bking12747
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Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:33 am

I am a 1500 hour commercial/instr pilot. I fly a Malibu. I intend to move to a turboprop for safety and utility. The singles are very expensive. It would be much more cost effective to buy a twin and save the extra million dollars in purchase price. I fly about 100 hours per year. According to the factory most 226's (Merlins) are owner operator flown single pilot.
I am attracted to the Merlins with -10 engines for tremendous utility and low purchase price. Flight safety has a sim a few miles from my office. I could pop over there for an hour or so 4-6 times per year for the first few years to stay more current. We have excellent maintenace for the type at my home CPS.
My plan would be to get my multi and move right into Merlin initial training. My question is for those of you with experience in the 226: Is what I have in mind reasonable or is the the Merlin too much of a handfull for a single non pro pilot?
For more money and less utulity I could get a B100 with dash 10's. For twice the money I could get a CE441 with the same. I am paying for everything an am attracted to the Garretts.
Thank you for your council.
 
2H4
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:01 am



Welcome to Tech/Ops!

Quoting Bking12747 (Thread starter):
I intend to move to a turboprop for safety and utility. The singles are very expensive. It would be much more cost effective to buy a twin and save the extra million dollars in purchase price.

I think I'm missing something.....you're saying a multi-engine turboprop is more cost effective to purchase than a single-engine turboprop? How is this the case? It seems like a previously-owned PC9 or TBM would be the most cost-effective way to own and operate a turboprop...

Quoting Bking12747 (Thread starter):
I fly about 100 hours per year.

Have you considered a partnership?




2H4


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SlamClick
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:59 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 1):
Have you considered a partnership?

Or starting a Part 135 operation with the Merlin and being one of your own customers? As for the other flying it does, well, as anyone on here can tell you, pilots work cheap.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
411A
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:04 am

The Merlin is a fine airplane, and with the RIGHT training, you should have no trouble.

Beware of fuel tank leaks...'tis a problem with these airplanes.
Not always, sometimes.

Otherwise, a good machine.
Fast and comfortable.
The Garrett engines are great...noisey, but reliable.

Good luck!!
 
bking12747
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:43 am

RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:52 am

Here is my thinking in reply to the first response:
1. TBM-$1.7mm
2. Merlin IIIB-$700m

difference is $1mm. I figure interst expense whether paying cash or not at 6%. I figure depreciation at 6%. Total is 12%. That may not be perfect but if one number or the other is off the total is still close.

A TBM costs $500 to run and a Merlin $800. Ther Merlin will cost you $7000 per year to hanger and be trained in over the TBM. If you stay on top of the training safety is a wash. For a 100 hour per year user the numbers are below:
TBM Merlin
operating cost-$50,000 $80,000
Capital cost - $210,000 $84,000
Training $3000 $7000
hanger $5000 $9000
Insurance --same--------------------------------
Total $268,000 $180,000

So the Merlin is a lot cheaper to own. Now, when I show up at the airport with 7 guys, 12 shotguns, 3 hunting dogs, and 15 duffle bags.........I have to think about a PC-12 at $2.7mm...but with the Merlin-or B100 or ce441....not problem.............
 
L-188
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:13 pm

Quoting 411A (Reply 3):
Beware of fuel tank leaks...'tis a problem with these airplanes.

The 135 company I used to work for had during my tenure there 3 Metros and two Merlins. The Merlins where definately not as leaky as the Metros, I think it is because of the much short span wing (6 feet shorter on each side) which doesn't stress the wing as much.

I have heard from pilots that the Merlins where more of a handful on landing then the Metros because of the short wheelbase. Our big problem was a lousy design for the cabin door, it was just two flimsy for the jobs we where using it for. All of ours ended up with hardware from the Merlin 23 design in order to get the doors to seal right. Had the same problem with the Metro doors also.

Also don't try and convice yourself that you can land on 2800 feet. Bad things happen.

