Merlin GT kitplane - Complete Details

Excellent flying qualities, high horsepower capabilities
and a gross weight that is the highest in its class,
combine to make the Merlin GT a truly unique and very rugged aircraft.

(inflight photo courtesy of Robert Goyer, Sport Pilot magazine)


With it's "land-anywhere" undercarriage, the Merlin feels right at home landing on a paved runway or "hedge-hopping" in and out of fields. Install the optional seaplane floats or snow skis on the Merlin GT, and experience the ultimate in affordable year-round recreational flying.

As one of the most complete aircraft kits available on the market today, the Merlin GT, housed entirely in one large crate, can be shipped anywhere, anytime. With everything from propeller to tailwheel included, and all major components completed by the factory, the Merlin proudly boasts a sincere 350 hour build time.

Thinking about purchasing a light aircraft that is exciting to fly and easy to build? Then talk to Alaska Sportplanes, a company that believes in flying
"The Jeep of the kitplane industry!"

The Merlin GT was designed in 1986 by Mr. John Burch. Before sitting down at the "drawing board," many pilots, instructors and experienced homebuilders were interviewed. These surveys provided insight into the types of features that were needed in a two- place kit plane. This "give the people what they want" attitude continues today, and has made the Merlin GT an award-winning success.

Flying the Merlin

Picture it ... a cloudless sky reflecting in a cool blue lake bordered by pine and spruce. No roads, just you and your Merlin GT.

The Merlin is the perfect answer to an outdoorsman's dreams. Remote lakes and frozen lakes, farmer's fields and grass airstrips, (even airports!) are finally accessible. This aircraft is light enough to give you real honest-to-goodness short field with steep climb angle performance. Its big beefy landing gear and low inertia takeoffs and landings, allow you to operate out of fields usually used only by four wheel drive vehicles. The wide stance landing gear makes ground-handling a breeze, while still retaining the rough field ruggedness for which tail draggers are famous.

Do you need lots of cabin room? The Merlin's large roomy cabin area, with lots of baggage space will carry you, your friend and all your gear in comfort.

Beautiful scenery? One of the first things you'll notice as you take off in your new Merlin is its outstanding visibility. This is an aircraft that lets you see where you're going!

Tough, rugged, and dependable,
the Merlin really puts the fun and adventure back into flying!


Typical take off distances with the 65 HP Rotax 582 are 150 to 200 feet dual, and about 100 feet or less solo, with full fuel! Landing distances are equally as impressive! Thanks to a power-off stall as low as 34 mph, with low inertia and plenty of induced drag during landing (from the simple high-lift wing), landing rolls at full gross weight are often only 250 ft.

This, combined with a true cruise speed of 85 mph, makes the Merlin GT right at home on anything from pastures to paved airports. Designed originally in Ontario, Canada, operation on floats and skis were a prime concern from day one. The first Merlin off the production line was fitted with Full Lotus amphibious floats. Each kit since has float mounting plates welded to the airframe, making every aircraft easily adaptable to floats. In winter, the floats can easily be replaced by skis. These fit directly onto the existing axle tubes. Cruise speeds observed on skis are the same as on wheels - 85 mph with the standard 68" ground adjustable two blade prop.

Safety and Affordability

The Merlin GT is built using tried and proven building techniques, materials and aircraft hardware. Similarly-made, rugged welded 4130 chromoly steel airframes have been flying and providing occupant crash worthiness protection for over fifty years. Most of the traditional factory-built "grass roots" aircraft are no longer in production, and the ongoing operational costs of maintaining old used ones are now prohibitive. Today's pilots are now once again able to enjoy recreational flying because Merlin Aircraft Inc. has provided a way to build a sturdy aircraft, with nostalgic appearance, and excellent performance - - all at very reasonable prices!


The Merlin's rugged airframe is all pre-welded at the factory and consists almost entirely of 5/8" x .035 4130 chromoly steel tubing, versus 1/2" tubing found in most tube and fabric kits. This framework provides the foundation for the Merlin's ruggedness. The entire steel structure and all pieces are sandblasted and epoxy-primed for thorough corrosion protection.

Fiberglass cowlings are custom designed and manufactured for each of the standard Merlin GT engine packages. These easy-to-install two-piece cowlings enable the builder to enclose his powerplant simply and efficiently.


The Merlin has one of the widest cabins in its class.

