# Chip is making progress with the Merlin Lite

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#### galapoola

##### Well-Known Member
I'm waiting for the spring loaded ejector!
Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.

#### jazzenjohn

##### Active Member
Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.
I agree about hand deploy chutes Galapoola. BRS and parachute often seem to be used interchangeably. I think there is more to it than stuffing a parachute into a tube with a spring for most aircraft though. In some situations an inadvertent deployment might mean certain death. In those cases, like on a gyroplane, it would be prudent for a several stage deployment so it has redundant safety systems to prevent it from being deployed when Not necessary.

#### BTCrenshaw

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.
That's not a bad idea except I'm thinking the size of chute needed for 550Lbs gross ultralight weight might be a consideration.

After a unfortunate incident -

NTSB - Didn't he have a chute?
Pilot Friend - Yes he did.
NTSB - Why did it look like he was trying to open a tent inside the cockpit?
Pilot Friend - Uh, I think that was his hand tossed chute.

#### BTCrenshaw

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
I agree about hand deploy chutes Galapoola. BRS and parachute often seem to be used interchangeably. I think there is more to it than stuffing a parachute into a tube with a spring for most aircraft though. In some situations an inadvertent deployment might mean certain death. In those cases, like on a gyroplane, it would be prudent for a several stage deployment so it has redundant safety systems to prevent it from being deployed when Not necessary.
Sorry, another funny came to mind -

BTCrenshaw- Where's Galapoola, I thought he was prepping to go fly?
JazzenJohn - Yeah he was.
BTCrenshaw - So where's he at?
JazzenJohn - You see that tent over there? Well, it ain't a tent.

#### TLAR

##### Banned
IIRC, I believe I was quoted about 60mph min deployment, the nice little Italian chute was designed for a little faster aircraft so with Ultralight speed one would be using it close to its margin

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
Pringles can with a plastic paratrooper army guy inside. If I was putting it on, I’m expecting it to work. No junk just to make weight.

#### REVAN

##### Well-Known Member
BRS gives you an extra 24lbs to the 103 254lb limit. The BRS doesn’t weigh 24lbs so you have in effect allowed your plane to be heavier than 254lbs.

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#### BTCrenshaw

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
The first statement in each numbered portion of AC 103-7 is the rule. What follows are clarifications and allowed deviations. You can add floats and or "safety devices" to a legal ultralight and not include the weight of those items as part of the vehicles empty weight. They are excluded. That is to say, there are no weight limitations or restrictions on these items aside from the fact that the vehicle still needs to still meet the other defining (non empty-weight related) characteristics of an ultralight as defined in AC 103-7.

However, the rules also explicitly allow certain items to be included in the empty weight with a limited weight allowance. This is a alternate method that can be chosen, but it is up to the operator to decide which method they will use (which method is most advantageous for them). The alternate method that includes the additional equipment in the empty weight with a limited allowance has the effect of legalizing slightly overweight ultralights so long as they carry the equipment (even if it is only marginally functional, i.e. - someone must be able demonstrate successful use of the equipment one time), and that the integral weight of the vehicle plus the additional equipment sum up to less than the increased weight allowance as defined.

I hope that is clear.
That helps. Still a bit confusing but I have a better grasp on it. Thank you for the additional detail.

Todd

#### BTCrenshaw

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
"Cirrus; an engine failure, at night, over the Rockies would be a catastrophic failure - the engine has stopped. If that's not a catastrophic I'm not sure what is. "

This example would be considered a catastrophic engine failure. My point is that this situation does not translate to ultralights. An engine failure in an ultralight is rarely catastrophic without other compounding factors such as stall-spin. A forced landing in an ultralight, so long as the pilot maintains control of the aircraft, is arguably as, if not more, survivable than an uncontrolled descent under the canopy of a BRS. The engine failure in the Cirrus is catastrophic. An engine failure in an ultralight is probably not. That's my point. Also, ultralights don't have engine failures at night because they don't fly at night.

While I understand your argument on untrained pilots overstressing airframes, is there data to back that up? How many ultralights are overstressed to the point of breaking up in flight? I'm thinking it is exceedingly rare these days. There were some instances back in the 80's, but most modern ultralights are overbuilt to the point where I haven't heard of this happening in decades. If improved engineering has in fact all but eliminated these types of failures, kudos to the ultralight community.

I am not making the accusation that these chutes were designed specifically to legalize heavy ultralights. My accusation is that people with an overweight ultralight have an incentive to use a chute that will make their plane legal. That may involve buying a more expensive system with better engineering and that weighs less, or using a smaller than ideal BRS system, or possibly a combination of both. A legal ultralight opens up more options. Those options may be better or worse, so it is up to the pilot to make good choices for their situation.

