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Multiplex Merlin Electric Powered Sailplane Review

Michael Heer assembles his Merlin in the back of a van and shares the experience. He found it to be a quick build and a very very fun sailplane to fly that he can easily take with him where ever he goes.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:783mm (30.8")
Wing Area:11.3dm(Squared)
Weight:325g
Length:598mm (23.5")
Servos:4 Hitec 55s
Transmitter:JR X9303
Receiver:Spektrum AR500
Battery:E-flite 3-cell 430 mAh
Motor:Himax 2212-1180 motor
ESC:Castle Creations Phoenix 18
Manufacturer:Multiple USA
Available From:Multiplex USA
Merlin Kit Price:$79.99
Tuning Motor Set Price:$109.99

I really wanted to be able to fly the Multiplex Merlin sailplane as an electric sailplane at the Arizona Electric Festival. The trouble was I received it eight days before we left for Arizona, and my friend and I were spending most of our spare time trying to finish a separate much more complicated build in time for the event. While working on the other plane, I had a passing thought that we could get her done if we had the ten plus hours of driving time from Stockton to Apache Junction to work on it. I then thought about the Merlin and realized that most of it could be assembled by me during the ride to Arizona. I only needed to do a few things for the assembly in preparation for the trip. This would be my first road trip build in a moving vehicle. Come along for the ride and lets see this sailplane flying in Arizona!

Kit Contents

The Merlin Kit Includes:

  • Elapor foam fuselage
  • Two piece Elapor foam wing
  • Two piece Elapor foam horizontal stabilizer
  • Rudder is part of fuselage
  • Sheet of decals
  • Instruction manual
  • Controls rods and housings
  • Fuselage stiffeners
  • Wing rods and wing joiner system
  • Tail rods and tail joiner system
  • Controls horns and horizontal stabilizer control system
  • Nose cone mount/motor mount
  • Fuselage compartment and access door
  • Nose cone
  • Assorted hardware

The Optional Merlin Tuning Power Set:

  • Himax 2212-1180 motor
  • Phoenix 18 Amp ESC
  • Folding propellers, taper collet, driver and 33mm spinner

In Addition I supplied:

  • 4 Hitec HS-55 servos
  • Spektrum AR500 2.4GHz receiver
  • JR X9303 2.4GHz Transmitter
  • 3-cell E-flite Lipoly packs from 430mAh to 450mAh
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • CA glue
  • Kicker for the glue
  • Black permanent marker
  • JST Battery connector for ESC
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Shrink tubing

Special Features

  • Can be flown as a pure glider or as in this case as an electric glider
  • Made from durable Elapor foam
  • Wingspan is only 30.5 inches
  • Can be easily taken apart into components for storage or transportation
  • Can be flown as a Sunday flier or as wildly aerobatic Warmliner

Assembly

The instruction manual has many pictures along with written instruction making assembly quite simple. If you have not worked with Elapor foam before it is important to NOT USE foam safe CA, epoxy or white glue as they do not make a solid bond with Elapor foam. You can use regular CA of medium thickness and thin thickness for some applications. If using regular CA use Kicker to strengthen the bond. The best choice as recommended by Multiplex in the instruction manual is Zacki Elapor. This is a CA designed to be used with Elapor, and no Kicker is required for a strong bond. I found it listed for sale in Europe but haven't found it locally.

The instructions are short and sweet, and the pictures are very helpful. I read through the instructions the first time during a lunch break at work and decided that it would be best if I did some assembly before starting the road trip. Because of the small parts and the use of my Exacto knife with the servo arms I decided to do the sub assembly work at home. Additionally, the instructions stress not to blame the foam if you end up with a crooked fuselage. I decided to cut and glue the longerons to the fuselage halves at home where I had a hard flat building table to properly do that.

Assembly at Home

Sub Assemblies

The Merlin has several sub assemblies that assemble first so that they are ready to install in the proper place during the general assembly of the Merlin. Since these involve some small parts I thought it best to do this sub assembly at home before starting the trip to Arizona. I wouldn't want to lose any small parts in the van.

