I flew to Dayton last week to finish up a couple Merlin Vtwin builds. Good news is I did get 3 days work in. More on that later. Over those 3 days the spaghetti model of the hurricane trackers pretty much had one thing in common: They all crossed about dead center over my home in Tampa. Monday I decided to fly back to Tampa and booked ticket #1. That flight was cancelled. So I booked ticket #2. That flight was cancelled. Booked ticket #3 for early Tuesday via Philadelphia. Made it to Philly and to my gate to the Tampa flight. It was not yet cancelled. 20 minutes from boarding time and still not cancelled. I was holding my breath. I had already checked and there were no more options. No other flights remained on any other airline to Tampa. Then we boarded. Then wheels up. My chances improved a lot. But Tampa airport still could and did close but at least it remained open to about 2 hours after I landed in Tampa. Whew. I had a lot to do around the house and got r done. Have to protect my girls. And maybe some time left for some kite surfing (in my past life)!
Before photo: Dock is about 2-1/2 feet above lake level. Windsock is dismantled. I doubt it was designed for 155 mph winds. Pool is drained some. Probably not enough. Grass is cut. Loose chit is stowed. Garage is packed. Sand bags in place. Tubs are filled. Spare water is frozen. Battery packs are charged. Beer is cold.
Back to Dayton business: We have 2 Merlins with Vtwins nearly finished. We are making refinements in the installations making everything perfect. But we got slowed down as the connectors we had were not perfect. More stuff ordered that will arrive this week and Don and Ben will continue without me. I plan to return to Dayton next week to get r done.
Here are some encouraging photos.
- Circuit boards for the left side of the panel are done and getting stocked up.
- First batch of laser-cut panels came back from the anodizer but we could see the manufactures print on the aluminum through the anodization so they were returned for proper cleaning and re-anodization.
- We built a tray behind the instrument panel to hold all the remote components. This will have easy access as the new panel is mounted on a hinge and folds down.
- Fuel system is sorted.
We are close to shipping the next container of 4 Merlins. This container will have a lot of the parts our builders have been waiting for. Finally, some real progress. Plus the Merlin Lite is at the airport and will enter the test flight protocol in the next few days.
BIG PICTURE PLAN:
- Finish and fly two Vtwin Merlins.
- Ship next container of 4 Merlins. Deliver parts for builders so they can finish their Vtwin Merlins.
- Build stock firewall forward components and finalize BOM.
- Start production of 750 floats at M-Squared.
- Parts production for a new batch of 8 Merlins will start a week or so. These parts will turn into Merlins at M-Squared.
- Finish Merlin Lite flight testing using UL-2 standard as our means of compliance. UL-2 is the Czech and German standard for light aircraft. Then build parts for USA assembly.
- Work on electric power systems for the Merlin Lite.
- Fly the Merlin Lite on wheels and floats when the first two arrive to USA.
Yes, it is a long list. And it does not even mention our military projects. But we have a great team and all this stuff is getting done.
We did take a couple hours off and re-installed the amphib floats to our original Merlin. This weekend there is a parade of planes through New Carlisle, Ohio. It is an annual and very popular event. I will miss it but the Merlin on amphibs won’t.
And getting ready for hurricane parties with Ben with our special Merlin tumblers created by Sandy, our new best friend.
After the last hurricane Irma 4 years ago I returned to Dayton only to get drenched by the remnants of Irma as they passed through Dayton. I think history will repeat itself and I will get to experience Ian twice. Isn’t that special.