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113312
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:51 pm

Do not skimp on training! This is a very high performance aircraft with sophisticated systems. You really need to understand them, the engines, props and all of the aerodynamics involved. Garretts are great engines and quite reliable. However, they do require high current for starting. The pros almost always use external power but you can use the ship batteries but they must be maintained in top shape.

As with the plane you're flying now, you can get into serious weather and high altitude operations. You must have a good backround in all of the subjects and know your limitations. You can get into serious trouble with a plane like this. On the other hand, if you take it seriously, it can be safer than most other personal aircraft.

As someone else commented, do not consider this a short field plane. It's a mini-airliner and it should be flown as one.
 
sccutler
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:07 pm

For 100 hrs/year, you'd be way better off just chartering or buying into a fractional scheme. I know the urge to fly it yourself is there, but...
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
pilotpip
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:59 pm

Avoid the B100 like the plague. They're cheap on the market for a reason. Very difficult aircraft to manage single pilot. I flew one for a few hours and that thing was a hangar queen. A B-200 has a higher initial cost but within a couple years it was cheaper to operate due to reliability.

Merlins are good aircraft. However there are other things to consider as you are probably aware with an aquisition like this. While the TBM might cost much more short term, the costs might start equalizing when you consider fuel, insurance, and mx on two engines versus one.
DMI
 
L-188
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:14 pm

A couple of other thoughts, Latter Merlins have a pretty simple fuel system, left/right tanks and crossfeed. A Beech on the other hand has four tanks to play with.

The Early Merlin I's used the Beech Queen Air wing, which had it's own issues, such as the fact that the inboard tanks read in LBS and the outboard tanks in Gallons (I could be 180 wrong on that).

Any TPE aircraft is a pre-heat hog in cold weather, Pratts have a much better reputation for starting, but the TPE's are more miserly motors and the props are more responsive to control inputs.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
citation501sp
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:44 am

If you can Consider taking a working vacation to FlightSafety or any Simulator training provider and take a "test" flight in a variety of aircraft first. That way you can get a sence of the pilot workload in each aircraft before you settle on an airplane type.

One thing that can be said the odder the airframe the more of a maintenance hog its going to be. Aging aircraft issues can also be an issue with Turbo props. Basically moving up from a single to any twin, requires one main thing besides money, Do your homework. A low price might sound enticing, but make sure the Presure seals are in good condition or you aren't a few hours away from TBO on and engine or two etc...

501sp
Smoke and Thunder! Stage 2 FOREVER!!!
 
KingAirMan
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:58 am

Why go Merlin when you can go Cheyenne 400LS? !

Signed

A cheyenne Pilot
 
CRJonBeez
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:31 am

Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 11):
Why go Merlin when you can go Cheyenne 400LS? !

bleh...

the merlin is a fantastic aircraft. as stated above, avoid the B100.

as for the C441, i have limited time around them. one fella at my airport owns one. it seems to be in maintenance quite a bit. part of that may be due to all the aftermarket features, pilot error (the guy that flies it half the time has scammed his way on the medical...not all there mentally), or just a bug-ridden plane.

one way or another, don't forget to spin those props when you're finished flying!!!
 
KingAirMan
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:57 am

Im not argueing that the merlin isnt a fantastic aircraft, the cheyenne 400 LS capable of going over 300 knots and is a more comfortable cabin. Ill admit I have always been a fan of the Merlin though, somethin about it is just sexy!
 
L-188
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:20 am

Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 13):
more comfortable cabin

Sorry I have to disagree. Remember the Cheyennne cabin dates back to the old piston powered Mojave. You have to wear that airplane, which should be part of the experience in a Mustang or Spitfire, but not in a buisness aircraft. Most Merlins ended up with a 3 place bench and a forward facing seat on the left side and pair of facing seats on the other side.

Also I don't think (correct me if I am wrong) that Cheyenne's ever had a toilet installed. Merlins have one.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
bking12747
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:56 am

Thanks for the comments. Any other 226 pilots want to chip in?

My takeaway from this so far is that my thinking is really pretty good. With FS having a local sim it is probably realistic for me to stay on top of this-especially in those first critical years.