The first sub assembly work involved the servos. Using my Exacto knife on the servos I roughed up the servo cases where they would be glued to the foam. The control arms were trimmed per the instructions to the length described with the control holes in the proper locations and sized to fit the control rods. The four Hitec HS-55 servos were centered using my radio system and the the control arms installed at 90 degrees to the side of the servos per the pictures in the instructions. Finally, the rudder and elevator servos were clipped into servo frames for later installation into the fuselage.

I next assembled the aileron control surface horns. I inserted three socket head grub screws into three pushrod connector barrels. The swivel barrels snapped into the twin control surface horns. This made the Multiplex equivalent of three control horns with EZ type connectors that the aileron and rudder control rods will just slide into later. They make a good adjustable control horn system that I have used on previous Multiplex planes with success.

An elevator crankcase made of plastic and metal parts was assembled per the instructions. This crankcase was to be moved by a control rod from the elevator servo and in turn moved the full flying stabilizer to control the pitch of the Merlin. It was easy to assemble per the instructions and picture.

While still at home I sprayed kicker onto a number of parts and allowed the kicker to dry. This would make the gluing process easier on the trip and help the CA to firmly secure parts in place. I sprayed kicker on the Elapor foam where the control horns would be glued on the ailerons and rudder. I sprayed the outside of the elevator crankcase where it will be glued to the vertical stabilizer. I sprayed the inside of the cockpit area where plastic parts would be glued including the servos. I sprayed the longerons with kicker. They glue into molded grooves in the fuselage.

Fuselage Longerons

The instructions stressed that the straightness of the fuselage depended on doing this step correctly so I did it on my work table at home. I made sure that this part of the process was done on a flat surface to make sure the fuselage halves were built nice and straight!

The first step on the fuselage was to cut a couple of the longerons to the recommended lengths per the instructions. I trial fitted the longerons into the molded channels in the Elapor where they were designed to go. I took the longerons outside and sprayed them with kicker that helps set the CA solidly when they are glued into the molded channels. I let them dry outside. One by one I confirmed that I had the proper longeron for a given location. With the fuselage flat on the table with the outside of the fuselage facing upwards. I ran the medium thick regular CA down the groove molded for the longeron and installed the longerons in place. Working with them one at a time, I pressed the longerons firmly into the molded longeron channels in the foam as I went down the fuselage while making sure the fuselage remained flat on the table. I made sure they were done properly. When I finished installing the longerons on the outside of both fuselage halves, I installed the ones that went on the inside of the fuselage. The written instructions and pictures made this an easy process to understand.

The last step at home on the main Merlin kit was to place the small parts in a plastic bag so they wouldn't get lost on the trip. I placed the Merlin parts back into the kit box and the servos, motor and radio parts into a separate small box along with the few tools and glue I would need for the assembly.

Merlin Motor Set

I had to do some at-home preparation in connection with the Merlin motor set. The Castle Creation Phoenix speed controller had no connectors attached so I had to solder on three female connectors that were included with the Himax motor and a JST connector for the battery pack. I covered the motor connectors and battery solder connector point with my own heat shrink to avoid the possibility of having a short.

Before I could install the motor I had to remove two screws holding on the motor mount for a stick mount that came on the motor. Because of the small screws that mount the motor to the plastic "firewall/nose" on the glider I mounted the motor to the red "firewall" grill nose piece that came with the Merlin.

If I had had a larger box I probably could have done all of the assembly in the van. However, since I did the assembly by night in a car that bumped on the freeway more than I expected, I am glad I did the partial assembly before hitting the road, especially the soldering.

Assembly on the Road

My friend, Dick Andersen, and I left Tuesday night at 9:00 to visit the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa Arizona on Wednesday on our way to the Arizona Electric Festival starting on Thursday. Our joint project was making a B-17 that was modeled after the Sentimental Journey, B-17 that is hangered at the museum. Dick and I "shared" the driving with Dick doing the lion’s share while I built the Merlin and kept him company.