In some cases, I think the answer is yes. The best example I can think of is the Mosquito helicopter ultralight (the cool looking one with the cockpit). It makes the allowed integral ultralight weight limit with two floats (254+2*30 = 314). However, the floats are just inflated bags tied to the helicopter's landing skis. They demonstrated operation from the water once. It required great piloting skill and was still very unstable looking. No one would intentionally fly this system from the water for recreation. The risk of capsizing your $60,000+ ultralight on those wonky floats is just to great of a risk. However, you can fly an unlicensed Mosquito from the land with the floats attached and that is both legal and no less safe than a licensed experimental category Mosquito without the floats. First paragraph – I agree and now understand your explanation. Though nothing as we know is 100% and ultralights themselves with a competent pilot at the controls will have a much better chance at making it down with little or no injury. That I also agree with, and is both arguably what the FAA was going for with ultralight restrictions as well as what’s desired by many new ultralight pilots. I’ve flown Cessna 150 and 182’s (20 years ago) and now am looking at an ultralight trail dragger for the first time. I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say that the tail dragger part scares the heck out of me over climbing into a Cessna, even today. I’ve got a CFI here in Dallas that trains in tail draggers so I’m going to contact him shortly and see about getting some training. I don’t want ANY catastrophic anything to happen, but also know it’s best to train and be ready for it in case something does go wrong. Second paragraph – Ok, my mistake at miss-understanding your comment. It just appeared to me to be leaning in the “cheating” direction, and notably some do. And I totally agree with the rest of your statement. It’s sort of strange that ultralight pilots are given so much freedom, yet there are those that show so much stupidity. Third paragraph – Interesting about the Mosquito. I work IT and it reminds me of the rules we follow for application use. What I mean by this is that I’ve had people say “but I can do it in the app, why doesn’t it work right?” I have to remind them that coders and configurators rarely can catch all the dumb things people do when using a software application. The simple truth is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! I think I’ve seen a video or two of what you’ve described – yeah, not me buddy! Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view and providing me more detail about what you are trying to convey. This is why I like this crowd so much. There are few that use the forums like Facebook or Twitter, and instead try and help without flipping out because someone doesn’t necessarily understand. #### jedi ##### Well-Known Member First paragraph – I agree and now understand your explanation. Though nothing as we know is 100% and ultralights themselves with a competent pilot at the controls will have a much better chance at making it down with little or no injury. That I also agree with, and is both arguably what the FAA was going for with ultralight restrictions as well as what’s desired by many new ultralight pilots. I’ve flown Cessna 150 and 182’s (20 years ago) and now am looking at an ultralight trail dragger for the first time. I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say that the tail dragger part scares the heck out of me over climbing into a Cessna, even today. I’ve got a CFI here in Dallas that trains in tail draggers so I’m going to contact him shortly and see about getting some training. I don’t want ANY catastrophic anything to happen, but also know it’s best to train and be ready for it in case something does go wrong. Second paragraph – Ok, my mistake at miss-understanding your comment. It just appeared to me to be leaning in the “cheating” direction, and notably some do. And I totally agree with the rest of your statement. It’s sort of strange that ultralight pilots are given so much freedom, yet there are those that show so much stupidity. Third paragraph – Interesting about the Mosquito. I work IT and it reminds me of the rules we follow for application use. What I mean by this is that I’ve had people say “but I can do it in the app, why doesn’t it work right?” I have to remind them that coders and configurators rarely can catch all the dumb things people do when using a software application. The simple truth is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! I think I’ve seen a video or two of what you’ve described – yeah, not me buddy! Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view and providing me more detail about what you are trying to convey. This is why I like this crowd so much. There are few that use the forums like Facebook or Twitter, and instead try and help without flipping out because someone doesn’t necessarily understand. The tail wheel shouldn't scare you but you must respect it. A properly designed, built and maintained "tail dragger" flown within the weather limitations of the pilot and plane works fine. Few tail wheel incidents are life threatening. They can be expensive and are embarrassing but not very scary. Get the training as you intend and then realize that your UL will not respond the same as the aircraft that you trained with. Do some low and high speed taxiing and approach the transition to your UL with caution and respect. PS: When you do a transition to the borrowed North American P-51 or Vought F4U Corsair it is ok to be scared. The beauty of Ultralights is that you can screw up and not cost a million dollars even though they can still kill you. #### jedi ##### Well-Known Member First off thank you for pointing out the AC_103-7 document. This really clears up a lot of other questions I had about the operation of ultralights. It’s important to know not just that a rule or regulation exists, but why it exists, and how the measurement of such rules and regulations are made. For instance, I know there is a 55 knot maximum level flight speed for ultralights. What I didn’t know is how is that measurement is made? Now I know the measurement is taken at level flight of 1000 feet with the assumption of a 170Lbs pilot, and there are several methods used to determine if the ultralight meets or exceeds the 55 knot rule. Good to know info. I see your point on the weight if the ultralight is under the 254 maximum concerning the added weight of the chute chosen. However can you be more specific on the