Here is a short field question. Gross is 12,500. I would be landing and taking off from 3500 feet, (1610 agl, northern WI climate) frequently. I would expect the plane to almost always be a couple thousand lb under gross.

Is 3500 enough runway...light like that?
How about at 11,000 lb. Summer, 80 degrees?
According to the POH yes, but what does experience say?
 
KingAirMan
Posts: 233
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:19 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 14):
Also I don't think (correct me if I am wrong) that Cheyenne's ever had a toilet installed. Merlins have one.

Actually, they do, my Dad has one, They are extremely comfortable and work horses at that. Cheyenne 400LS is NOT the Navajo Mojave Body, the one and II are. They have toilets, Refreshment centers, and cabin is laid out better then Merlin. Either way, your choosing a Turbine Aircraft Cant go wrong.

In reguards to the 3,500 foot of strip, . Its always nice to have more room. If POH says yes, its certainly possible, just be careful , you might need to fuel somewhere else periodically or go easy on the baggage and people surely. At gross, 3,500 is probbably to close for comfort. Just talk to other Merlin Pilots , I am only familiar with Cheyenne, which has similar performance
 
L-188
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:42 pm

Quoting Bking12747 (Reply 15):
Here is a short field question. Gross is 12,500. I would be landing and taking off from 3500 feet, (1610 agl, northern WI climate) frequently. I would expect the plane to almost always be a couple thousand lb under gross.

3000 was the minimum we where allowed too look at for landing for when I was dispatching with that airline.

One thing to consider is that the 12,500 limitation is a paperwork limitation. IT is in place because over that weight with turbine aircraft you have to start installing Voice recorders and all that other crap in the aircraft. The aircraft if I remember correctly was designed for 14,000 and something. So if you ever feel the urge to throw some "Granny Gas" on the plane go ahead and do it.

Not that I would encourage anybody to do it or have seen it done myself.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
113312
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:18 am

There are probably more Merlins around than Cheyenne 400LS. I've flown the Piper and a lot of time in Metro IIs. I certainly like both. The Swearingen has systems and structures more like an airliner. But the Piper is a very robust GA aircraft and probably more appropriate for the novice pilot if you can find and afford one. The engines on the 400LS have more electronic features which ease startup and operation. You can have a small refreshment center and chem toilet as well.

The big factor, money nothwithstanding, is if you can get insurance with your experience. good luck.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:39 am

Interesting stuff.

I would suggest that you have a capable and competent Fairchild/Garrett mechanic look it over very closely, particularly the engines. Some of my old cronies in the trade worked at Land's End when Gary owned it-do you know any of the pilots he had? Do you know Dave Dwyer? I worked on their Conquest quite a bit.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
lowrider
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:40 pm

I have not flown the Merlin, but I do have a little familiarity with the MU2. Training is critical with this aircraft. There is a school in Tennesee (whose name escapes me at the moment) that comes widely recommended. The MU2 is reasonably fast, efficient, and well built. I don't imagine that the cabin noise is significantly higher than the Merlin. The only caution I have heard is the aircraft is very unforgiving of getting slow in icing conditions.

The only drawbacks I have heard about the Merlin are mostly covered above. The only thing I will add is that if the batteries are at all weak, use a GPU when starting with residual heat in the engines.
Proud OOTSK member
 
Dougloid
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:46 pm

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 20):
I have not flown the Merlin, but I do have a little familiarity with the MU2. Training is critical with this aircraft. There is a school in Tennesee (whose name escapes me at the moment) that comes widely recommended. The MU2 is reasonably fast, efficient, and well built. I don't imagine that the cabin noise is significantly higher than the Merlin. The only caution I have heard is the aircraft is very unforgiving of getting slow in icing conditions.

The only drawbacks I have heard about the Merlin are mostly covered above. The only thing I will add is that if the batteries are at all weak, use a GPU when starting with residual heat in the engines.

