Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IVA: American business aircraft
The Merlin was an evolution of earlier modification programs performed by Swearingen Aircraft. Ed Swearingen started the developments that led to the Merlin through gradual modifications to the Beechcraft Twin Bonanza and Queen Air business aircraft which he dubbed Excalibur. Then a hybrid aircraft was developed, with a new fuselage and vertical fin, mated to salvaged and modified (wet) Queen Air wings and horizontal tails, and Twin Bonanza landing gear: the Merlin.
The prototype IIA took to the air for the first time on 13 April 1965, about fifteen months after the competing Beech Model 65-90 King Air (which was also derived from the Model 65 Queen Air). 36 Merlin IIA models were built before a follow-on model with Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-1 engines called the SA26-AT Merlin IIB entered production after AiResearch was appointed as distributor for the type. The TPE-331 became the definitive engine of all subsequent production Merlins and the longer-fuselage Metros that were to follow.
These visual similarities ended with the next model, the SA226-T Merlin III, which was placed in production in February 1972 after 87 Merlin IIBs were built. This had new wings and engine nacelles with inverted inlet Garrett engines (this again becoming a defining feature of all subsequent production models), new landing gear with two wheels on each leg, a redesigned horizontal tail mounted on the vertical fin instead of on the fuselage as in earlier models (This and subsequent Merlin and Metro models have a trimmable horizontal stabilizer (THS) usually used on jet aircraft, one of only two turboprop aircraft types to have this design feature).
And a redesigned longer nose with room for a baggage compartment as well as the avionics found in the noses of Merlin II series aircraft. All of these design changes came from the Metro design, which was undergoing development in the late 1960s.
The SA226-TC Metro was more-or-less a new design, conceptually a stretch of the Merlin II (which it superficially resembled) sized to seat 22 passengers. Prototype construction of the Metro began in 1968 and first flight was on 26 August 1969. The standard engines offered were two TPE331-3UW turboprops driving three-bladed propellers. A corporate version called the SA226-AT Merlin IV was also marketed and initially sales of this version were roughly double that of the Metro.
Made in USA by Swearingen and Fairchild Aircraft
First flight: 1969
Capacity: 10 passengers
Engine: two Garret AirResearch TPE-31 turbines
Power: 2000 HP
Speed: 576 km/h (310 knots)
Range: 2100 km
Ceiling: 8400 m (27,550 ft)
SyberJet Aircraft (SJA) is an American aircraft manufacturer. The company’s headquarters is in Cedar City, Utah adjacent to the Cedar City Regional Airport with additional engineering offices and manufacturing, service, repair and fatigue test facilities near and on the San Antonio International Airport in San Antonio, Texas.
Founded as Swearingen Aircraft in 1959, the company was renamed the Sino Swearingen Aircraft Company in 1995 before being purchased in August 2008 by Emirates Investment and Development Corporation and renamed the Emivest Aerospace Corporation. In April 2011 the assets of Emivest Aerospace were purchased by MT, a LLC of Cedar City, Utah, and the company began doing business as SyberJet Aircraft.