float allowance – because I’m understanding it differently after reading AC 103-7 than I’m understanding what your comment. The float allowance is a limit on how overweight the aircraft can be. The safety device (generally a BRS) is an allowance regardless of weight as in the example given. From 18.a.1. - (i) Up to 24 pounds of weight associated with the parachute system may be excluded by the FAA without requiring a separate weighing of the system components. From 18.a.2 Floats Used for Landings On Water – (extracted from the paragraph) - Up to 30 pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring substantiation of the float's actual weight. You’re saying there is a weight limit with consideration of the use of floats, but not of the chute? I don’t see either item or additional information mentioning thi in AC 103.7. From what I’m reading and understanding, ultralights have 24Lbs of allowance (254+24) for the addition of a chute and/or 30Lbs per float (254+(30*2)) for the addition of floats. Giving both a weight limit exceeding the standard 254Lbs limit. I don't see any mention of the floats being an allowance on the limit of how overweight the ultralight can be and that a BRS is an allowance regardless of the weight of the ultralight. Help, what am I missing here? Thanks, Todd BTCrenshaw, I think you now understand the FAR 103 exemptions to the 254 pound weight limitations of CFR 14 103.1(e) (1) as out llned in AC 103-7. I agree that my comments of post # 30 were not clear as to the intent as I stated "floats" where I should have said Amphibious floats and Amphibious Fuselage. Specifically section 18 (a) (2) (ii) of AC 103-7 which allows up to 30 pounds for the fuselage and up to 10 pounds per outrigger float and pylon. The "up to" implies a limit but it is a limit to the automatic extension. The following paragraph (iii) further explains that further exemptions should be discussed with the Flight Standards Field Office (FSDO) implying that additional exemptions may be authorized. Similarly section 18 (a) (1) (i) of AC 103-7 allows up to 24 pounds for a parachute system but section 18 (a) (1) of AC 103-7 does not limit the "Safety Devices Which are Intended for Deployment in a Potentially Catastrophic Situation" to a parachute. Other systems may qualify and the weight of the alternate system is not limited but may be subject to FSDO approval. Clearly, the weight of the system is not included in the empty weight of the vehicle. Using my imagination I can envision a Mars Lander type of rocket descent or a battery operated quad copter lifting device that may weigh considerably more than 24 pounds as safety device. The "safety device" need not be limited to a "landing device" but could be a device to allow continued safe flight to a location for suitable landing in the event of a "Potentially Catastrophic Situation". I hope that helps. Last edited: #### Gregory Perkins ##### Well-Known Member What may not be clear to everyone is the fine wording of the regulation that is often overlooked. "Up to 30 pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring substantiation of the float's actual weight. " See the "REQUIRING SUBSTANTIATION" verbiage ? to explain. If you have a claimed ultralight plane with two floats attached and that plane weighs 454 pounds the plane COULD be legal as far as weight goes as the attached safety devices being the floats do not have a maximum weight as long at the plane itself without floats is legal.. In theory, you have to remove the floats and weigh the plane which weighs 254 pounds or less and the floats just happen to weigh 100 pounds each - because they do not have a separate weight limit. ( other than as they might affect flying qualities/speeds ) The thirty pound allowance for each of two floats comes in when you do not desire to "require substantiation" of the weight of the individual floats and the plane separately so you can weigh the whole assembled aircraft which then must not exceed 254+30+30. A Hull based Seaplane UL does not have the same flexibility as there is no way to remove the hull and weigh separately. An assembled hull based seaplane UL must weigh 254+30+10+10 or less to be legal. (ignoring parachute allowances) One other thing. As far as I know, the max speed and stall speed of ULs were never tested or required to be demonstrated by the FAA. The FAA created a formula which incorporated many variables which would determine the anticipated stall and max speeds. This formula included such things as span, wing area, single or double sided wings, strut-wire or cantilever wings, horsepower, windshield shape etc. The Kolb Firefly was famous for exploiting weaknesses in this formula such that it could exceed the max speed in reality but according to the formula it was legal. To my knowledge this formula was never adjusted to accomodate the extra weight of floats or hull ( or parachute ) so in theory the seaplane ULs could still be legal even if they could not demonstrate the minimum stall speed. #### JohnB ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter e. Powered Vehicles. A powered ultralight cannot be operated under Part 103 when it has an empty weight of 254 pounds or more; has a fuel capacity exceeding 5 U.S. gallons; is capable of more than 55 knots airspeed at full power in level flight; and has a power-off stall speed wlich exceeds 24 knots. Not to be anal about this but a LOT have the notion that 254 or less is legal, As stated in the regs 254# is NOT a legal 103 item. LESS than 254 is JB #### REVAN ##### Well-Known Member BTW: I think the Merlin Lite is a really neat looking airplane. Its downsides are its upsides; it is clearly an airplane. That comes with both advantages and disadvantages. But if you want an airplane and want to avoid the registration and pilot certifications, the Merlin Lite is a very cool looking option. When it gets the cowl installed, I think it will look a bit like a miniature Helio-Stallion (please try to give it a cowl that looks turbine). The Merlin has a very nice clean airframe that I think would make an excellent candidate for an electric ultralight. Electric motors are power dense, so it will likely be able to come in below 254 pounds without the BRS using electric propulsion. Add 5 gallons of new Tesla batteries and have fun! The downside is that it will likely be a$40,000+ ultralight airplane as an electric, and it will need an airport and hangar to operate from. But, the direct operating costs will be close to nothing.

PS - Can anyone tell me if the Badlands 103 complaint ultralight retains the wing folding option?