Post Oshkosh Catch-Up

For me Oshkosh #41 is in the books. Little-known fact (keep it that way please) I have had 4 unplanned landings at this show. Might be a record.

The show was very good. Plenty of people. Hardly a mask in sight. More than 8,000 aircraft. Pretty good weather. Huge storm was bearing down directly on Oshkosh with hail predicted and many vendors were scrambling for bubble wrap and carpet padding to cover their aircraft with. I figured the dimples would just improve our cruise like a golf ball. Then this huge cell came right up to Oshkosh with an incredible lightning show, and dissipated. The collective will of the aviators put up a forcefield over the airport. Barely even got windy. Not so lucky in other parts of Wisconsin. Coulda been ugly but we dodged that bullet.

Merlin, Merlin Lite, DEP-OD, and Vtwin all on display on our prime real estate in the main aircraft area. Next year we may have a booth in the ultralight area as well so we can show off the Merlin Lite’s performance.

What’s DEP-OD you say? I just got done answering that question a few thousand times. Check out what Kitplanes wrote:

No, this is NOT a current option. It is a research project to prove my innovation. And might be scaled up to a real Hyper-STOL I am designing. But with COVID there has been a shortage of bar napkins so progress is slow.



Some DEP-OD images


Here is what you need to know about the Merlin Lite:

  • Order book stands at 19.
  • All the revisions are done including the tricycle gear.
  • Float design is done and 750 straight floats going into production this week. Only attachment points need refinement.
  • Parts for the first two Merlin Lites are finished.
  • Assembly of these two Merlin Lites has begun.
  • Serial #1 has the new Polini 303DS engine.
  • Serial #2 will be powered by a 30 kw electric motor and 10 kwh battery packs.
  • Motor/controller/battery packs (2)/ and 2 propellers are getting prepared for extensive bench testing.
  • Both aircraft will be flying in 1-2 months. 4 more Merlin Lites will be built this year (cross fingers)

The new long wing was installed with DEP-OD at Oshkosh. The wing is very impressive but I have said that before. Now the prototype is parked at Mt Vernon Airport queued up for the Midwest Expo in a few weeks. This was a logistics decision. Next container arrives to Dayton in 2 weeks. I will trailer one of the Merlins to this show. After the show I will deliver it to the Northern Wisconsin builder. Then I will return to Mt. Vernon to collect the Merlin Lite. Then drive to Dayton. Fly some. Work some. Then finally drive back to Florida. Maybe summer will be over by then.

In Vtwin news:

The factory has all our design change requests and has built one engine to these specs for our review. It is perfect. We even had a custom dipstick made for easy oil checking from a top cowl access cover.

Now they scheduled a custom production run of these engines for us. Enough to take up a lot of space in a container. We have also retained the space and services of a West Coast fulfilment center so we can quickly drop ship these engines directly to customers. This will save a lot on freight costs. We can ship reduction drives and props from Dayton by UPS.

Our Canadian customer is making quick work of his installation.

Oh my, I wrote too much. Signing off,



Dayton Trip

This last week was spent in Dayton split between our Phillipsburg Hangar and the AFRL lab. One Merlin build is just a few hours away from completion with the BRS installation basically done and panel mostly wired. We will fabricate some custom composite channels to cover the exposed BRS straps on top of the fuselage. The rear plexiglass window is replaced more brittle acrylic so the rocket will pass through easily.

The BRS is suspended above the baggage compartment so most of the baggage space is still usable. The rocket is attached to a bracket low enough so it gains momentum to blast through the acrylic window and high enough to be able to remove the baggage tray. The deployment cable has a nice soft arch and is accessible near the flap handle.

We also loaded a Merlin QBK now delivered to a new builder in Texas. This will be one beautiful Merlin with blue and white paint.


In less dramatic news I made a lot of progress finishing up the Merlin Lite wings. I will return to Dayton next week for final work and testing before shipping these wings to Florida for first flights.




Revolutionary New Part 103 Ultralight

Revolutionary? That’s a bold claim. But I think I can back it up. Here is an excerpt from our forthcoming press release:

Dayton, Ohio: Aeromarine is making the bold claim that their new Part 103 ultralight aircraft is truly revolutionary. “This is not your 1980s ultralight’ claims designer Chip W. Erwin. “I know, I was there. Our new Merlin Lite has real aircraft features and appeal: 7 windows, a door, a cockpit, baggage capacity and space, an instrument panel. And the list goes on”.

The Merlin Lite is based on the Merlin, a popular single seat personal sport aircraft that costs under $40k and cruises at 120mph. The cockpit size of the Merlin Lite is nearly the same size and capacity as the Merlin but the powerplant is scaled down and the wing aspect ratio is increased.

The extensive features INCLUDED or available with the Merlin Lite are not often found on your typical tube & fabric ultralight:


The Merlin Lite meets the FAA Part 103 rules which means no license, medical, registration or certification required. The first public display will be at the Midwest Expo in Mt. Vernon, Illinois beginning September 10, 2020.

Here are some photos form the shop. The BRS is now installed. This week will be the big push to finish the Merlin Lite so we can bring it to our booth at the Midwest Expo. There is still a lot of work to do but I think we are on target. Tundra tire axles are being welded up this week. Fuel tank is nearly finished. Panel is finished. Controls are mostly finished. When I am in Dayton I am working long hours on this aircraft and with a customer Merlin build program as well so writing blogs get delayed. But I will make an effort to post more progress photos.


There will be many doubters about our ability to meet the tight Part 103 parameters.  Fine, bring it on! I will bring some scales to the Midwest Expo. Anyone can check their weight on the scales to verify accuracy then we will weigh the Merlin Lite. Currently we are 4.2 lbs under the limit! Others will question our ability to meet the 24 knot stall speed restriction with only a 22 foot wing span. Well, they are right. But what they don’t know is our first Merlin Lite has the speed wing. To meet Part 103 we will install our UL wing pictured above. This wing has a larger wing area and a very long-span 3-hinge Fowler flap. Part 103 rules allow lift enhancing devices. Furthermore, the stall speed is measured with only a 170 lb pilot and maybe a quart of fuel. So bring it on! Revolutionary new ultralight? I think so.

See the Merlin Lite page. I have posted updated pricing and features/options list.


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:

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.

Personal Sport Aircraft

Deland Air Show