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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.