Wing

There were two wing rods and a two piece wing joiner set. The wing joiners slid onto the wing rods and a set of wing rod and joiner was glued into each wing half. These wing rods stiffened and strengthened the wings, and the joiners secured the wings together for use while allowing quick and easy disconnect for removal of the wings for storage and transportation. I simply followed the instructions, trial fitted the parts and glued a wing rod and joiner into place. With the two wing halves completed, both wing rods slid through the other wing half's joiner and into the other wing panel making the wing center section the strongest point on the wing as was appropriate.

I next cut the ends of the ailerons (BUT NOT THE HINGE LINE) free from both sides of the wing and bent the ailerons up and down within the range they should operate when the plane is in action. this helped break-in the Elapor hinge molded into each wing panel. This working of the hinges reduced the strain on the aileron servos and help the plane fly as designed. I had prepared the servos for installation while still at home. I trial fitted the servo into the wing, removed the servo and applied medium Ca to the molded servo pocket in the foam. I then placed the servo back into the wing. I stuffed the servo wire into the channel molded for it leading to the wing root. I installed the aileron control rod into the aileron servo arm. Next, I inserted an aileron control horn (made in the subassembly section at home) onto the aileron control rod. I trial fitted the aileron control horn into the aileron. I removed it and placed medium CA onto the bottom of the control horn and placed the control horn back into the aileron. I repeated the process with the other wing panel. Next, I tightened and locked the grub screw in the aileron control horn against the control rod with the aileron in the neutral position.

There were aileron servo fairings supplied to protect the servo arms and control rods for the ailerons. They slipped into slots next to each servo. I just let them rest in place. Later, after I confirmed that everything was working properly, I glued them in place using thin CA. There was also a panel for the top side of the wing to cover the servo, and I glued those in place as well. The final step was cutting out the decals and attaching them to the wing halves. The wing panels were now complete. They locked together to form the wing and came apart for storage and transportation. Assembly was quick and easy. The molded foam plane holder even had spaces molded for the servo arm covers. The wing is very nicely engineered and very easy to assemble.

 Hitec HS-55 Servo
Hitec HS-55 Servo
Type: Sub-Micro Servo
Operating Speed (4.8V): 0.17 sec/60°
Stall Torque (4.8V): 15.27 oz-in.
Weight: 0.28oz (8g)
Dimensions: x 0.45"x 0.94"
Connector Wire Length: 6.29"
Gear Type: All Nylon
Operating Voltage: 4.8-6.0 Volts

Tail

The rudder comes already molded to one side of the fuselage with an Elapor hinge. I bent the rudder back and forth to loosen up but not damage the molded Elapor hinge line. I strongly encourage everyone to loosen up the hinge by bending it back and forth. It is only necessary to bend it in the range where it will be moving when used in flight.

The horizontal stabilizers are full flying stabilizers. There is no separate elevator. The entire stabilizer moves by pivoting around the tail joiner that goes through the elevator crankcase. Directional control is via the elevator servo through the crankcase. The horizontal stabilizers come as two molded pieces of foam with one for the left side and one for the right side. Two plastic connectors came in the kit as well. A female receiving connector was glued into the right stabilizer and a male connecting part was glued into the left stabilizer using thick CA (They are shaped very differently and only fit one way with each tail piece.). I inserted the stabilizer joining rod through the elevator crank case and into the stabilizer with the receiving joiner. They locked together for control and easily come apart for storage and transportation. The last step was adding the supplied decals to the top of the horizontal stabilizers and rudder.

Fuselage

On the right inside of the fuselage I glued the elevator crankcase into place. I made the elevator control rod mechanism that consisted of an outer plastic rod, an inner plastic rod and inside that the metal control rod with a Z-bend connector at the servo end. I slipped the Z-bend into the elevator servo arm. I positioned the servo in its plastic holder into the molded space for it in the fuselage. I pushed the control rod mechanism into its molded holder and slipped the inner metal control rod into the metal connector on the control crank. Using thin CA I glued the servo holder in place and then the outer most control rod holder into its molded channel. I tightened the grub screw in the elevator control crank with the servo and the crank both in the neutral position.

