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Fairchild Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IV A

The Merlin was a twin-turboprop business aircraft with a pressurised cabin, designed and produced by Swearingen Aircraft (USA) then by Fairchild starting in 1971. Her maiden flight was in April 1965, fifteen months after her main competitor, the Beech King Air. Several versions were built including the Merlin IV, production of which ended in 1987.

This Merlin IV was originally the personal transport of the Governor of Kentucky in the United States. Sold to Meteo France (the French weather service) in 1986, the aircraft was equipped with sensors, instruments to measure various atmospheric parameters, and computers for recording and visualising the data.

During its service that lasted from 1987 to 2003, the Merlin accomplished about twenty different research campaigns at a national, European or international level.

It carried out many different missions to observe meteorological and environmental phenomena, as well as taking atmospheric data on raindrops, chemical compositions and pollution…

This aircraft was transported from Francazal airbase by road. The single-piece wing structure had to be dismantled, an operation for which no standard procedure had been established by the manufacturer!

Ailes Anciennes Toulouse Collection