Here is how I spent the last two weeks in our new build center at Philipsburg Airport near Dayton, Ohio:

Start with a brand new hangar. Then work in the old dirty hangar while waiting forever for the multiple occupancy inspections….

Finally the last Government Vogon filled in the last form and stamped the last stamp and I can move out of the pigpen into proper digs. I even have electricity!!! Above photo shows how quickly a nice space can get packed. My first Merlin is there, Steve’s Merlin (white one) in the build program, and two Zigolo kits in the 4 crates just arrived by air. First job was to do some maintenance on the orange Merlin. We worked it hard for some cool classified work that involved multiple climbs to 12,000 feet in 18 minutes and dozens of test missions. Now that Merlin is ready for the next classified project starting next week so I moved it back to the pigpen to open up some work space.

Next was to work with Steve to get his aircraft ready for the FAA inspection. That took about a week. Now the wings are on, engine running, snags fixed, and FAA scheduled. We need to get the hours  flown off quickly as we plan to fly this Merlin to Oshkosh for our booth exhibit. Good thing there are plenty of pilots around happy to fly for the cost of a couple gallons of gas/hour.

Steve’s panel is about as basic as it gets. There is a MGL Xtreme EMS as that is much nicer than a bunch of steam dials for engine monitoring. Other than that it is back to basics. I will use the Garmin app on my phone for navigation. This will be my 38 year straight at Oshkosh. Hope I can find my way there….. And I hope you will to as we will have some very special aircraft to see there….

This Merlin is ready for action! Just sorting the paperwork and waiting for the FAA to inspect next week. 10 minutes after the FAA leaves we will be flying it. Ink will still be drying on the newly minted airworthiness certificate.

Now on to Zigolos but first I built 4 large rolling tables. I will need them to build two Zigolos simultaneously. Two tables will butt up against each other when it comes time to build the wings. For the smaller assemblies one table each to hold parts and to make up the assembly. 

The Zigolos are going together in record time. But I did recruit some help from Tim Kern, my PR agent, technical writer (assisting with the build books), and long-time friend. Plus a few interns are helping now and then to put in rivets. Saves me the mind-numbing repetitive work of making one rib after another.

This is 3 days work. 

The 4th day we are finishing up the fuselages and adding the tail feathers.

One Zigolo goes to Charlie. The other one will be the long-awaited electric Zigolo and will be on display in the main aircraft display area at Oshkosh. And no, I am not going to fly it to Oshkosh on electric power. I would have had to start that trip last week…..

Tim & I were rehydrating at the local tavern after a long day of building and brain-storming new names for the electric Zigolo. This style ultralight is also known as an ‘air chair’. Ours will be an electric air chair. Which shortens nicely to the Electric Chair. Good idear huh?