built. Finally, some serious progress and tangible results for all the months of R&D.







Dayton Days 4 & 5 Build Center – AVIONICS

Todays’ blog will be photos mostly because I do not want to write 1,000 words. We have been busting butt this week and I think we got a LOT done. I hope you agree. Here we go.

The upgraded reduction drive is finished and installed. We have 2 more backing plates water cut and milled and with bearings pressed in and will install in the next 2 Merlin’s in the build program and get more upgrades fabricated for everyone.

The photo above shows the redrive but more importantly, it shows the completed and installed engine wiring harness. This design is finally refined to perfect, and the harness manufacturer is fabricating enough for everyone. It is really ‘plug & play”.

Here is what the avionics tray looks like before riveting in behind the instrument panel. We waterjet the panel with the mounting holes all located then make a few bends to match the Merlin structure. Then install rivnuts in the remote avionics mounting holes. Simple and quick. Then drop it in to the aircraft. Everything we do is designed to be replicated perfectly. And designed to make installation super-fast and perfect.

Here is what the panel looks like from behind. This is really a money shot. The circuit boards are redesigned to accept 9 and 24 pin connectors.  Dozens of blade connectors are eliminated. The circuit boards attach to the panel and the harness comes ready to plug into the boards and to the remote avionics and antennas.

Any builder can have a panel that looks this good in just a few minutes!

Next step it to attach the panel to the Merlin then plug the panel harness into the components mounted on the avionics tray.

The panel is attached to the aircraft on the bottom with a piano hinge. Easy access.

The first of the 2 Merlins in our Dayton build program is 100% wired. Just a couple more day’s work with the cowl and fuel system.

Merlin #2 needs a day for the panel/avionics and a couple more days on the cowl and other details. I call that a good week What say you?


Days 2 & 3 Dayton build center

You really were not expecting a blog every day were you #13?

Today was special with the delivery of production Merlin Lite #1. We first re-assembled the aircraft after the 15+ hour drive from Tampa. ATIS reported a direct cross wind with gusts to 19 knots. Those are conditions that ground most ultralights. Or at least those pilots with more sense than me.

The flight was my first from New Carlisle. And would be the first hard surface landing for me in the new Merlin Lite. And by far the most cross wind with gusts to 19 knots. Here is a short video:


John Smiley accepting delivery of Merlin Lite #1. He is in central Illinois if anyone wants to visit him.

Progress finishing the 2 Merlins in Dayton is going OK but not as fast as we would like. It never does. But we have some pretty good results to report:

The engine harness design is finished! It was mostly finished a long time ago, but we needed to make one more installation with recent changes to nail it down perfectly and send the drawing out for harness production.

The reduction drive upgrade is getting installed. And we made some engine installation improvements as well.

An additional lower bearing is added.

BRS installation is mostly finished. Just some riveting remains.

The avionics’ wiring harness is also finished and will go into production ASAP.

The new circuit boards are fantastic! Now the wiring hardness simply plugs into the board rather than dozens of blade connectors.

Laser cut, anodized, and laser-etched panels.

These two Merlins are nearly finished. Next stop will be at M-Squared to get Paul up to speed on the upgrades and sort inventory for our builders and build programs. Great, another 12 hour’s drive…