We’ve received requests to offer a 2-seat Merlin.
The response that we already have one may come as a surprise. So why have we kept it under wraps?
- Our focus has been on the Merlin single-seat aircraft. We promote this aircraft as ‘better-than-LSA’ as it has better performance than the majority of LSA aircraft and it does so at 1/3rd the cost.
- Focus. We needed to finish our Vtwin and deluxe avionics package installations. Plus, we had to complete our AFRL contract work. If you saw our booth or video from the SNF show you know we have plenty to do at any given moment.
- As of today, there are 156 LSA models (4 of which I am responsible for). Does the market need # 157? Not if #157 isn’t any better than the first 156 LSA models.
- MOSAIC is coming. YouTubeVideo This LSA rewrite allows us to offer a bigger LSA that can carry more payload and fly faster.
- Plus, we can expand our builders’ assist program.
- The LSA rule has a few well-intentioned limits that are flawed. Not allowing retractable gear on seaplanes was one. I fixed that. Another one is the stall speed must be clean, i.e., flaps and slats retracted. The result was LSA needed a large wing area which made it poor for top speed and very poor for turbulence. The coming revision sorts that and opens the door for properly proportioned aircraft like the Merlin II. And we now have a 2–3-year head start on the competition.
What is so special about the Merlin II? A lot or we wouldn’t put it on the market.
It is light
All aluminum, CAD-designed with precision matched-hole technology, and well-engineered. Most of the first LSA aircraft began life as a 450 kg European microlight class and were morphed to the 600 kg LSA class. Most of them gained weight. And over the years more and more options were added, and more weight gained. What started at 750 lbs empty now weighs some 900 lbs. And performance has suffered. A lot. And bigger, more expensive engines are used like the Rotax 912iS or the 915iS adding a lot of complexity, more weight, and a lot more cost. We are not going there with the Merlin II. We are keeping it light and will benefit from lower-cost engines and still have good performance.
Size and ergonomics
A lot of our customer base is aging, including me! And your average pilot does not weigh 175 lbs. anymore. There are a lot of LSA and E-AB that are just too small, or simply hard to get into. The Merlin II will fit just about anyone. And, with the cantilevered high wing and 180-degree opening door you can drive your scooter right up to it and slide in (in reference to all those scooters at Oshkosh and SNF).
|MERLIN II PERFORMANCE*|
|Wing Span||32 Feet|
|Cockpit Width||52 Inches|
|Empty Weight||800 Lbs|
|Gross Weight||1650 Lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||30 gallons|
|Stall Speed with Flaps||38 mph|
|Stall Speed||47 mph|
|Cruise Speed Range||90-150 mph|
|Never Exceed Speed||200 mph|
|Rate of Climb||1400 fpm|
|Service Ceiling||23,000 feet|
|Take-off Roll||220 feet|
|Landing Roll||275 feet|
|* Specifications WILL change.|
Choose from either stick or yoke controls which can make the Merlin even more user-friendly per your preference. Side yoke maybe for the Cirrus drivers.
The baggage size and capacity are huge so your overnight bags and golf clubs (and hockey gear!) can make the trip.
The panel is the loaded MGL EFIS which is also economically priced. We will use the bigger version of the MGL EFIS along with a 2nd screen so you will have the EFIS, EMS, ADS-B in and out, traffic and weather overlays, and synthetic vision. Plus, we will create our own proprietary circuit boards and wiring harnesses to simplify installation, manage avionics, and manage the fuel system. Auto-pilot and IFR and BRS will be options.
The Merlin II is shipping now with the Rotax 912UL, 912ULS, or 912iS engines. We can offer this aircraft through our build program for around $125k. That is a great value compared to the LSA market. But IMHO still a bit pricey. For 2023 we plan to make the Merlin II available with an 1100CC Vtwin, the bigger version of our Merlin Vtwin. We effectively cut the cost of the aircraft powerplant by 60%. Plus, we have a very modern 4-stroke engine with fuel injection and electronics ignition and fully liquid-cooled. And, of course, red neck tested.
Our objective is to reach a sub-$100k price point. I think we can do it.