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Lots of Merlin News!

Too much news for one post but tuff luck I will cram it all in anyway

  1. As previously reported 4 Merlin QBKs (Quick-Build Kit) arrived in May. The container arrived on a Friday and the FAA NKET (National Kit Evaluation Team) team which was scheduled a couple months ago arrived on Monday. That was cutting it a bit close! The FAA spent a couple days reviewing the Merlin QBK documentation and the kit itself. And most importantly, an extremely close evaluation of the 51% builders’ checklist. Results of this evaluation will be published soon. I will post the FAA link when it is official. We are expecting a favorable review so let the building begin!

2.  The 4 kits are now in customer’s hands! And for the most part the builds are going very quickly. In fact a little too quickly as we are short a few of the firewall forward parts required to install the engine. Normally that would not be an issue but when you need engine parts after only a week of assembly you know you have a QBK! Photos from two of the Merlin build programs follow:

Dwight and Jay inspect their horizontal stabilizer before closing. Then after closing both elevator and stabilizer and installing the trim motor the 2 assemblies are attached by piano hinge. All the holes are pre-punched to size so this entire assembly was made with only one hole drilled for the trim wire!

Vertical stabilizer spars getting riveted in place then a pre-closing inspection.

Here are two rudder skins being assembled.

After installing the gear the fuselage top skins can be riveted in place. The firewall is also riveted in place and the aircraft is already ready for the engine! All this in less than 2 weeks! We will be setting a new standard for QBKs!

3. First Flight!!! No, not these kits although it won’t be long. The first customer in the UK is now flying! But they have the new SSDR (Single-Seat De-Regulated) rule which does not have the 51% limitation. The UK customers received their kits finished and painted ready for avionics and engine installation.  Expect a lot of new first flights in the UK this summer! Initial performance is 97 mph at only 5,350 rpm with the Rotax 582 installed. So a normal cruise at altitude with 5,600 rpm will likely result in a cruise speed around 110 mph!

4. And if that is not enough going on: Tomorrow I will be ground-testing the production version of our new electric motor. Finally! We have made some many changes and improvements that this should be the best electric motor for aviation anywhere and will be perfect for the Zigolo and likely for the Merlin too!

With all this going on it is a bit hard to find time for the blog. But my 9 readers need to be informed!

Cheers, Chip





Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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