Unbuilt versions of the Fairchild/Swearingen Metroliner

Sentinel Chicken

American 71 Heavy, contact departure 126.47
17 January 2006
Reaction score
I had recently come across some references that talked about possible developments Fairchild/Swearingen were looking into as future developments of the Metro/Metroliner in the late 1980s that I've never seen any other material on:

Metro V- proposed at the 1987 Paris Air Show; Metro III fuselage with longer, redesigned wings, T-tail, and more powerful Garrett engines moved out further.

Metro VI- same as Metro V, but with more powerful engines.

Stand-up cabin version- not sure where this design proposal falls, but it would have been similar to what Beech did in going from the 1900C to the 1900D. I'd never heard of this proposal at all before. One of the unflattering nicknames of the Metro referred to its slim fuselage/cramped cabin- "The San Antonio Sewer Pipe", in reference to Swearingen's facility in San Antonio, TX.
The Metro V

(source: "Aeroespacio" magazine nº469 -May-jun 1989 "El Metro V, otro proyecto")


  • MetroV 3v.jpg
    MetroV 3v.jpg
    53.3 KB · Views: 616
  • MetroV.jpg
    94.8 KB · Views: 562
And still suffering from the same problem all the other variants of that design have, the back pressure in those long exhaust pipes makes starting the engine a bit more difficult. When I was at MAI and we were installing the TPE331-10 on the MU-2, we had to keep changing out the common engine computer 'cause Swearingen kept needing tweaks to start with all that back pressure.
Swearingen Metroliner.

Yeah, I remember that POS.

I got all to familiar with those things when I worked as a ramp rat at National Airport back in the mid-80's. Everyone who had to deal with those planes disliked them. Their engineering was pretty damn poor and very, very thoughtless.

The handles to open the cargo door were these real slick looking streamlined bars which folded flush when latched closed and rotated to a angle when opened. Their length and angle were such that, when combined with the height of the door, meant those handles were absolutely perfect for catching you in the head as you tried pulling the cargo door closed.

The other thing which really got me was the ground power connection. The first Metroliners were serviced had that connection mounted on the outer side (away from the fuselage) of the number two engine - but between the leading edge and prop. Considering that the standard practice was to disconnect the ground power only after you had both engines running, this meant walking between the leading edge and spinning prop. That was not a popular thing, as you might imagine. They soon relocated the ground power connection to a point under the fuselage right by the nose gear. That was alright except that the genuises who came up with that rig saw fit to use a Phillips head bolt to hold the power connection coverplate in place. The last thing a ramp agent would have at hand was a screwdriver - of any sort - with which to secure that coverplate. This meant you had to futz with it and see what you could scrounge to get the thing secured. And you were doing this while hunkered underneath the bird and well out of sight of the flight crew. Naturally, they had no idea what you were doing and many is the time that the flight crew simply assumed the ramp agent had just up and walked off. On at least one occassion when I was trying to get that plate latched, the pilot made just such an assumption and throttled up to taxi away. I was glad I'd still had the plane chocked or else he would've driven right over me. Soon thereafter some bright lads put a butterfly bolt head in place of the Phillips so that the coverplate could be secured without the need of any tools.

Those were just a couple of the "human factor" engineering problems that damn thing had. Its engines were so pitiful that it frequently had severe load restrictions placed on it when it flew during the typical Mid-Atlantic summer days. As these birds carried but a few folks, and those usually to resorts up in the mountains of West Virginia for golfing, those weight restrictions were _very_ unpopular among both passengers and operators.

Like I said, I don't think there was anyone I knew of who had much kind to say about that miserable POS. It really showed how little Swearingen knew about designing practical aircraft.


The Fairchild/Swearingen Metro 25 project.



  • Merto 25.JPG
    Merto 25.JPG
    72.1 KB · Views: 431
Thanks for the drawings. We have a Merlin III based at my airport and the GPU plug is outside the right nacelle. I've been doing the GPU on it for about 15 years now and I'd much rather have the plug there than in front. I have been working around airplanes for about 40 years and I have seen more airplanes, singles and twins, piston and turbine, with GPU plugs between wings and engines than otherwise and much prefer that location than some others for sure. Back in the late '70s, we had a Merlin IIA based here, one of the few with the PT6A. I've read of the Merlin I, which had IO-720s. Does anyone by chance have pics or drawings of the Merlin I?

here is the Fairchild/Swearingen Metro V artist drawing.



  • V.png
    424.1 KB · Views: 236
Hi Hesham :)
Maybe of interest. Although the Metro 25 was never built as such, Swearingen did fly a modified Metro III with some of the Metro 25 features. The aircraft retained the external dimensions, but the cabin was modified to allow up to 25 passengers, at the expense of the bagage space. Therefore a large belly pannier was added. Externally the Metro 25 could also be identified by the 11 windows on each side (9 and 10 in the Metro III). Also the l/h rear cargo door was deleted and a r/h rear passenger door added. In the design stage the Metro 25 was referred to as the Metro 23(EF) model. Engines were two 1,100hp
TPE331-12UA-701G and first flight was 25 September 1989 (October 1989?). I should have a photo of the demonstrator, but cannot locate it right now. Will keep searching. [/size]

Similar threads

Top Bottom