Next I trial fitted the plastic wing mounting plate into position and trial fitted the right wing. I took it apart and then using thick CA I glued the wing mounting platform into position. I trial fitted the hatch opening frame onto the bottom of the right fuselage. Satisfied with where it went I glued it into place using thick CA. I sprayed some kicker on the glue to make sure it set and wiped away the excess.

I trial fitted the two fuselage halves together twice and made sure everything lined up as it should. At our breakfast break in Arizona I worked outside of the van. Using thick CA, I placed glue front, back, top and bottom as well as on the hatch opening frame and wing platform and glued the two halves together and working quickly made sure everything lined up as it should and the two halves were joined all the way around. I held the halves together, especially in the middle of the fuselage and in about a minute it could be set down. I double checked it for straightness and tight fit, and there was no need for adjustment.

Next I installed the rudder servo in its holder into the left side of the fuselage. I made up the three piece rudder control rod mechanism that was similar to the one described above for the elevator. I put the Z-bend into the servo arm and slipped the rudder control horn onto the other end of the wire after first putting some thick CA onto the bottom of the control horn. I pushed the outer control rod holder into the channel molded for it on the outside of the left side of the fuselage. I pushed the rudder control arm into the space molded for it in the rudder. I gave the glue a minute to set and then used thin CA to glue in the control rod holder and the servo holder. With servo arm and the rudder both in neutral, I tightened the grub screw to complete the rudder control assembly. That completed the basic fuselage assembly. The motor, ESC, battery and receiver needed to be installed inside.

Motor and Radio Installation

 Himax 2212-1180
Himax 2212-1180
Motor specsHimax brushless motor
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Motor Weight 31g
Diameter: 21.8mm
Length: 25.6mm
Output Shaft Size: 2mm
BATTERY: 2s-3s Lipo
Max RPM: 20,000 RPM
Max Power: 50W
Maximum Case Temperature: 149 degrees F
Speed Control: 18A Brushless
KV: 1180KV
Price: $53.95


 Thunderbird 18
Thunderbird 18
Type: Brushless Motor Controller
Max amps: 18
Maximum Volts: 15 volts/Li-Po 3s
BEC: 3 amp max
Weight: .6 ounce
Length: 1.32"
Width: .9"
Height: .34"
Brake: On/Off
Price: $39.95

I considered using one of my existing brushless motors to power the Merlin for this review but went with their Power Tuning Set for several reasons. Using their recommended equipment made it a more complete review and easier for people to find the same equipment should they want to do that. It is all quality equipment. I have and do use Himax motors and Castle Creations ESCs in other planes. Finally, the spinner is a different size at 33mm and matches the profile of the fuselage perfectly. It simply made sense for me to use the recommended equipment.

I connected the motor (mounted to the firewall/nose mount previously at my home) to the ESC and fed them into the fuselage through the opening in the nose of the Merlin. I plugged the ESC into the AR500 receiver which was bound to my JR9303 transmitter. I turned on the transmitter and plugged the 3-cell 430 mAh flight battery pack into the ESC. I held the nose mount from the sides and just barely moved the throttle. The propeller was turning in the correct direction, I powered the throttle down and disconnected the battery pack. The wires were properly connected so I could mount the firewall/nose motor mount to the fuselage.

I pulled the firewall/nose mount away from the fuselage and spread thick CA glue on the Elapor foam where the nose mount would touch. I placed the nose mount back in position and held it there firmly for two minutes to give the CA some time to set.

Working through the fuselage hatch and using Velcro I secured the Phoenix ESC to the top front of the fuselage behind the motor. I connected all four servos to AR500 receiver. I attached Velcro to the receiver and the matching Velcro to the inside back of the hatch area and secured the receiver in place. I later moved the receiver forward to just behind the hatch to properly balance the Merlin on the C/G. I used 3-cell E-flite battery packs of 430 and 450 mAh. I thought they would be secured right above the hatch opening to the bottom of the wing platform but I ended up putting them just in front and backing up to the wing platform. When I moved the receiver forward as discussed above I got the Merlin to balance right on the servo wires for the ailerons as per the instructions. I installed the hatch cover in the hatch frame and finished the basic assembly of the Merlin.

