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Sebring Show

Sebring Show

Dwight holding his newly-issued airworthiness certificate. And the first flight to dry the paint.

The wheel paints and graphics really dress this Merlin up.


Find the aircraft in this photo. Or at lease my gorgeous webmasters Diana and Erin Ries:


The show was a big success! Lots of people waiting for the Merlin to have the HKS. Dwight’s Merlin is flying now and Jay’s Merlin will follow soon. We brought his aircraft to the show on a trailer to show the HKS engine installation.

My first impressions are that this engine is a perfect match to this airframe! The acceleration and climb is close to that of the Rotax 582 but the cruise is faster at a lower power setting. This is due to the flatter power curve of the HKS. it is 60hp vs. the Rotax at 65hp but there is more torque to the prop at lower rpms than the Rotax. This combined with the greater gear ratio of 3.58-1 means the prop is turning significantly slower which translates to a lot less noise and a smoother feel. I was seeing over 100mph at only 5,600 rpm and that si with a prop not pitched for cruise.

Several journalists will be flying these aircraft in the near future. KITPLANES for one wants to conduct a flight review. Dan Johnson filmed another video. Expect to see that published in a month or so. 

Now I am back in Dayton flying my Merlin at over 7,000 feet and under 5 degrees (brrr). Winds aloft were 50-70 mph. At times I was seeing 9 mph ground speed. Or even going backwards at times! Landing was 20 knots gusting to 30 and 20 degrees of crosswind. I was thinking how much better this aircraft is in these conditions than some of the LSA-class aircraft I have flown with lower wing-loading. 


  1. It’s such a sweet little plane. Really looking forward to the upcoming flight reviews with the HKS.

  2. Chip,

    Great read, interesting to hear about that landing performance. Wonder what the max crosswind could be?

  3. Chip, this sounds like a solid set-up. I’ve never been a two-stroke person, and with big, rocky, pointy things here out West, reliability is paramount. I am interested in the human fatigue factor with a lower RPM setting over a two-stroke. Have you found it less fatiguing to fly behind a 4 stroke, or no difference?With a (statistically) more reliable engine, are you going to be making that KEYW flight soon? I’m waiting for that video. Plus…gotta be warmer than flying around Ohio in the dead of winter. ‘) Got that heater working yet?


Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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