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Baggage Capacity

Baggage Capacity

I have seen a few single-seater aircraft over the years and most of them look like the pilot just barely fits in so the question of baggage area is not even asked. I am not sure I would want to shoe-horn into a cockpit like that, or how practical it would be. The Merlin however, has plenty of personal space. It is wide and tall enough for nearly everyone to fit in, put on a headset, and not bump into the canopy or feel cramped at all.

But to the point, how useful is the baggage area? My comments:

  • Baggage area is useless if the aircraft does not have the payload to carry anything. The Merlin has some 300 lbs of payload so most people will have the free margin to carry 25 lbs of baggage.
  • Baggage area is useless if the CG range restricts or limits its function. The Merlin’s CG will be toward the forward limit if one of the 4-stroke engines is installed. That means it will be next to impossible to load the aircraft past the rear CG limit unless other parameters such as gross weight are exceeded. Even then it would be hard to get anywhere near the rear CG. I am flying without baggage at 26%. Adding the full capacity of 25 lbs and ½ fuel would put me at only 29%.
  • Baggage area is useless if it is too small.

A reasonable comparison would be what airlines allow for carry-on. Many travelers have now trained themselves to live out of a carry-on for 3-7 days. I can manage to fly carry-on when I travel to China for 3 weeks.

Airline limits are 9 x 14 x 22 inches and some limit weight to 22 lbs.

The Merlin recessed baggage space is about 18 -1/2 inches square and 6 inches deep. The distance from the baggage floor to the top panel is 20-24 inches. So an average airline roll-on will fit fine plus whatever can be packed around it like maps, batteries, jackets, little johnny, etc.

Alternatively a tent would easily fit in the tray with camping equipment around it and a pad and sleeping bag above.

2016-02-28 08.52.16

Here sits a normal roll-on suitcase. Easy in and out and plenty of room for other stuff around it.

2016-02-28 09.10.10

A finishing touch: Drink holder installed!

  1. Woody,

    I carried full fuel, computer bag, tool kit, roll-on baggage, and a case of oil in the Merlin when I flew to Oshkosh and back.

    I also am doing test flights with 85 lbs of equipment in the baggage area PLUS a BRS on the back shelve behind that. I am at the rear CG or even behind it and the Merlin flies perfectly. Plus there is plenty of room for all you would want to carry.

    If you choose the HKS engine you will want to carry weight in the back to balance the aircraft better. I know it can carry a LOT more than advertised and be safe. Perhaps I will have the specs revised.


  2. Being semi-retired, I was looking hard at this plane for the sole purpose of flying around the country and camping along the way and going to fly-ins as well. I currently do this in my truck and on a Harley Sportster 883, the Sportster being analogous to this aircraft. That being said, 25 lbs may be fine for clothing only for a few days, but it isn’t when you are living out of a backpack with clothing, cooking gear, food, and shelter. I could do it ultralight-backpacking style, but this is an LSA approved craft, not an ultralight. Being able to carry 50-75 lbs of gear should be doable in a motorized conveyance of any kind, at a minimum.

    This was my perfect idea of a plane with a great price and short build time, but not being able to carry a full fuel load (small as it is), my 220 lb body, and camping gear, is a deal killer. What a shame.


Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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