Completion

I had done all of my gluing over and in a large cardboard box in my lap. I made several small spills of CA and got a lot more than usual onto my fingers due to the van's motion. Thankfully all spills went in the box and not on my wife's van, my clothes or on the wrong spot on the Merlin. The glue peeled off of my fingers by dinner that night. I should have brought some CA debonder with me. Luckily I didn't need it.

There was a decal sheet that included a decal to cover the rudder servo. Using a piece of its own decal backing 30 x 40 mm with rounded corners the center of this decal was made non-sticky. Only the edges remained sticky to attach the decal to the Elapor foam around the rudder servo. By having the backing on the center of the decal it couldn't stick to the servo arm and prevent it from operating. In addition to the decal I used a black permanent marker to darken the area that would normally be the cockpit canopy. The marker made it look more like a canopy and made the Merlin look more realistic as a glider/plane in my opinion. I will paint the canopy area black when I get home.

Center of Gravity:

  • The recommended Center of Gravity (C/G) was 40mm behind the wings leading edge at the wing root.

Control Surface Maximum Movement Recommendations:

  • Ailerons Up 12 mm down 6mm
  • Elevator 6mm up and down
  • Rudder 12 mm left and right
  • Flaperons <4mm down (optional)
  • Spoilerons 7mm up (optional)

I did not plan on using any flaperons or spoilerons with this receiver. This might be rethought after initial flight testing.

Finally before flying I performed a range check to make sure I would have no problem controlling my Merlin in flight.

Flying

Basics

There were several options for flying the Merlin. I could simply fly it as an electric plane, as a slope soarer with electric recovery capability, or as an electric thermal sailplane. As an electric thermal sailplane I can motor up to altitude (200-400 feet) and shut down the motor and hunt for thermals. In practice flights I have found one thermal on my own. Because of the Merlin's small wingspan and relatively high speed gliding rate I will be most successful jumping on thermals my friends find with their larger sailplanes. The Merlin hasn't shown me a strong reaction to the thermals so far. I am sure I have flown right through some of them without knowing I had hit a weak thermal. The good news is that The Merlin did go up when I flew through a strong thermal, and I was able to turn around and catch it. (It will take more practice and/or a better pilot to really check out the thermalling capabilities of the Merlin.) I will look to piggy back into thermals others find.

I can simply fly with power on throughout the flight as I would with most electric planes. I don't think I will do that very much although Multiplex's pilot did some great demonstration flights under full power at the Arizona Electric Festival. I like to power up to altitude and then use a combination of glide and power to fly around the sky. Not really looking for thermals but taking advantage of the Merlin's great gliding capabilities will account for most of my flying of the Merlin. When out at our club field if another pilot catches a good thermal and I can join in I will. I can join in even if I am sitting down on the ground because I can be up there with him in just a few seconds. Sorta like a fighter plane taking off and racing to meet up with in coming bombers.

Finally, I can fly it at the slope. With power on while waiting for good lift, or in ridge lift with the motor off. I know I will be taking this glider to the slope as it is so easy to transport and so versatile since can be flown using the motor while waiting for the wind and associated lift to develop. Then when the wind is blowing it can be slope flown with the motor off and the blades folded back.

As set up I have throttle control, ailerons, rudder and elevator. I am using 50% exponential on the ailerons to keep her from being too responsive to my minor thumb movements. I have 30% on the elevator and no expo on the rudder. I am set up for the high rate throws on all control surfaces. My Merlin is very responsive and can do a great vertical climb.

Taking Off and Landing

Flights start with a good forward toss that is just slightly up from the horizon. An almost level toss. I can do this toss with the motor on at half throttle and add more throttle or I can make the toss slightly harder with the motor off and apply motor when the glider is out about 20 feet from me and I have both hands on the transmitter. Starting my flights as just described I have had no trouble controlling the Merlin on launch. No torque or any type of problems with launch. I have not tried a hard launch with full throttle. There is no need to launch it any harder then I have been doing.