Agreed. You should always use a gpu when available. I worked on a bunch of MU2s back in the day. Fast, rugged, but notoriously demanding to fly because of the roll rate and pitch stability. Inexpensive to buy because of this, a lot of them ended up in the hands of airfreight operators like Connie Kalitta, and a number of young pilots lost their lives flying MU2s.

Rigging the engines demands a fine touch, particularly the decay rate. Some used Bendix fuel controls which were dogs. See, flight idle yields a 700 fpm descent rate or should. When you chop the power, and one doesn't spool down at the same rate as the other that's enough to drop one wing so fast it'll make your head spin.

I hated going on test flights just because looking out that damned windshield at the ground coming up and the pitch changing as the pilot jockeyed the controls was enough for me. It was unnerving.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
MerlinIIIB
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:52 am

I know some Merlin captains who also fly Turbo Commanders. They regard the Merlin as a very serious mini-airliner while the Commander is funny and forgiving in comparison. The view from a Commander is much better, and it has Garretts.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:08 am

Actually a bunch of the accident reports on the Moo-Two and other high-workload, single pilot airplanes keep hitting on the number one consideration for a "single, non pro pilot" when contemplating an airplane such as a Merlin.

That is the issue of REAL pilot proficiency, competence, and confidence.

This is especially a challenge for owners. The Bonanza used to nicknamed the "V-tail doctor killer" for reasons that relate to this. (That is before doctors started buying Citations and King Airs) One problem that needs special awareness, and any long-time flight instructor can back me up on this, is that a guy making seven hundred thousand a year has a hard time taking his fifteen hundred a month flight instructor seriously. I don't know how many times I've seen it, or read about it. True for warbirds too!

The airplane doesn't care if you are a doctor, a wildly sucessful entrepreneur, a baseball hall-of-famer or a rock star. The airplane will do whatever you ask of it, and it will do it fearlessly. If you ask it to fly into a level-five thunderstorm, it will. It just won't fly out the other side! If you ask it to tighten up the turn because you are overshooting final at Aspen, it will roll into the bank, regardless of the wings' ability to support the airplane at that angle.

So all I can say is find yourself one hardass instructor who is not impressed by your achievements and listen to that instructor. Work hard at this, work as if your life depended on your competence because that is the simple, literal, unembellished truth of it.

Work hard to be as good as you look in the left seat.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
lowrider
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:32 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 23):
"single, non pro pilot"

If I may echo a few things and expand on them, when I was a flight instructor, I encouraged all of my students to take a professional approach to thier flying. I was not trying to take any fun out of it, but instill an attitude of doing things the right way because it is the right way and take pride in that. If the can taxi on the right side of the taxiway, then can taxi on the center stripe. +/- 100 feet of altitude may be good enough for a checkride, but who wants to be just good enough. Even the simplest aircraft has a checklist. Use it. Everytime. Just because you aren't getting paid for it doesn't mean you can't fly like you are.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 23):
fifteen hundred a month flight instructor

CFI pay has gone up a lot in the past 10 years.
Proud OOTSK member
 
SlamClick
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:13 am

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 24):
CFI pay has gone up a lot in the past 10 years.

So, should I go out and get the rating? After 41 years of instructing without one?
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
lowrider
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:13 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 25):
So, should I go out and get the rating? After 41 years of instructing without one?

If you love to teach, by all means. You obviously have substantial knowledge and experience that would benefit the GA community. We don't have enough of this type of instructor.

For any other reason, nope. When the risk/reward calculation didn't work out for me anymore, I let my CFI lapse. The only way I would renew it is if I was going to teach my kids to fly. If your current arrangement satisfies the urge, I would stay with that.

Your remark made me think about my first CFI job, where I pulled down 450/mo as a 1099 employee. Want liability insurance? Call this guy. Its one of those best of times, worst of times sort of memory.
Proud OOTSK member
 
Dougloid
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:38 am

Quoting MerlinIIIB (Reply 22):
I know some Merlin captains who also fly Turbo Commanders. They regard the Merlin as a very serious mini-airliner while the Commander is funny and forgiving in comparison. The view from a Commander is much better, and it has Garretts.

