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P_7878

Another (less-known) Airliner & a (less-known) Airline

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Due to my years of break from SIM, occasionally I come across, in my Archive, an aircraft, that I would like to fly much more than I have actually done. Especially propliners have a unique appeal for me. For example, YS-11 was one such plane I'd recently discovered and posted an account about. The subject aircraft (SIM) of this post, I've not flown in more than 4-5 years...it is the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, a 19-seat twin turboprop airliner, built in San Antonio, TX, that had its first flight on Aug, 26, 1969, but is currently out-of-production. Because FAA regulations limited an airliner to no more than 19 seats if no flight attendant was to be carried, the aircraft was optimized for that number of passengers.

Interestingly, if one looks into Metroliner's past, one will find a connection to the popular Beechcraft Twin Bonanza. Ed Swearingen, a Texas fixed-base operator (FBO), also an aeronautical engineer and entrepreneur, started gradual modifications to the Beech Model 50 Twin Bonanza, in the 60s, that eventually led to the Metro series. BTW, for Piper aficionados, Swearingen was also responsible for the key step-evolution of the PA-24 Comanche single engine series to the PA-30 Twin Comanche (1962). In the late 1950s, the Beech Aircraft Corporation developed a twin-piston business aircraft, the "Queen Air", which was derived from the earlier Beech Twin Bonanza. The Queen Air would lead to the (ever popular) "King Air" and "Super King Air" turboprop twins, which also led to a series of small (commuter) airliners, including the "Swearingen Metro" (1972), and the "Beech Model 1900" (1983). The Fairchild became part of the name when they bought up 90% interest in Swearingen Aircraft in 1971.
 
From actual pilot accounts, it was a love-hate relationship with the plane who flew it, "The SA-227 Metro was fun to fly, but I have no desire to fly that stuff anymore..." Another pilot says, "It was not an airplane that you could get consistently good landings in if you consider a good landing one that is smooth (whatever that means). Clunkers greatly outnumbered greasers, at least for me. The tires were small and hard, and in my opinion the long landing gear magnified clunkers..."

Nonetheless, equipped with the powerful Garrett TPE331 engines, the Metroliner is/was a fast, and one of the best looking commercial turboprops of all time - long, sleek, with very tall landing gear. These planes were tough, durable, noisy, unforgiving, and a handful to fly! In civilian service the type has proved to be popular, with sales in the 19-seat airliner market rivaled only by the Beechcraft 1900. Just as the pistonprops eventually got displaced by the turboprops, many turboprops such as the Metroliner, fell out of favor with Airlines when the Regional Jets came into vogue by about 2000.

Now, a bit about the Bearskin Airlines, which has the distinction of currently being the only all-exclusive operator of SA227 Series Metroliners. It's a regional airline based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It had its roots in the bush-flying operations of the 1960s in northern Ontario. It has received many recognitions and philanthropy awards for its outstanding humanitarian service (flights of mercy). The regional carrier has assisted organizations in arranging free flights for Canadians, in financial need, who must get to specialized health care far from their (remote) home communities. Bearskin is also a major provider of flights for Hope Air, a charity that organizes free non-emergency medical flights for people in need.

To honor this little-known Airline, I've flown this RAZBAM SA-227AC, in the color of Bearskin. Regarding scenery, in my previous post, I'd overflown the highest of the (MSE) Wyoming Rockies, and, here, I'm tracking the (relative) flatlands of Wyoming along the southern border of the state from KEVW (Evanston-Unita) to KCYS (Cheyenne). And, as for this aircraft, if you still own it and fly it, this post would be hopefully a pleasant refresher for you, and if, you've not seen this aircraft in a while, hope, you still enjoy these images of this noteworthy aircraft (at one point, considered the leader of the elite turboprop pack), a best-seller in its category, with the likes of BAe Jetstream, Beech 1900 etc. Thanks for viewing. [Razbam(Metro III)/MSE(Wyoming)/REX]

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Thanks, i miss this plane.Wish there was a proper version for p3dv4.

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Rick, yes, I can share your feelings and desire for this nice plane......🙂...

IMHO, the PMDG JS41 and this one are 2 of the earliest and finest turboprops in our SIM (with due respect to the modern mjc8Q400)...the appeal of these two are particularly fascinating because both were/are excellent simulations too...hopefully, one day, we'll have newer versions of these two to enjoy (again)...

The Metro is seat-of-the-pants flyer (old-fashioned cockpit), while the PMDG JS41, as we know, at least, has an authentic legacy Honeywell FMS - similar to mjcQ400 - (if one prefers that kind of avionics)...I would like to fly both often, with some limitations, on my system...

(Thanks for the comment)...!

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