Landing aids such as flaperons or spoilerons can be programmed in with a computer transmitter and I certainly have that capability but unless I was at a slope with a tight landing area I don't think I have the need where I fly so I have not done that during this review. My landings have all been by setting up for a normal landing and sliding to a stop. Most of my landings will be on grass but at the Arizona Electric Festival they were on pavement. My first landing in calm conditions ended up being quite a ways a way from me as the Merlin just kept gliding and gliding as shown in the video below. On subsequent flights the landings were into a slight breeze and landed right in front of me but the camera did not catch them. All landings have been and will be made with throttle off.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

With a fresh battery pack the Merlin has vertical climb capabilities. Using the motor I have been able to perform every aerobatic maneuver I have tried in standard pattern flying. I can make a small loop, an outside loop or a loop as large as I want it to be. I can do a string or aileron rolls or a big barrel roll, a split S or any standard aerobatic move. I have been very happy with the handling as she tracks like she is on rails.

I have had a number of flights with my Merlin but the most productive flights were low level flights at a softball field with the park's lights on at night. I was very happy with the position for the battery pack but felt the C/G could probably be moved back a bit from the recommended 40mm behind the wing's leading edge position. I moved the C/G back on my Merlin bit by bit by moving my receiver slightly further back from the back of the hatch opening. That night at the softball field in a series of flights my C/G balance point went from 40mm in back of the leading edge of the wing to 48 mm behind the leading edge of the wing. In the process I removed two clicks of elevator up trim and had level glide that was just slightly slower then before with slightly less drop. Thus I improved my Merlin's glide ratio in the process. In looking in the hole in the back of the fuselage at the elevator grub screw it was now dead center so I think I found the optimum glide rate for my Merlin. With my elevator at the level position there was nothing to gain and a lot to loose by moving the balance point any further back. For MY Merlin the true Center of Gravity appears to be 48mm behind the leading edge of the wing.

This slightly slower glide speed and improved glide ratio should help make the Merlin more responsive to thermals and help me (I hope) with thermal spotting when my Merlin flies in or very near a thermal. For a glider that is special performance. Unfortunately, winter weather hasn't cooperated yet with helping me test out its thermal spotting responsiveness since I have made these changes. I still plan to piggy back on thermals my friends find with their larger sailplanes but time will tell how good I can get detecting thermals with my Merlin.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! Multiplex has a couple of aircraft that are really excellent beginner planes, including the Easy Star, but the Merlin is not for the beginner. It is an excellent plane for the pilot that already can fly a plane with ailerons. It goes where directed but does not have any self correcting capabilities if the pilot goes hands off.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

The following photos and videos were taken using two Merlins that Multiplex brought to the Arizona Electric Festival and my Merlin. One of their Merlins, the one in the third video below had the motor recommended with the Merlin as sold in Germany. It is a 22mm Brushless outrunner. My Merlin shown in the first two videos has the Himax motor they are recommending here in the US for the Merlin. It has only about 1/2 the Amp draw but is a little slower in full power flight. Both can climb vertically. I used a 430 mAh 3-cell pack in the first two videos. Multiplex was using an 850 mAh 45C pack in their Merlin with the German motor.

Downloads

Conclusion

The Merlin is a fun and easy plane to assemble. It transports safely in its original box very nicely. (They have an optional carrier for the plane that can be purchased separately.) It is intended for the intermediate pilot or better pilot to fly. I evaluated the Merlin considering the quality of the engineering, the parts, the performance of the sailplane and its fun factor; all four were excellent in my opinion. Considering those factors I found its price acceptable. Multiplex has larger gliders available that include more Elapor foam for the buck. They fly well, but they don't fly or transport like the Merlin. She is a keeper and I hope to be flying her for years to come. I love the ease of assembly at the field and the transportation in the box.

Pluses

  • The main parts are made of durable Elapor foam
  • The instructions were excellent and easy to follow
  • Assembly was quick
  • Safely stores and transports in its original box
  • Very aerobatic and capable of vertical flight

Minuses

  • The servos and motor are difficult to access after installing in place.

The stress of the all night building session and the first day at the Arizona Electric Festival required me to seek medical attention by Thursday night. I have posted a couple of pictures. Thanks to a great Bypass burger, some Flatliner fries and a Marquirita served by a "nurse" I was able to resume test flying the next day.

