But not all of it is good. Let’s get the negative stuff done so we can get on with the good stuff. IMHO best just to tell it like it is.
Shipping of container #3 is delayed until the middle of January.
That is so frustrating. It was supposed to ship in November or even before. Our assembly shop just didn’t get the work done mostly blaming it on not having every part. there was a communication breakdown between them and Tech Pro. I got that sorted and they got the parts. And should have shipped last week but the assembly shop got quarantined. Just our luck. After the holidays they will finish up some painting and load the container with a new ship date of 15 January and ETA to our build center of February.
2021 was actually an excellent year for Merlin sales with some 6 containers of aircraft sold. A lot of this has to do with the new Vtwin 4-cycle engine so lets’ start there.
We had some rough running at idle issues. We spent 2 months chasing down a rabbit hole thinking the ECU needed reprogramming due to the prop and redrive loads. Turns out all we need to do was turn up the fuel pressure higher. Runs so smooth you would think it was not even running. We have a bunch of test runs now. Here are a couple:
We have engines in stock. We have reduction drives in stock. That is of course very important but useless without the firewall forward installation package. The good news here is that design is now finished, and the first two FF PKGs were shipped this week to our Dayton build center.
Above are the 2 FF PKGs in transit. We have some Merlins collecting dust waiting for these and now finally they are coming. We will make 2 installations in Dayton and one in CZ to control the parts, make the installation manual, and the Bill of Materials list. About the only good news about the late shipping container is that we can include more FF PKGs and finally get these out to our patient builders.
Here are some reduction drive images. Last week we dismantled this redrive so we can document the re-installation and make the assembly to the engine manual and BOM. Plenty of redrives in stock.
For everyone who has ordered our deluxe 8-1/2 inch MGL EFIS panel we have some good news. Most of our orders have been filled. At one time there was a 5-month lead time due to the microprocessor shortage, but we dodged that bullet.
We are designing a new instrument panel to fit this EFIS. It will be hinged at the bottom for easy access. The switches and fuses are all mounted on a custom circuit board. The panel is laser-cut for this circuit board and EFIS then powder-coated. And all the wiring harness are custom-made to fit including the 3 antenna cables. This very sophisticated and complete panel will have an installation time of perhaps a few hours or a day at most.
This Merlin has a Rotax 582 installed. It is now in the black hole of container shipping on its way to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps it will show up at a future airshow there.
Merlin Lite News:
The 30 lb. 750 straight floats are done. The Merlin Lite on floats is gonna be a blast. And with electric power it will make more than just a splash!
I have been flying the Merlin Lite prototype quite a bit lately. But most of my video cameras did not record and none of the audio was captured. I have bought new batteries and accessories plus another camera. The last flight yesterday was in 12 mph crosswinds with gusts to 16 mph. It was a good test, and the aircraft handled the winds a lot better than the pilot. But cut me some slack after all it is a taildragger. Some of those gear-testing landings will be posted in the future once edited for my ego. Follow the Aeromarine page on Facebook to get a notice when this video is published.
It is clear that we need to build more Merlins and Merlin Lites and even a few of our 2-seat Merlins. In January I will sneak through the lockdown and visit CZ again to address this supply issue. I plan to be flying the Vtwin-powered Merlin and the Polini-powered Merlin Lite then.
I will also have most of the electric powered system for the Electrolite by then. Merlin Lite #2 will have this power system. I might be over the pond for a while to get all this work done. Maybe I should pack my hockey gear.
We won’t have much of a back-log once the airframes arrive to the USA. We are adding a third build center near Mobile, AL. We also plan to bring a 2-seat Merlin to USA to offer conversion training, especially for the Merlin Lite as many of those customers are likely to need some refresher training. More on this new center to follow. Have to sandbag some news for the next blog.