Customer Comments

Happy Birthday Chip

You did a great job building my plane after ten years it still runs and fly’s like new

— Harvey


Congratulations to Chip Erwin, and praise to the factory for the installation and approval of the HKS engine. Am eager to see test-flight performance figures (specifically rates-of-climb) between the HKS and Rotax 582.

— Bill

My first ten hours flying the Merlin in the UK.

Hi Chip

The Merlin has had some rave reviews by established pilots so do my own experiences match theirs?
Here in the UK the Rotax 582 is the only viable option to allow us to comply with the SSDR requirements of max takeoff weight 300kg or 315kg if a ballistic parachute is fitted.
My previous aircraft was a RANS S6ES also powered by a blue top Rotax 582 so I am familiar with this engines performance. Performance was acceptable in the RANS however in the Merlin it is a whole new beast. I fly from a 250 meter grass farm strip and in light winds I am off the ground in less than 100 meters. Landings are similarly short and on two occasions when the grass was a bit long 50 meters was achieved.
I have logged about 10 hours with 21 takeoffs and landings, incorporating two short cross country flights where each leg was over an hour. For both XC’s I brimmed the fuel tanks for the outward flight and refilled on my return to base. I have calculated the fuel burn from these flights to be 11 litres and hour. My oil usage was just under 100 – 1 which I think is what Rotax specify.
I have checked the ASI and it appears to be reading correctly so my indicated air speed was 80 – 85 mph. I know the Merlin is capable of faster speeds but I am a cautious pilot and feel the engine needs some time to bed in before I start to open it up to the maximum.
I have flown the Merlin in some turbulent conditions and can say it is very stable with only light inputs needed to keep on track. I know from experience that if I was flying my flexwing trike (Quik GT450) I would have had a very good workout to say the least.
Have I made the correct decision in purchasing this aircraft, So far the answer is defiantly YES! YES! YES !!!.
My thanks go to Graham Smith of Sprite Aviation (Importer/dealer who struggles to understand northern English banter and dialects) and fellow builder Bernard Carpenter for their help, support and encouragement in getting this project off the ground.
John Murphy G – CJTD

— John Murphy G

One of the top three things I saw at Airventure this year.

It was great to see it in person. Very roomy (and I’m 5’9″ 200+). One of the top three things I saw at Airventure this year. Now if there was only an O100 to put under that cowling.

— Jeffrey Carpenter

Thanks, Chip! BTW, Good luck with the Stinger project

Thanks, Chip! BTW, Good luck with the Stinger project. I will be following it with great interest. Based on the one construction photo it looks to be a very solid little airplane; kind of like a modernized RV-3. Actually, it reminds me of the “Endeavor” Reno air racer. Smart move on the part of the guys over at Sprite. Hope this partnership really pays off for you. Bridging the gap between open-cockpit ultra-light and LSA with lightweight single-seaters was brilliant. Offering that direct-drive electric motor and innovative battery should put you in a leadership position, as well. The future looks exciting!

— Gary Miles

I watched your latest

I watched your latest AV Web interview and was most impressed with your Merlin presentation. I realize you have matched your airframe to the Rotax 582 and the electric drive train but I am curious if there is any possibility of fitting a D-Motor into this package. Building a Jabiru-style firewall-forward kit, designing a cowling and getting the balance right might be asking for too much but the narrow side-valve configuration of this engine made me curious about its application in your Merlin.

I realize you are crazy busy so this is definitely low priority.

— Gary Miles

One of the top three things I saw at Airventure this year.

Looks like fun!

— Paul