Sebring LSA

September 1, 2021

Chip Ervin, who headquarters

Merlin TDOAs usual the rush to finish an aircraft to make a show means no time for blog posts so there is a LOT to catch up on. In no particular order:

  • The 1st USA Merlin is finished! However my plans to fly it to Sebring fell through when I could not arrange a DAR for the FAA inspection in time. But that is good in a way. It is never a good practice to take a just-flown aircraft to a show. Better to take the time to make sure all systems are ‘a go’ and to get a few hours in. So that meant load the trailer. Nice that the aircraft is so light I can pull it behind my Kia which is not even rated for any trailer load. So now the Merlin is officially introduced for 2 days at Sebring. The response has been as expected: Excellent! I have heard so many comments about how the Merlin is changing the way people think about LSA with its’ reasonable (almost unbelievable) price point.
  • The press has been all over the Merlin. And why not? There is hardly anything new at this show and nothing as exciting as this new aircraft (IMHO). See AVweb for example: Plus I have 2 other new products:
  • The new Aeromarine 800 amphibious floats are on display. They are perfectly matched for the Merlin. Consider that the Merlin has about a 50% greater power-to-weight ratio than the averages LSA. That means you get set back in the seat and speak unmentionables when you advance the Merlin throttle (make sure your mic is not hot!).News from the Sebring LSA Show So on these new 800 amphibs the Merlin should just about pop out of the water. I look forward to the short take-off contest at Sun n Fun this year! Cost is only $10k. I have heard the cost for Aerocet floats for the Carbon Cub is $55k. I can throw in the airplane for that price! Not only that my float retract system operates wirelessly from a key FOB mounted on the dash. And it works via Bluetooth from a phone app! I have been having fun with that at the show.
  • And finally some electric news: Bench tests are done and we are ready to fly! I have the complete system at Sebring and in operation. If not for bad weather I could have made a flight test in the Zigolo prior to Sebring. Now it is planned for later next week.IMG_20160117_092251 All I need to do is prove I can fly for more than 1 hour in the Zigolo and then I know this whole 2-year effort has been worth it and we have a viable product.
  • News from across the pond: My friend Marek Vala has finished his taildragger Merlin. He has tundra tires and a Briggs & Stratton engine! This is good news for those of you who may thing $35k is still too much money for an aircraft. The B&S engine costs only $2k so if you want a real budget aircraft…… But only 35hp so you won’t enjoy the acceleration rush with the Rotax or 0-100.
  • Oh, and speaking of the 0-100 I was supposed to have 2 working engines in my booth this week. However the crank supplier wasn’t able to polish the cranks in time (I won’t touch that one). Pete does promise me engines in time for SNF. I hope it happens. I think that the Merlin with a 4-stroke aircraft engine will be phenomenal.IMG_20160119_084300 And note there is no price difference from the 582.
  • Some comments and clarification on the pricing: The introductory price of a ‘finished’ Merlin is $34, 900. Note that:
  • The price includes a basic analog panel, engine, prop, etc. The aircraft can be flown when finished. But it is not painted. And I expect that most customers will want to add a few options such as a transceiver and transponder and maybe an EFIS/EMS. Those items add some time and cost of course.
  • This price includes the ‘builder-assist’ program. As the Merlin is E-AB (experimental amateur-built) class you must build it. So you can build it yourself or attend our build program where we work side-by-side and you learn everything there is to know about the Merlin, systems, construction, and maintenance. Then you meet the FAA 51% rules and also qualify for a repairman’s certificate for your aircraft so you can do your own annuals.
  • Disclaimer: I don’t really know if we can build a Merlin in 2 weeks. It is a pretty aggressive timetable. So the price of $34, 900 is good for the first two kits. If it takes longer to assemble then that is on me. Future kit prices will be adjusted accordingly.
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