Electric News (Again)

Photo from prototype system 2014 and from July, 2020

I was right 6 years ago when I said electric power would be great in an ultralight. I was wrong to think I could do it myself. Well, I did do it myself, just not good enough to be a commercial product.

Rather than repeat a lot of what I wrote years ago here I will repeat it on my web site instead. Just updated of course. Not too surprising I didn’t have to change much. I knew then that viable electric power was dependent on battery energy density which was only improving 5-7% per year. That also proved true.

Now I am finally using a system from a supplier I have known for years and with excellent results. You can see our teaser video here: https://youtu.be/CXYo2CfdPb4

We are now offering this ‘plug & fly’ system to our Zigolo customer base and, if we have enough orders, to a new group of Zigolo builders/flyers. I will have a new Zigolo page up today. And here is my retro electric page:   https://www.aeromarine-lsa.com/electric/#top

It costs more than my unrealistic target but IMHO absolutely worth it. Finally, fly low, slow, quiet, and safe.

CWE

 

 

Congrats to Randi: Airworthiness Certificate Issued!

Last Friday the FAA inspected Randi’s Merlin and with zero snags issued the airworthiness certificate. Randi attended our Dayton, Ohio based build center. Engine test was the day prior to the inspection. This is one beautiful Merlin.

Perhaps Randi will write us a guest blog as he flys the hours off.

Now I have slightly more room in the hangar and will focus on getting the Electrolite flying. Already we have the installation finished:

I will have video and preliminary flight data in a day or so. Only took 5 years…..

CHIP

So Much News!

I finally made it back to our Dayton workshop where we are backlogged 5 builds. At lease some of them are pretty far along. One customer will have his Merlin taildragger inspected this Friday.

In summary:

*One electric-powered Zigolo “Electrolite” is nearly finished. I expect to fly it this trip.

*One Merlin taildragger with a HKS will get its’ wings tomorrow.

*One Merlin Lite prototype getting controls installed.

*One Merlin with HKS is nearly finished by builder Don.

*One Merlin with 582 is progressing as engine just arrived.

Over-stuffed hangar

Let’s start with the Electrolite. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for some news. Finally I have a professional power system. Installation will be only a couple days. Just as soon as I have room I will put the wings on and fly. Expecting 30 minutes. This will be fun.

On to the Merlin Lite. We will have a few versions of this aircraft. Long wing for Part 103 and to double as a motor-glider. Short wing for faster ultralight for those that register as an E-AB. Polini 250DS engine. And likely electric power after we test our system on the Electrolite.

With all that is going on in the world today it is refreshing to get back to work and to offer affordable aircraft that are truly fun and exciting to fly and actually have some viability as personal transport at 120 mph, or as clean, quiet electric flight.

This will be a big year for Aeromarine as we finally complete some new designs. Next blog will have more news on the VTwin, if flying the Electrolite don’t dominate our headlines.

CWE, Dayton, Ohio.

Road Trip – Finally. And a Merlin Lite update

I have been locked down in our Florida pool home on a private ski lake for over a month. I am only skiing once a day. Sigh. And the last container of aircraft and floats has been quarantined in our Dayton hangar. But from May 1st with the restrictions lifting I can finally make a long road trip starting with the transport of a set of floats and some 737 jacks to Dayton.

Loaded and leaving sunny warm Florida.

Our Dayton hangar has been totally packed with 3 Merlins, 1 Zigolo, a Merlin Lite, and a set of 1450 floats. The Merlin Lite has been moved out for engine installation and now I am delivering the 1450 floats and a Merlin QBK.

Builder Don helped a lot with the packing. Motive: Make more room for his Merlin build.

First stop from Dayton was Green Bay to hand over the 1450 floats. Then on to St. Paul, MN to meet our newest builder Frank. And while in St. Paul I stopped by BRS to pick up the new Merlin Lite 500 parachute.

