The Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner is one of the world's most popular commuter airliners. Only in the 1960s had commuter airlines began to become classified against larger airlines who progressively bought larger planes and sought to end service to tiny cities that could not handle them. With these commuter airlines came a need for modern, purpose built aircraft that could provide reliable service to small airports with little to no facilities and offered more than the 4-10 passenger seats found in most commuter aircraft at the time. An FBO in Texas named Ed Swearingen began the design and production of a 19-seat commuter airline that was first dubbed Excalibur but later introduced after modifications as the SA26 Merlin. Though built to carry up to 22 passengers, the designer elected to keep the aircraft down to 19-seats to circumvent a requirement for aircraft with 20 seats of more to have a flight attendant onboard. This practice became standard, and the 19-seat commuter airliner was born. Several models of the Merlin were produced, each with improvements over the last, before in 1969 Swearingen teamed up with Fairchild Aircraft to produce a new improved standard model of the Merlin known as the Metroliner II, which first flew that same year. The aircraft was immediately popular with private companies for their own transportation needs, and the first commercial delivery of the Metro II was to a private company in Zaire called Societe miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA). The following year in 1973, the first airliner examples wee delivered to a small US carriers named Commuter Airlines and Air Wisconsin. The development of the aircraft up until this point took it's toll on Swearingen, who despite an impressive number of orders, ran into financial hardship and was bought out 90% by it's partner, Fairchild Aircraft, who quickly boosted production. In 1980, the most popular model, the Metroliner III, was introduced, followed soon after by the Merlin III, which offered a seating capacity of 22. Though cargo airlines often operate the type single pilots, passenger airlines usually flew with a first officer. By the early 1980s, the Metroliner had become the standard for commuter aircraft in North America, with examples also being operated across the world including special purpose built military versions. Just about every major US Airline had metroliners in their commuter fleets through the early 1990s, with their built-in stairs very popular at small airports negating any need for air stairs. Over 600 examples of the Merlin and Metroliner were built before production ended in 1998, making the Metroliner the most popular commuter aircraft of all time. Today, almost 200 remain in airline and cargo service, mostly in North America and Australia, along with more examples serving as private or military aircraft. With 45 examples active at Ameriflight, they are the world's largest operator.
Currently, the following high quality add-ons are available for this aircraft:
RAZBAM Metroliner III (includes military variants): Prepar3Dv1-3/Microsoft Flight Simulator X
NOTE: The above aircraft does work in P3Dv4, but some features will not work properly.