SIDEBAR* I have the utmost respect for real nurses and the nursing profession. However, I did appreciate the political incorrectness and the great tasting food at the Heart Attack Grill.

Last edited by Angela H; Feb 10, 2010 at 04:09 PM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 15, 2010, 11:50 AM
BadPilot
badpilotto's Avatar
United States, IL, Custer Park
Joined Nov 2007
1,706 Posts
LMAO at the sidebar, I guess we have become a world of overly sensitive people in which case you did the correct thing.

Mike,

You a true professional through and through. I loved both your writing and pics/vids. Very well done; once again, like most of your reviews I now want to go out a purchase this plane. Thanks

John
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 01:37 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,652 Posts
I have one on the way too! I saw Mike and his Merlin at AEF, as well as the Hitec gang flying theirs. What a cool little plane!
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 01:50 PM
Registered User
chip.greely's Avatar
Carlsbad, Ca
Joined Mar 2007
3,059 Posts
Nice Review Mike,

I've built mine 'hot' with a 300XT (26g) and slope it, when not under power. Fun Flier
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 03:12 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,479 Posts
I LOVE the looks of this little plane. I really want one! Great review Mike....

ML
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 08:00 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,432 Posts
She is a very fun plane. I flew two battery packs through her today and caught a thermal on my own. Mike H
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 08:41 PM
Registered User
USA, CA, San Francisco
Joined Dec 2008
84 Posts
Nice review. I'm a little curious about the aerobatics of this airplane. How is it for stalls turns, etc?
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 09:33 PM
Hitec/Multiplex USA
MikeMayberry's Avatar
Poway, California, United States
Joined Sep 2000
4,196 Posts
Michael- The Merlin we flew (in the video) for the demo at the AEF was stock.

Mike.
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 11:39 PM
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Carlsbad, Ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMayberry View Post
Michael- The Merlin we flew (in the video) for the demo at the AEF was stock.

Mike.
Hey Mike,

Can you comment on the acrobatic capability of the Merlin? I consider mine more like a 60mph Pylon Racer
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,432 Posts
Thanks for the info Mike!
I videotaped and or took still shots of four flights of the Multiplex Merlin flown by Paul at AEF. One on Friday morning had too many clouds and the footage was unusable and was with the hot German motor per Shawn as was one I videotaped on Friday afternoon that has some shots in my video. There were shots from at least one of the other two videos that may have been the standard motor. Sorry I didn't have better records. It is a very enjoyable plane either way. I caught a thermal yesterday (perfect flying weather) and went from 100 feet to 600 feet best guess with motor off (A speck when I went inverted and started to fly down.). Everyone who has seen this plane really loves it. Unfortunately, I was alone yesterday and had to bring her down some to keep her in sight and didn't catch a second thermal.
Before it flies they talk about its price. After it flies they talk about its performance, Mike Heer
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Aerobatics:
I have to admit I have been doing most of my flights with power on and doing warbird type aerobatics. However With throttle off or power on at half throttle I have done partial standard aerobatic routines with my Merlin. Could use more rudder for some manuevers and certainly isn't designed for 3D flying but not just a pylon racer if you use some throttle management and full rudder throw. Maybe Mike Mayberry or Paul Anderson the Multiplex pilot can chime in with their thoughts. Mike H (It can be hard to stay off the throttle.) Moving C/G back to 48mm on MY Merlin helped with aerobatic performance.
I say MY Merlin because that it where the sweet spot is on my plane and I know it can very slightly so find the spot for your Merlin. My elevator grub screw is in the center of the hole in the fuselage for adjustment and alignment of that grub screw.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Poway, California, United States
Joined Sep 2000
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The Merlin is very aerobatic, and I absolutely love flying it! It snap roles very violently on high rates and will knife edge, although it does have a fair amount of coupling but we were able to mix it out with the Aurora. It's also very stable with no bad tendencies, unlike other little pylon racer type planes I've flown in the past.

It's quickly becoming one of my favorite planes of all time!

Mike.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 11:36 AM
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I have mine and will start my build shortly! Looking forward to getting this one in the air.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 06:57 PM
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ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
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Merlin vs EASYGLIDER PRO

[I have a question maybe someone can answer...MikeM from Hitec/Multiplex.