The cockpit is a full 41" wide, providing lots of shoulder room and space for a complete instrument panel. Leg and head room are sufficient to handle a pilot up to 6'6" tall, plus passenger, giving you maximum comfort for those long cross-country adventures. For storage convenience, a standard-equipment 10 cubic foot cargo pod is normally installed inside the cockpit, behind the seats. Just the thing for an overnight bag, tackle box, pup-tent, golf clubs, etc.! Many builders have also installed simple and effective cabin heaters, utilizing the heat from their liquid-cooled engines to keep them comfortable during cold weather flying. Another feature requested by many pilots is a giant skylight in the roof. This increases visibility above and behind the aircraft, and brightens the cabin interior. It is available as an option.

Even in the tail down attitude, you still have great forward visibility - an absolute "must-have" for off airport operations.  This feature also eliminates any need for "S" turns while taxiing.  Land confidently in rough fields with the rugged gear of a Merlin GT.

Gear and Wheels

The landing gear is a tried and proven chromoly steel tube and bungee shock cord arrangement. No expensive shocks, springs or oleos to maintain or replace! Each Merlin GT is supplied with standard 8.00 x 6 tundra tires (approx. 19" high x 8" wide). In remote areas, where pilots may be operating off a gravel bar at a riverside, or other cow pasture type strips, this aircraft landing gear is ideal. These tires give you inches of extra prop clearance, and do not sink into soft wet fields. In addition, independent hydraulic toe brakes are also standard on every Merlin GT.

The Merlin is an aircraft designed to fly out of short unimproved strips. The plane is fairly tail-heavy on the ground, ensuring no tendency to nose over and damage the prop. This feature also makes the Merlin easier to handle on landing, with ample positive control of the fully-steerable tailwheel.

"Once the tailwheel makes contact with the ground, it is there to stay!"

These are just a few of the many features that have made the Merlin GT the plane of choice for rugged Canadian "advanced ultralight" training facilities. Two of the Canadian schools boast over 3000 "student pounding hours," on each of four trainers. To make the Merlin nearly "groundloop-proof", as much distance as possible was placed between the main wheels and tailwheel. Plus, the Merlin has one of the widest landing gears in the industry, enabling it to operate safely in strong crosswinds and gusty conditions.


Wing construction on the Merlin GT is very sturdy and rugged.

The leading edge is built of 2024 T3 aircraft aluminum. The strong, 9" aluminum "I"- beam main spars (0.080" laminated) and wing leading edges ("D-cells") are completely pre-built by the Merlin Aircraft factory. The wing ribs are constructed by the builder, using high-density foam for light weight and strength. These easily-assembled ribs are capped with heavy-duty 0.040" aluminum "U" channels. These "U" channel rib caps are joined from top to bottom of the rib by 1" straps of aluminum. There is no structural wood in the aircraft anywhere, thus eliminating the worry of rot and the eventuality of warping. Foam has been chosen because of its durability. Fewer ribs are required due to the exceptional rigidity they provide, simplifying construction and installation. The foam ribs can be repaired, if necessary, much more easily and affordably than either wood or aluminum stamping.

Slotted full span ailerons have been incorporated into the design, resulting in excellent slow flight control and a responsive roll rate. The aileron horns are made of heavy aluminum and have never experienced any cracking or inflight failures. The ailerons are controlled by push rods inside the cockpit, not by cables in the wing. This system eliminates high maintenance pulleys, hardware, bell cranks and control cables. The aileron control rods are easily accessible for routine inspection. Combined with the pre-fabricated "D" cells and aluminum capped foam ribs, these simple wings are the key to the Merlin GT's well established 350 hour quick build time. Each Merlin GT also comes with simple "folding-wing" capability, to facilitate trailering and road transport.

Recommended Builders' TOOL LIST

The Complete Kit

Includes everything needed to build and fly the aircraft.

The Firewall Back Kit

Complete kit from the firewall back. Includes Wing, Fuselage, and Covering Kits. Allows a builder time to select the engine of his choice. (The Merlin GT is capable of flying a wide variety of engines).

...To help you purchase your very own Merlin GT aircraft kit, without the immediate expense of a complete kit, component kits are also available:

Wing Component Kit

Includes the pre-fabricated "D" cell leading edge spars, and all materials needed to easily fabricate the wing ribs and ailerons. It also includes the drag spars, machined fittings, wing struts, aluminum gusset material, and all hardware needed to build the wings.

Fuselage Component Kit

Includes a completely welded, sandblasted, and epoxy-primed 4130 chromoly steel tube airframe, and all control rods, cables, landing gear, wheels, tires, brakes, and hardware.

Covering Kit

Includes all fabric, glues, trim tapes, PolyBrush filler, standard interior, and seat belts.

Engine Installation Kit

This includes radiator, fuel system, hoses and fittings, instruments and guages, firewall, engine mount, cowling, propeller, exhaust, switches and wiring, and all hardware.

With all of these exciting options available,
there are many ways to enjoy flying your Merlin year round!

Recommended Builders' TOOL LIST

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