The only Merlin that didn't have Garretts was a few of the real early ones had PT6s. I've only seen one and it was old as the hills, one of the first ones.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
L-188
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:10 pm

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 27):
The only Merlin that didn't have Garretts was a few of the real early ones had PT6s.

I have never see a Pratt engined Merlin but have heard rumors of them.

But I also seem to want to think that the original Merlin prototype was powered by Turbomecca.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
2H4
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:40 pm




Quoting L-188 (Reply 28):
I have never see a Pratt engined Merlin but have heard rumors of them.

Well here you go!









Here's the panel:






Just for fun, here are a couple (non PT-6 versions) with winglets:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Max Teuber
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Radoslaw Idaszak (EPGD Spotters)






2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
SlamClick
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:36 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 29):

The one shown is also one of the early models still based on Beech Queen/King Air wing center section and landing gear. Note the single wheels. I used to see one of these from time to time with Garrett engines but they were mounted "upside down" with the intake beneath. Wish I'd taken a picture because there does not seem to be one in the database.

I saw a twin turboprop in a revetment at Tan Son Nhut one day in 1968 but I've never figured out what it was. It had Pratts but it was not a Kingair or a U-21. I was pretty familiar with those. It was civilian marked and I don't know if the reg. was US or South Vietnam. Looked like a cross between a Navajo and a Bandierante but the Cheyenne had not been built yet and, anyway, it didn't have tip tanks.

Still curious.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
2H4
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:46 pm




Quoting SlamClick (Reply 30):
It had Pratts



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 30):
Looked like a cross between a Navajo and a Bandierante

...Might it have been a T-1040?


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jonathan Rankin
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Colin Hunter






2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
SlamClick
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:54 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 31):
...Might it have been a T-1040?

I think you have solved a 38 year old mystery for me. Thank you. Do you know more about this design? This is the only other place I've ever seen it.
Obviously a Navajo airframe but...
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:51 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 30):
The one shown is also one of the early models still based on Beech Queen/King Air wing center section and landing gear. Note the single wheels. I used to see one of these from time to time with Garrett engines but they were mounted "upside down" with the intake beneath. Wish I'd taken a picture because there does not seem to be one in the database.

Depending on who you talk to that would be "right side up". Seems to me I remember seeing one of them as well.

I do not know whether it had -1s or the earlier pre century models like the 25AA or 43BL. Well, I will have to dig thru the rollaway for my pilot familiarization manuals and see what turns up. Most of the Merlins had the -3U-303G, 3UW-303G and 304, and the -10 and -11 with strain gauge torque sensing rather than the earlier hydromechanical setup.

I was getting out of the 331 engine business just as strain gauge torque sensing was starting to arrive. That was just about the time when they'd really dialed in the hydromechanical setup and made it reliable.

There was always this sort of Ford v. Chevy argument going between pratt and garrett guys. I was a garrett guy even though I did work on a lot of PT6s. The strong point of the Garrett was that you could get power instantly out of it-no waiting, you'd get it as fast as you could move the power lever. That might be valuable only once in your flying career but certainly would be useful in certain situations.

Plus, Garrett let us do anything we wanted to the engines out in the field, and the rotating group components were individually balanced and field replaceable off the shelf.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
flymatt2bermud
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RE: Merlin Turboprop For Single Non Pro Pilot

Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:46 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 5):
Also don't try and convince yourself that you can land on 2800 feet.

The problem isn't landing it's getting it stopped. Trust the envelopes in the POH performance section, but give yourself plenty of margin as necessary.

Talk to as many people as you can to get the skinny on the aircraft that you are considering to purchase. Don't just assume if you hear good things about an XYZ model that they are all the same, the reliability will be affected by how the aircraft was operated and maintained, not by the quality of the recent paint scheme. Make sure you hire your own engineer/mechanic ride shotgun over your prepurchase inspection.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci

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