Aeromarine has a long history with Aviad which is Francesco Di Martino’s aircraft company founded in Italy. We built quite a few of his MG-12 Zigolo and developed an electric-powered version which worked very well and flew for nearly one hour.
This aircraft is a floater meaning the wing loading is so low that it will stay in the air on mild thermals. But it also means it is a very fair-weather aircraft. Cross winds were challenging but turn it into the wind and take off in a few feet. We had plenty of fun with the Zigolo and still offer plans and support, but sales were too low to justify keeping kits in stock. The long wing was just too cumbersome to store and transport and the ‘floater’ market just too small.
We believe in ultralights, and I have been flying them since 1980. They’ve come a long way. Even the stinkin’ 2-stroke engines have improved so much to be considered reasonably reliable now. So, along with Tech Pro Aviation, Aeromarine has introduced the Merlin Lite which sets a new standard for ultralights with a conventional aluminum airframe, a door, windows, EFIS, electric trim, hydraulic brakes, and huge flaps. This is a revolutionary ultralight aircraft and will find an upscale market. See Merlin Lite page.
Meanwhile, on a rock in the Mediterranean, Francesco has been quietly designing his version of the next-generation ultralight. He has named it the MG-21 Zigolo. Which sounds too much like the Mig-21and gigolo. So, I have chosen the working title of TrueLite for it. Now his design is basically finished and flying. And I am impressed! And I am not easily impressed! Here’s why:
- The wings fold in 2 minutes!!!!!! That is extremely important. A good number of our ultralight customer base is very price conscious are not interested in paying hundreds of dollars for hangar space. Another good number cannot even find hangar space at any price. The super-quick wing fold means the footprint is much smaller and the aircraft can fit on a small trailer and into a one-car garage or a corner of a hangar. That is huge. I am not aware of any other ultralight that has such a quick and simple wing fold. Most take too much time to disassemble and that becomes a barrier to flying often. The TrueLite wings have no fuel to remove, and the controls remain connected. Super simple means super safe.
- The TrueLite is truly light coming in at only 235 lbs. Most manufactures offer a Part 103 compliant aircraft, but most customers do not buy that model striped down to the bare minimums. This means that most ultralight, if not all ultralights are over the weight limit. We like our bigger engine and nice options. The TrueLite comes with the popular Cosmos 300 liquid-cooled twin ignition engine, an EMS, and a full EFIS and the Commelli rescue parachute and still remains well under the Part 103 weight limit. Hard to beat that.
- All-aluminum construction and strut braced. This means the wing is aluminum and not supported by dozens of wires like most classic tube and Dacron ultralights. We do concede that the tail is covered in fabric. But it is no big effort to cover as we provide a pre-sewn surface.
- Floats! Aeromarine’s 750 aluminum floats are a perfect match for the TrueLite. As my customers know, I am obsessed with float flying. Why? Because it is a blast! But it is also usually cost or logistically prohibitive. Where are you going to park your ultralight seaplane? I know where. In 1984 I had an ultralight with folding wings (it also had 2 engines and 2 seats but that was pre-Part 103). I just put it on a boat lift. That was super. But if you don’t have a boat lift just slide it back on your trailer like a small boat and trailer it home. Launch from any boat ramp, fold out the wings, and go scout fishing spots! How cool is that? I know, I have done it. And I will do it again soon.
- Part 103 has an allowance of 30 lbs. per float. Aeromarine’s floats weigh 30 lbs. each. Perfect. But we are still some 20 lbs. under the Part 103 total weight limit. I have an idear. Amphibious! I have sketched out a simple and light retractable gear system for the TrueLite. THIS MEANS WE CAN OFFER A TRULY PART 103 COMPLIANT AMPHIBIOUS ULTRALIGHT. Now we are getting into really cool territory.
- It gets better. Aeromarine has been flying on electric power for several years. We have new systems in the works for the Merlin Lite. It will be easy to install this system to the TrueLite. That means we will be able to offer an AFFORDABLE electric amphibious ultralight with quick wing fold. Now you are witnessing true innovation.