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Oshkosh Trip: FBOs and Baggage Space

Oshkosh Trip: FBOs and Baggage Space

Again too much to write about in one post so I will write about a few short topics and make my 15 (yes up to 15 now) blog readers wait longer for the trip flight report!

My friend thinks aviation has changed in the last 20 years or so. He claims not everyone is as friendly or trustworthy as in the good old days. That may be slightly true but not so much in my experience. Especially when it comes to employees at the FBOs and guys hanging out at airports. These are some of the nicest  and most interesting people you will ever meet. And they really make these cross country flights enjoyable. Plus they can help out with technical issues should one encounter any. On this trip I met some really nice people and they helped make this adventure a success so if any of them happen to read this blog you know who you are and thanks!

In my infinite wisdom (over plenty of years) I learned to make sure the last airport of the day was a bit bigger and close to a city which improved my odds to find a hotel and restaurant nearby. And an open FBO that might even offer me a courtesy car to get there. So stopping at Bloomington Airport on the way up looked pretty good and the FBO was still open. On landing 2 flight line guys came up in a golf cart to park me and upon learning I was staying overnight pulled out some tie downs and secure the Merlin. Then refueled the aircraft and informed me that I received 20 cents off per gallon as I was going to Oshkosh. And the tie-down fee was waived as a bought fuel. Once inside the FBO I was offered the keys to a nice Cadillac and proved a list of hotels they had arranged big discounts with. Once at the hotel they offered me a discount coupon to the Texas Roadhouse across the street. Once at the Roadhouse they offered 1/2 price appetizer’s and beer. Heaven on earth! And on the way out they had free water and candy to restock my supplies. I made a note to stop here on the return flight. Oh, BTW I bought 4 gallons of gas….. I guess they make it up on the next G5. But it was clear that the employees loved aircraft and were just as happy to see the Merlin as anything else.

Now on to the baggage: I have written previously of the large baggage capacity now I am putting it to practical use. I packed 2 weeks of clothes into a full-size airline roll-on bag. Then added a flight bag. Plus my briefcase with my notebook and show stuff. Plus a plastic case with some basic tools, aircraft documents, spare fuses and batteries. And a case of 2 cycle oil. Plus some snacks and water bottles. I should also mention there is a BRS rescue parachute on the shelf behind all this. Plenty of room and plenty of CG range. I bet there are more than a few 2-seat LSA aircraft costing over $150k that carry less!


At the show dozens of people wanted to try on the Merlin. Everyone fit! They discovered that the Merlin not only has plenty of pilot space but is easy to get in and out of as well. This really nice fellow however was really at the limit at some 300 lbs yet he still fit in! He really wanted to find an aircraft that would work for him. The Merlin actually comes really close and he could fly it, but not for long as the payload would limit his fuel load.




Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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