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Thread: Merlin & EZ Flyer

  1. #1

    Merlin & EZ Flyer

    Back in the 80s and 90s, the Canadian Merlin had a good reputation as an affordable, rugged little plane suitable for dirt strips. Then they made the EZ Flyer, basically a Merlin wing on a Breezy-style, pusher-engine fuselage with even better visibility and even slower speed than the Merlin. Aerocomp picked up the Merlin and offered it for a while as an entry-level design, but seems to have dropped it now.

    I was surprised to learn recently that there is still a small Canadian manufacturer and flight school, Blue Yonder Aviation, offering Merlin and EZ Flyer kits at quite reasonable prices considering the cost of a new Rotax four-stroke. So now I am curious.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Merlin or EZ Flyer, old or new, and thoughts on how suitable either might be for rough and ready use in high and hot country?

    Cheers,

    Matthew
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    679
    I'm Canadian and didn't know Merlin was still around. I don't have any personal experience with it but it enjoyed a great rep as a rugged, strong, well built AULA(Advanced Ultralight) and was used a lot as a trainer. For some insight and info you might want to google UPAC(Ultralight pilots assoc. of Canada). When you brought up Merlin you made me think of another very Merlin-like Canadian AULA. Models are L'il Buzzard and L'il Hustler. They are promoted as the "sexiness of a Kitfox, strength of a Merlin at the price of a Challenger." I'm told they enjoy a good rep as well.

    http://www.ultralightnews.ca/lilbuzzard/index.html
    Last edited by Floatsflyer; 02-20-2013 at 11:06 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7

    merlin gt

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Long View Post
    Back in the 80s and 90s, the Canadian Merlin had a good reputation as an affordable, rugged little plane suitable for dirt strips. Then they made the EZ Flyer, basically a Merlin wing on a Breezy-style, pusher-engine fuselage with even better visibility and even slower speed than the Merlin. Aerocomp picked up the Merlin and offered it for a while as an entry-level design, but seems to have dropped it now.

    I was surprised to learn recently that there is still a small Canadian manufacturer and flight school, Blue Yonder Aviation, offering Merlin and EZ Flyer kits at quite reasonable prices considering the cost of a new Rotax four-stroke. So now I am curious.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Merlin or EZ Flyer, old or new, and thoughts on how suitable either might be for rough and ready use in high and hot country?

    Cheers,

    Matthew
    Originaly they had a Honda engine made by a Canadian firm and the aircraft were made by a company out of Holland or Zeeland Michigan. My Merlin has the older tapered wing, it could be a tri gear or tail dragger. It is Merlin GT and Unfinished. Fuseladge is done, Wings are almost done. Cessna 150 fuel tanks. Many goodiies like lights, instruments will go with it. I have 2 Subaru engines for it too, one is direct drive and the other one is a belt reduction. I have 2 props for it too. It is all for sale. To the best of my knowledge Blue Yonder Aviation still supports it. It will be a super deal for someone. Much Much less than the cost of a new ROTAX. I haven't listed it anywhere yet. I was going to keep it, but I don't want to move it from Georgia to Oregon when I retire. I bought a Bellanca Viking and I would rather fly than build.

    Brent

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Long View Post


    I was surprised to learn recently that there is still a small Canadian manufacturer and flight school, Blue Yonder Aviation, offering Merlin and EZ Flyer kits at quite reasonable prices considering the cost of a new Rotax four-stroke. So now I am curious.

    Matthew,

    The Merlin produced by Blue Yonder is slightly different from the one Aerocomp sold. I think that the wing is a little longer.
    I have lusted after the EZ Flyer since the early 90's. I even went to the facility at the Muskegon Airport (MI) to see it.
    The folks at Blue Yonder Aviation seem to be nice folks. It they weren't so far from Michigan, I would go visit the plant and take some dual in the EZ Flyer. That's legal in Canada. Recently they said that they have a video coming out, but didn't say when.
    The one thing to note on pricing, though. If you got the pricing from the website, look at the top of the Pricing page and you'll see that the prices are effective for 2005! I don't believe that they have updated the site since then.
    Your ignorance on a topic doesn't make me wrong. My ignorance may, however.

  5. #5
    Ouch, 2005, well that explains it. I also haven't received a response to my e-mail after several days, which doesn't bode well. Still, they are neat planes, though after seeing this clip for the Highlander SuperSTOL I am definitely leaning that way.

    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2
    I built one of the EZ Flyer kits a few years ago with a 912UL 80hp, works great. I also helped Wayne (Blue Yonder Aviation) build a few EZ Flyers, including a twin with a pair of 912ULS, and some Merlins. There are quite a few of both models around here, as well as a Harvard and an Air Cobra look alike. Most Merlins run 4 stroke but one runs an O200 and a couple have 582 2 stroke. The EZ Flyers are probably 50/50 2 stroke and 4 stroke. I believe one Merlin is still used by a civilian search and rescue member.
    The aircraft are tough and reliable, easy to inspect and maintain. The EZ Flyer is as named, you would have to be completely incompetent to mess up. I've often made 20-25kt crosswind landings with very little drama, 30kt stall speed helps a lot. The Merlin, being a tail dragger, takes a bit more talent but is still one of the most benign planes up there. I believe it actually has a lower stall speed, something like 25kt.
    As far as high altitude and hot performance, I'm a firm believer in the Rotax 4 stroke. All our local strips are above 3000ft and summers can be 80-90F and I've never used more than 300ft to be airborne. My 80hp will easily take me to 8500ft ASL.
    Hope this answers some of your questions.

  7. #7
    Thanks, Doug, very helpful. What do you thing about the 100 hp 912 version and the 115 hp 914? I hear what you are saying about your experience with the 80 hp Rotax, but we are talking about 5000' and even 6000' here, usually quite hot, about 31C/88F today. Also, if I remember, the Merlin has some foam in the leading edge, do you think that would have any durability issues in a hot climate? Even when the temperature is reasonable here because we are at altitude, the sun is brutal because we are essentially at the equator with even less air to filter out the power of the sun. Regards, Matthew
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2
    Matthew, I see your concerns, 80hp might be marginal, in your case a turbo might be a good choice. The extra 15 hp is good but the turbo will ensure it makes power way up there, like a normalized big engine. Years ago the guys at Rotech Research in Vernon, BC (North Am. certified Rotax distributor) built a C150 with the 914 and flew it to something like 18,000ft and up. The 914 is pricey, but it works. An option would be a good used 80hp and add a turbo kit, that is essentially what the 914 is. Want more? Blue Yonder modified a 912S, installed the turbo and put it in an EZ Flyer on floats and shipped it to Panama. Est. 130hp with the extra displacement.
    As for the Merlin, there is no foam installed in the leading edges, all metal right back to the spar. The ribs are 1" foam completely encased in aluminum which is an upgrade from the older taper wing. Very rigid wing, no rippling when you shake the tip up and down. Try that with equivalent aircraft and watch the owner get excited. The airframe is all welded steel tubing so no issues there either.
    Not hard to see where my loyalties lie, but I work on certified a/c for a living, and the more I see the more I'm convinced.

  9. #9
    Thanks again, Doug, great stuff, now if only I could get the Blue Yonder folks to reply to my e-mail....
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

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