Czech Trip Post: 1. Vtwin 2. Merlin Lite 3. Merlins

So you can skip to the blog of interest:

1: Vtwin stuff

2: Merlin Lite & Electrolite Update

3: Merlins and other dribble

Strange that the first 3 trips this year under the Czech lockdown were a breeze. But as soon as the country opened up it became a lot harder to get in. Nice that the restaurants and pubs were open again but I could do without the tourists. Oh wait, I am one. At least this trip a medical tourist. I took my son there to have some wisdom teeth pulled. Great holiday for him.


You would think a hockey player wouldn’t need to lose teeth voluntarily.

Part 1: Vtwins

Here is an example of a typical Vtwin’s life installed in an ATV. Built to handle this abusive environment. As I like to say “Redneck tested.” Flying in an aircraft is easy work.

Security bolt will be installed for tractor props on the redrive.

Exhaust will be connected to the engine base so it moves with the engine which reduces exhaust pipe fatigue

Radiator is custom-made as it is smaller than the Rotax radiator. Less BTUs to dispel. Cowl is made to match and has better lines

The Vtwin to Merlin installation is pretty much done. We will have a Czech Merlin and a Dayton Merlin flying soon. Finished: Exhaust, cowl, custom radiator, redrive, prop, engine mount, and most of the fuel system. We do need to finish the systems installation, sort a header tank for the fuel return line, and make an assembly manual. We also are reprogramming the ECU. ATVs have no load in neutral but aircraft are turning a prop and reduction drive in idle. We have the cable and software and are working to optimize the engine ECU program to match aircraft operations. We have 20 engines in stock now plus a dozen reduction drives. Shipping Vtwins resumes as soon as we have the ECU reprogrammed.

Part 2. Merlin Lite & the Electrolite

This is taking longer than I expected. For one, the 20+ changes including new engine, new wing, tricycle gear, updated controls, basically results in nearly a new aircraft design. But that was the easy part. Making all the parts and then assembly was hampered by the Czech government paying workers nearly as much to stay home as to work. We know that is not just in the Czech Republic either. But we are getting somewhere. All the parts are made now which is the hard part. Assembly is well underway. I am expecting the first two airframes done this month with the Polini 303DS getting installed on one and electric on #2. Then we will push to get 4 more Merlin Lites done this year.

Merlin Lite #1 gets electric power

This is still #1 but parts for #2 are done and two spar sets are done.

This REB30 motor has 30 kw power with up to 40kw available for take-off.

Aeromarine (that’s me) has patent #2 in progress. This one is for the Jettisonable battery pods. The ribbon copy of Patent #1 will arrive in 2 weeks. That one is the DEP on Demand innovation.

The design of the 750 straight floats for the Merlin Lite is done and most of the parts are made. The floats will be done on time to be installed on the electric powered Merlin Lite. Oh, I forgot, it has it’s own name The Electrolite (TM). Float brackets will be installed on #1. After the flight test program is finished in the Czech Republic we can ship to USA and move right to float operation. I have already figured out my docking station. And not for the notebook!

Something to imagine: A true Part 103 Electrolite with a 40kw electric motor on floats. That is close to 54hp with lightweight straight floats, huge wing, huge slotted flap. Think duck taking off a pond! This product is going to make a huge splash! Figuratively of course.

Part 3: Merlins and other dribble

I hate to make excuses but the container I thought would ship about now won’t ship until mid November. But at least it is close. A couple Merlins are getting some really nice paint jobs. That is always nice. The Czech painting for the most part is excellent and a really good value.

The container after this one is already sold out. 2021 was a record year for Merlin sales and 2022 is well underway for deliveries. The Merlin with the Vtwin is a perfect match.

Dozens of mock-up jigs are made to fine-tune the precision matched-hole programming

I always wondered how they got the holes to line up so perfectly between bent ribs and skins. I thought it was the high-end Catia software. And that is true but that is only accurate to a limit. The CAD designers cut mini tooling to bend then drill small part samples then measure the exact hole position after the part is bent and tweak the software. That is how the Merlin goes together so perfectly without hardly ever even picking up a drill.


Here is another interesting jig: This is a cross section of the Merlin fuel tank. It simplifies the bending and installation of the VDO fuel sender. You can also see the fuel pick-up.

BRS bridle covers

This new fiberglass fairing covers the Kevlar BRS bridles from the front spar to the chute cover. When it passes the rear spar the fairing is a bit taller to cover both front and rear bridles together until they slot through the fuselage skin to attach to the chute and rocket. Look carefully and you can see the new aluminum breakaway chute cover. I brought 6 sets of these covers with me on the aircraft. They are too long for the luggage so I just carried them with me. Big boomerangs…..

One last note: The new deluxe panel design featuring the 7-1/2 inch MGL EFIS is pretty much done. Builder Don is working on the wiring harness and custom circuit board for the switches and fuses. This will be one really nice panel with ADSB in and out, traffic and weather overlays, synthetic vision, etc… And take hours instead of days to install. I am keeping him fueled with beer….. Fine line between not enough and too much.

Legal drinking age is 18 in the Czech Republic. Happy Day!




1 reply
  1. Anthony Reed
    Anthony Reed says:

    Hi Chip! Congrats on all of your fantastic progress. I was SO excited to see a new blog today about the Merlin Lite. Seriously can’t wait to see the final product. Before long, Guam will be a new home to one of your amazing birds. Keep it coming!!!!

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