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View Full Version : Merlin III Questions


widespreadflyer
12-14-2010, 10:40 AM
Anyone have any Merlin experiences? Our company is looking at C90's and other twin turbo-props. Couldn't help notice the Merlin with its low acquisition cost and great range. I'm expecting higher maintenance since they are 30-40 years old but like the Dash-10 conversion with its 5400hr TBO. How realistic are single-pilot operations, what are operating costs like, and any other "real" information would be appreciated.
Thanks


wizepilot
12-14-2010, 01:54 PM
Hangar queens and maintenance hogs (nightmares sometimes).

chongololo
12-14-2010, 04:43 PM
What about a turbo commander? Fast yet burns less fuel than the PT6's. I've heard good things about them but never been in one myself.
I fly a C90B, you can't go wrong with one of those.
Tell us more about your typical mission profile and the gurus will chime in soon.


quimby
12-15-2010, 07:58 AM
Anyone have any Merlin experiences? Our company is looking at C90's and other twin turbo-props. Couldn't help notice the Merlin with its low acquisition cost and great range. I'm expecting higher maintenance since they are 30-40 years old but like the Dash-10 conversion with its 5400hr TBO. How realistic are single-pilot operations, what are operating costs like, and any other "real" information would be appreciated.
Thanks

You might want to consider a Blackhawk BE-200, or a BE-300/350.

Like someone else said, a Dash 10 Commander is pretty nice too.

Good luck.

withthatsaid182
12-15-2010, 08:39 AM
I'm not sure if I heard or read this, but do any of the commanders have a recurring pressurization issue? Or am I making things up again..

Ewfflyer
12-15-2010, 09:21 AM
There's a local based one where I work at, and when they first got this thing two years ago, it was in Mx after each flight. Now that they've gotten a handle on things this isn't the case. You are still dealing with an aircraft that is considered an odd-duck, and there aren't a lot of shops familiar with this airframe. Originally they were flying it single-pilot, but someone else bought into it and wanted two, so that's what they have now.

The best trade-off is upfront costs, but you're probably going to eat into that quickly with the rest of the operating and Mx costs quickly, unless you get a peach from the start.

tailwheelman
12-20-2010, 01:43 AM
We manage and operate a Merlin IIIB. While I wont agree that they are maintenance hogs, I will agree that they do need to be maintained by a shop that is familair with the type.
They offer quite a bit of capability for the money. We regularly see 280+ knots in cruise. It has a wide margin of utility between range and payload. The cabin is quiet and larger than a B200, and the operating costs are relatively low. Even though it is a 30 year old airframe we rarely visit the shop between inspections, certainly no more so than the newer turboprops on our airport. Parts are readily available and relatively inexpensive compared to the King Air parts I have dealt with in the past. But most importantly, the owners like it.
I've often heard these airplanes are a nightmare, and no offense to anyone here, 9 times out of 10 it is from someone who has never owned or operated one. I will say that the Merlin is not for everyone. Depending on where you are in the country, where the nearest shop is to you, etc. Logistically, the right elements have to be in place to properly support the airplane, having to fly it 700 miles to get a quality A thru D inspection is silly and expensive. If it can't be done practically, then you are really better off with something else.
We have about 30 years of maintenance and operational experience with the Merlin series. If you are seriously considering a Merlin and have further questions feel free to PM me and I would be happy to share some of our resources with you. Good Luck.

wizepilot
12-20-2010, 09:48 PM
We manage and operate a Merlin IIIB. While I wont agree that they are maintenance hogs, I will agree that they do need to be maintained by a shop that is familair with the type.
They offer quite a bit of capability for the money. We regularly see 280+ knots in cruise. It has a wide margin of utility between range and payload. The cabin is quiet and larger than a B200, and the operating costs are relatively low. Even though it is a 30 year old airframe we rarely visit the shop between inspections, certainly no more so than the newer turboprops on our airport. Parts are readily available and relatively inexpensive compared to the King Air parts I have dealt with in the past. But most importantly, the owners like it.
I've often heard these airplanes are a nightmare, and no offense to anyone here, 9 times out of 10 it is from someone who has never owned or operated one. I will say that the Merlin is not for everyone. Depending on where you are in the country, where the nearest shop is to you, etc. Logistically, the right elements have to be in place to properly support the airplane, having to fly it 700 miles to get a quality A thru D inspection is silly and expensive. If it can't be done practically, then you are really better off with something else.
We have about 30 years of maintenance and operational experience with the Merlin series. If you are seriously considering a Merlin and have further questions feel free to PM me and I would be happy to share some of our resources with you. Good Luck.No offense taken here. Just speaking of the experience of having two Merlins (a III and 226) based at the airport I fly out of. The company that owned them even had their own in house mechanic. He did the best he could considering the owners just died at the thought of spending money to maintain them. These planes are no longer here. The III is sitting and rotting on a ramp at another airport about 30 miles away. The 226 sat at my airport for 4 years before someone came and bought it hoping to restore it. The day they flew that plane out, everyone was watching and waiting....

quimby
12-26-2010, 11:34 AM
Just get a B-200/-300/-350

It would be easier to find & maintain an a/c that is still in production (200/350), than one that was built in relatively small numbers & has been out of production for years now.

Or a -90 with -135's.....couldn't go wrong with that, either.