News From the Czech Republic!

I know it’s been a while, but I don’t write just to hear myself type. It has not been long since my last visit to CZ however, the next batch of Merlins is about ready to ship plus I need to follow up on Merlin Lite production. And I was invited to this symposium in Venice, Italy:

Future Opportunities for Seaplanes & Amphibious Aviation 

You may recall I have a long history with amphibious aircraft and seaplanes.

Here is the link for those interested:

https://eventee.co/en/e/future-opportunities-for-seaplanes-amphibious-aviation-20537?event_id=20537

Once in Europe it is cheap and easy to get around, so it made sense to visit Tech Pro Aviation then scoot down to Venice for a day.

My great plan started out terrible. Last week I developed diverticulitis. Of course, I had no idea why I felt so bad, just worked through for 5 days it until just 3 days before my flight. Those 3 days were spent in the hospital getting poked and prodded then with an IV stuck in my arm. They unplugged me in time for my flight which I did not want to miss regardless of the doctor’s advice. I already had two surgeries (hockey-related, I know, shocking), and I know Czech doctors are very good. But maybe I should have stayed home. Probably TMI but again, I toughed it out. And, so far, I obviously have survived the trip. Just took a bit of an effort to write this blog.

So, I will get to it as I finally have somethings to blog about.

The first TrueLite shipped and, if the customs gods are kind, will be on display at the upcoming Sun n Fun show starting 9 April at Lakeland, FL. If we can get some hours on it, then we can fly at the show. Either way, more videos will be produced, including a feature from Dan Johnson if we are lucky.

We will be demonstrating the 2-minute wing fold often. Likely get it down to one-minute.

On to the Merlin. It appears finally we are reaching the end of a very long tunnel, and the light is getting brighter. The improved fuel system is finished and in production. We have a custom cut 3mm rubber gasket coming in a few days then we can bench test. All the other parts prepared and 50 pumps with filters and regulators are in stock.

This new system required a new fuel control circuit board which I have previously discussed. The new boards have arrived. A new panel has been cut and posted to builder Don. He is now fitting all the components to the board to assure the geometry is perfect.

Here you can also see the waterproof quick disconnect for the fuel pump power and fuel level sensor.

We are installing the new fuel system on one of the next Merlins and will be conducting the test flight program for Czech approval of the Vtwin installation. Concurrently, we are updating the build manual and documentation to include every single part and schematic.

We also have plenty of landing light brackets now. Super easy to install to the front gear leg.

And some photos of the new cabin vent NACA.

I plan to bring a fitted instrument panel and a fuel pump assembly to SNF show. TPA will complete the retrofit protocol and video and plenty of fuel assemblies and send by air to our Alabama build center. Then we can finally get on with the builds after the show

And here for your viewing please are the next 4 Merlins nearly ready to pack to the container and ship to USA.

You can also see the new top cowl with improved fairings to provide plenty of clearance for the fuel injectors and cooling hose.

On to the much-awaited Merlin Lite news: Merlin Lite parts are in full production. But we still have a lot of work to do with flight testing, structural testing, and documentation. That will not slow down parts production, just being realistic that this new project needs to be done right and that takes more time than we would like.

The revised plan is that we will finish and fly two Merlin Lites in CZ. One with the Polini, and one with our new electric power system. Then we ship the first two finished Merlin Lites (one being labeled and Electrolite), and 6 parts kit. Paul does not know it yet, but he might have to go to CZ for some assembly training.

I will write more about our electric power system progress later.

Now you can see being silent for a while does not mean we are not getting a LOT done.

See some of you at SNF.

CHIP