Fairchild (Swearingen) Metroliner & Merlin IV

Swearingen Aircraft developed this commuter aircraft at the end of the 1960s from the smaller SA26T Merlin II corporate turboprop, from which only the cockpit win­dows are a reminder. In the early 1970s the produc­tion and further development was taken over by Fair­child.

The Metro or Metroliner has a long slender fuselage with a circular cross section, beginning with quite a long nose. It has nearly rectangular cabin windows with rounded corners, in portrait mode. The tail is very typical with the horizontal stabiliser more attached to the dorsal fin than the vertical stabiliser. The two wheel main gear retracts forward in the nacelles. The nose gear also has two wheels and retracts forward in the nose.

The long nose is one of the typical characteristics of the Swearingen/Fairchild Metroliner. The cockpit windows are a leftover of the Swearingen Merlin II.

The cruciform tail has the horizontal stabilisers attached to the dorsal fin, rather than the vertical stabiliser itself, also a key feature of the Metroliner.

Different versions

The different versions of the Metroliner can be identified by looking at:

  • the shape of the engine nacelles
  • the shape of the nose gear doors

Confusion possible with

Swearingen/Fairchild Merlin III


The Merlin III was a short body devel­opment of the Metroliner, for the corpo­rate market. It retains most characteris­tics of the long body variant, but has larger, landscape oriented cabin win­dows.

British Aerospace Jetstream

jetstream 32

Falls in the same category as the Metro­liner and has similar fea­tures, like a cruci­form tail (but much smal­ler dorsal fin) and the engine nacelles. The Jetstream has a wider, shorter fuselage though, with oval cabin windows and more cock­pit win­dows. The main gear has single wheels and retracts inward in the wings.

Embraer EMB110 Bandei­rante


The size is about the same as the Metro­liner, as is the general configuration, but the Bandei­rante has a regular tail, an all single wheel gear, different nacelles and rectangular cabin win­dows in landscape mode.

Beech 99

beech 99a

The Beech 99 is contemporary to the Metroliner, but smaller (shor­ter). It has square, non roun­ded cabin windows, a rear­ward retracting single wheel nose gear and a regular tail. The nacelles are also diffe­rent.

Swearingen/Fairchild Merlin II


Only the cockpit windows may remind you that this is an early predecessor of the Metroliner. The rest of the aircraft is quite different: tail, gear, nacelles and cabin windows.