And The First One Is Already Done
By ANN Correspondent Dave Higdon
The Fairchild Merlin was a workhorse of a turboprop in its day,
fulfilling roles from executive aircraft to light cargo transport.
The Fairchild Metro regional airliner once dominated the market for
19-passenger short-haul airliners. Today a company in the ancestral
home of Fairchild offers a program capable of revitalizing the
approximately 750 Merlin and Metro aircraft into modern propjet
M7 Aerospace offers complete refurbishment in the former
Fairchild factory where many former Merlin people perform the work.
M7 acquired the assets of Fairchild in late 2002, a package that
included not only the factory but also the Merlin type certificates
for the Merlin and Metro regional airliner.
The company quickly began providing
OEM support for those aircraft, including parts, product support
and training. The M7 Merlin program began to take shape shortly
afterward based on the expertise and experience of the original
"As the OEM, we have the resources, assets and tooling not
available to other shops," said Chet Shickling, M7's highly
experience vice president of business development. "An M7 Merlin is
a unique product. With all the available options, it is as close as
you can get to a brand new airplane." Without, he neglected to say,
the full expense of a "brand new airplane."
Under the M7 Merlin Program, the aircraft comes "home" to the
factory where the experts first conduct a full inspection.
Interiors and avionics are refurbished to first-class condition,
including new paint, leather upholstery, new cabinetry if the owner
chooses, and upgraded avionics. Upon completion, the like-new
aircraft returns to the owner wth all A, B, C and D checks
completed and ready to go to work for its owner.
M7 can make available to buyers these Merlin or Metro aircraft
at prices that range between $900,000 and $1.5 million, dependent
on options and model. Or the owner of a Merlin or Metro can
contract with M7 for the upgrades, refurbishment and