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For the reeeeeeal long range traveller.

There aren’t many single pilot planes that can go beyond 2000nm. Maybe a Commander, a CJ4, a SJ30 or a tricked out Mooney Ovation. So, meet the undisputed long range king of all categories – the Merlin III. This thing beats everyone by not only a mile (pardon pun), but like 1000 miles. Easy. Or how about 280kts, burning 58-60gal/hr with 648gal tanks. That’s about 3000nm range. Enough to go the Atlantic in one hop.

Price is also very attractive – maybe an option for our long range travelers like @eal etc? Do thailand with just one stop.

Merlin for sale

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 21 Sep 18:52


I wonder about that. Isn´t the Merlin a 2 crew airplane for starters? Not many folks I know would want that, even though with 3000 NM range, you´d probably need it, that would be a 10 hour flight or so?

The standard range of the Ovation with long range tanks is 2400 NM. However, if she is fuelled up like that, only a crew of infants can fly legally. I hear that some people even outdid that with aditional tanks and got a MTOW increase to actually fit a pilot inside. I also know of an “E” Model which has been modified to fly up to 25 hours with about 145 kts, so also that one would probably be good for about 2000 NM.

Another one I recall was a Twin Commanche with some additional tanks which could fly up to 12 hours at aroud 170 kts.

But do I see your next plane coming up with a Merlin? Maybe that would be new even for you, to get the next one before the present one is out of maintenance?

LSZH, Switzerland

Noo, Mooney – not for me. Just Googling around…

I know the Merlin III is SP. There’s a guy over at the Beech forum who flies his from Ecuador to Canada regularly with just one stop. He does 2000+nm legs.

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 21 Sep 20:23

Before spending any money on that Merlin thing fly one first… My longest flying day in the Metroliner (= Merlin IV) took 8 flying hours: EDDS – HLLT and back, 1000NM each way. My ears are still ringing from it, almost 10 years later :-( Your passengers will sue you for millions in compensation for damaging their health during a 2000NM trip for sure.
This thing is the most unergonomic machine ever invented by man, extremely noisy, much noisier than the best ANR headset can cope with, poorly ventilated in the cockpit area (no window one can open on the ground, hot, hot, hot in summer), horrible layout of controls, switches and instruments, totally inadeqaute autopilot, some really dangerous design shortcomings and that terrible, terrible noise inside and out! Poorly built, extremely maintenance intensive, poor supply of spares and maintenance facilities. Just imagine traveling those 2000NM back home in a rental car when the thing is grounded once again at destination due to the inevitable breakdown of one of it’s overfly complex systems.

EDDS - Stuttgart

What_next, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel!

I pondered a Merlin briefly (very) as well, but a quick look at the panel & I backed off. These old twin TP’s and their poorly designed cockpits just looks like a real handful in single pilot IFR.

Panels can change. And no, I’d rather stay with a Commander or a MU-2 myself. I like the bush aspect of those. But if you want to go far, a Merlin is good on range. But I haven’t flown in one ever.

AdamFrisch wrote:

And no, I’d rather stay with a Commander or a MU-2 myself

Please stay with the Commander… I enjoy your writing too much for you to risk a MU-2. Mind, i am well aware that most of the stories about that one are garbage, yet I lost a good friend in one.

LSZH, Switzerland

Whilst the range is lovely, I am not sure my body could endure 10 hours in one sitting. I have found 5:30 about the limit for me before, I just want out. I also found at 6 hrs plus hours my mental faculties start succumbing to fatigue, so for 10 hrs in my case a second pilot would be a must…

Ironically the previous owner of my Jetprop “upgraded” to a Meriln III about six months before he sold me the Jetprop. According to his corporate pilot, whom I got to know really well, the Merlin’s dispatch rate was horrendous. They were continually plagued with electrical gremlins with few specialist mechanics around that had the experience to know where to start looking, let alone fix them. And this was in the U.S. Imagine living with something that unreliable rest of world….

Lovin' it

I can take about 6 hrs myself. I’m hoping to condition myself to do longer with the new steed, so that I can do West coast to East coast in one day. That would be useful for work. But after 6hrs one is not as sharp anymore. Pair that with having to end in hard IMC and it can even get dangerous, so often the best option on those 2000nm+ trips is to just stop for the night.

I don’t do flights beyond 5-6hrs either, but sometimes you get headwind and if the fuel totaliser says it’s OK I will just sit there.

The difference between a 5hr and an 8hr flight is worth far less than having to land and spending the night in some overpriced dump and paying for two grotesquely overpriced taxi rides

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
23 Posts
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