Frank in St. Paul with his new Merlin QBK.

Now buried in this post a small Merlin Lite update: 1) We ran the engine! That Polini 250DS is super! And the clutch makes it very smooth. 2) New longer wings are in design. This will allow us to meet the 26 nm stall speed. 3) Next step is to install the control system and BRS. We have started this work now and hope to complete it this month. We can begin our test flight program with the short wings and not worry about the stall speed. We know we can meet that parameter. The big task is to verify our empty weight when the aircraft is completely finished. As it stands now we have weighed the components seperatly and are good. Have a look at the first engine test run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmrd4nU9_qw

Excerpt from the Merlin Lite wing strength calculations
Polini 250DS: Note tempoary fuel tank
Right side. Electric start of course

This will not be your 1980s ultralight: Liquid-cooled, dual ignition, electric start Polini engine. Instrument panel with full EFIS and iPad with Foreflight moving map. Electric trim. All aluminum cantilevered wing airframe. Fully-enclosed cockpit. 3-blade carbon ground-adjustable propeller. BRS rescue system. It even has brakes! Nothing else like it in Part 103 class. Not even close. We are pushing hard to complete and fly it.

Inexpensive yet very sophisticated glass panel. In an ultralight! Air speed, altimeter, G meter, VSI, artificial horizon all on EFIS and more. iPad has Foreflight installed. Wing tip strobes and nav lights. Even a USB power source! My other ultralight has a rain gauge for an ASI. What a contrast.

Welcome to our new website!

Aeromarine has been busy creating new aircraft and power systems. We are getting close to first flights and going public. Our engineers continue their preparation and as soon as I can travel again, we will be back flying. For my 12 blog readers you will have the first look on our new web site.

All our big news was going to be made public at Sun n Fun this month. But now that is cancelled. I sure hope there is an Oshkosh show. We will be much farther along with flying aircraft by Oshkosh and a big booth space to show all. We have so much new and nearly ready to make public that we decided to make a completely new web site.

As those following the Merlin may already know HKS stopped all engine production so the 700E is no longer available. That leaves the Rotax 582 which works great on the Merlin but has a lot less market appeal as it is a 2-stroke engine.

The Aeromarine V-Twin is a 60 hp liquid-cooled 4-cycle 800cc 80-degree fuel-injected, electronic ignition engine with electric start.

CAD design now finished for Merlin installation

The V-twin is ‘red-neck proven’ meaning hundreds of thousands of this engine have been manufactured and put to the test in ATVs. These 4-wheel off-road vehicles are run hard in extreme off-road conditions.  They have proven themselves to be very durable and reliable. Perfect for aircraft use.  Plus, this engine is very modern especially compared to nearly every aircraft engine. It has electronic ignition and fuel injection. And designed to be run at high power settings.

With the new engine we needed a carbon ground-adjustable prop perfectly matched to it. That work was commissioned and finished. Our first props just arrived.

NEW Aeromarine carbon propellers!

Another big piece of news not quite ready for public disclosure is our new Merlin Lite aircraft. Lighter than the Merlin? Hard to do but possible as we are targeting the tight Part 103 Ultralight rules. Our math shows that we can do it. This means you can have a smaller, lighter Merlin for even less money and even less regulation. You need more paperwork to fly a drone or remote-controlled aircraft than for the Merlin Lite!

Power will be a small Polini PPG engine to start and possibly electric power if I ever manage to get that finished.

We just received a container of Merlins, a set of floats, and our first Merlin Lite and despite all the world drama and Florida & Ohio lockdowns we managed to unload the container.  Frustrating to have all these kits to deliver to customers and the new Merlin Lite to finish and I am stuck in Florida. At least our ski lake/seaplane base is still open.

Here is the brochure prepared for SNF now well in advance and likely outdated by the time the show rolls around:

https://www.aeromarine-lsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SNF-BROCHURE-2020.pdf

Deland Air Show