I want a versatile plane that can:
1. fly really fast level (comparable to a brushless stryker--~
2. go ballistic vertical like a rocket, (like a pocket hotliner)
3. but also slow up & cruise around the sky motor off quietly with nice glide

IS THIS THAT PLANE???

Q1)How would you compare this to a 400-500 watt Easy Glider Pro or BLizzard for 1, 2 & 3

Q2) What is the largest Diameter Inrunner that will fit ?
Is there space inside for a 400 inrunner like a Mega Brushless 16/15/4..
Q3) What is the largest Diameter Outrunner that will fit ?
Q4) What is the largest battery pack that will fit...a 3s 2200? fit if I hog out some foam? ( could I stuff my stryker set up in this?)
Q5) Is there any video links of this thing with an real aggressive ballistic up set up?? What is the most aggressive set up you guys have tried?
Q6) Will this plane do whistling dives?




Sorry for the questions, I just want to be sure before I pull the trigger on my like nth Plane......

My hanger has so much multiplex already...

Brushless Multiplex Easystar, Brushless Multiplex Easy Glider, Multiplex Easy Glider Pro, 2 Multiplex Acromasters, SkyScooter, 2 Hitec Eclipse Radios.
as well as Brushless Stryker, Parkzone sukhoi, parkzone ember, parkzone Msr, Parkzone Typhoon, and other planes that shall remain unnamed...
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 10:15 PM
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Carlsbad, Ca
Joined Mar 2007
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I'll offer MHO to your questions (inserted within)

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronstomfoolery View Post
[I have a question maybe someone can answer...MikeM from Hitec/Multiplex.

I want a versatile plane that can:
1. fly really fast level (comparable to a brushless stryker--~
2. go ballistic vertical like a rocket, (like a pocket hotliner)
3. but also slow up & cruise around the sky motor off quietly with nice glide

IS THIS THAT PLANE??? YES

Q1)How would you compare this to a 400-500 watt Easy Glider Pro or BLizzard for 1, 2 & 3 COMPARABLE TO THE EASY GLIDER PRO WITH BETTER ENERGY RETENTION AND PENTRATION. OUTPERFORMS THE BLIZZARD, HANDS DOWN
Q2) What is the largest Diameter Inrunner that will fit ?
Is there space inside for a 400 inrunner like a Mega Brushless 16/15/4..28MM INRUNNER SHOULD FIT WITH MINOR WORK. I FIT A 1" OUTRUNNER (300DF) IN MINE
Q3) What is the largest Diameter Outrunner that will fit ? SUB 28MM
Q4) What is the largest battery pack that will fit...a 3s 2200? fit if I hog out some foam? ( could I stuff my stryker set up in this?)THE EXISTING PLASTIC FUSE INLET LIMITS LIPO PAK WIDTH TO 20~25MM AND DEPTH IS 35~40MM. I RUN A 1000~1300MAH PAK
Q5) Is there any video links of this thing with an real aggressive ballistic up set up?? What is the most aggressive set up you guys have tried? SOME VIDEO ON RCG
Q6) Will this plane do whistling dives? IT DOES, ALTHOUGH THE GUYS DS'ING IT HAVE HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE WINGS COMING LOOSE FROM THE PLASTIC RETAINING TABS (NOT CATASTROPHIC BUT TROUBLING)




Sorry for the questions, I just want to be sure before I pull the trigger on my like nth Plane......

My hanger has so much multiplex already...THIS ONE WILL ALWAYS BE IN YOUR CAR AND NEVER IN YOUR HANGER

Brushless Multiplex Easystar, Brushless Multiplex Easy Glider, Multiplex Easy Glider Pro, 2 Multiplex Acromasters, SkyScooter, 2 Hitec Eclipse Radios.
as well as Brushless Stryker, Parkzone sukhoi, parkzone ember, parkzone Msr, Parkzone Typhoon, and other planes that shall remain unnamed...
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Last edited by chip.greely; Mar 01, 2010 at 10:55 PM.
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