Change of Pace Blog: Lake Renegade

Yes, I have been kind of quiet lately. Now that the Merlin order book is filling up it has been time to concentrate on manufacturing! I have some news on that front and will write another blog next on the kit assembly progress and panel layout.

This blog is to report on a nice couple of day break I took to assist my friend to bring a Lake Renegade from Tennessee to its new home at Sanford, Florida. I flew up commercial the night before the flight and spent the next day with both aircraft check out, pilot check out and document control. Here is the water test:

I also want to mention that all navigation was with my Android tablet with the Garmin Pilot app loaded. This is what I used to fly the Merlin to Oshkosh & back. Amazing to compare this to the now cancelled Loran C and the other antique navigation aids in this decades old Lake. Fortunately new pilots will not be encumbered to learn how to operate VORs, RNAVs, Loran Cs, DME’s ADFs, and whatever else was cluttering up this panel. I have infinitely more information available including a radar weather overlay and winds aloft information plus the complete AOPA airport database all on a $35 tablet. See the next blog for a Merlin panel layout option including an Ipad docking station.


After the fun on the water we packed up and flew 1/2 way home to Georgia which took about 2-1/2 hours. The next morning we flew to our destination airport Sanford International near Orlando however the gear down indicator light was not lite up. I can see that all 3 wheels are down as there is a mirror on the sponson to see the nosewheel and it is simple to look out the side windows to see the main gear. All looks good but is it locked? Do we want to find out by landing at a busy international airport and possibly closing it down not to mention the damage to the Lake. Se we elected to “go around for noise abatement.” (Ever hear the noise a gear collapse makes? :))

The nice thing about the Lake is it is amphibious. The nice thing about Florida is that there are lakes all over. Only had to fly about 1 mile to find a suitable water runway. Gear up lights work fine so landing was not an issue. And the gear can be lowered while on the water so that is what we did and I climbed out to check for ‘down and locked” which it was. So the error was in the lamp or the contact switch. Easy to fix later. Time to restart and fly the 2 mile cross country back to Sanford. But wait, now the starter motor packed it in. Great. We are “dead-on-the-water’. Good thing this happened so close to home (and close to shore!). A call to our mechanic team and local aircraft parts supplier and all was fixed by evening. And no one was eaten by any alligator.


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