Merlin IIIb vs Piper Cheyenne 3 or 400LS

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by NadJ, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. NadJ

    NadJ Filing Flight Plan

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    I don't have experience of flying any but from what I do know, the LS400 will climb much higher and appears to be a more 'normal' and comfortable airplane to operate.

    Requirement is for 1600nm IFR range with 2 pilots and 1100lbs of payload. Performance data for Merlin III series online is lacking. Can't tell from the data if the max range of 2,000nm is at max payload.

    Does anyone have real world performance data for both they can share? Thanks!
     
  2. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I have no data for you, but I secretly want a Merlin as my next plane.

    I have heard that the -14 motors on the 400LS are breathtakingly expensive (even by turbine standards) to overhaul.
     
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Three old outdated airframes that are very expensive to operate and maintain. What's not to like?
     
  4. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    King Air 350/360

    There is good reason Beech outsold Piper and Merlin by a HUGE margin
     
  5. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    That's becoming the bigger problem for some of these airframes, parts availability is scarce to non-existent. In one of the other forums, someone was asking about classic Lears vs Falcon 10. They can be awful tempting given the low purchase price, but they are priced that low for a reason. I just saw a perfectly flyable Beechjet get parted out because the cost of the upcoming service interval essentially totaled the aircraft.
     
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  6. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Anything built and named Hawker will soon fall into this hole. At least for private ownership.

    A lot of them are still big enough to use on 135 services, which MX can be used as a tax write-off. Its amazing how many hour/cycle fleet leaders are on 135s.
     
  7. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    They are quickly becoming a hobbyist only type airplane. But there aren’t many hobbyists that can afford this type of airplane that do. So people choose to let them go instead, because that is the smarter financial thing to do. I wouldn’t want one of these airplanes in a setting where high use and close to 100% dispatch rate was an expectation.

    A friend and I seriously considered a Cheyenne a couple of years ago and I still think a Merlin would be a decent choice for what we’re doing. I think about how lucky we were that the Cheyenne was under contract by the time we made an offer. I would have had to maintain it, and I don’t enjoy the thought of that.
     
  8. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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  9. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Our local operator used to swear by the Cheyennes, and operated a small fleet of them. They have since been moving away from them as parts and support have dried up and become ridiculously expensive.
     
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  10. Arm3

    Arm3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you’re interested in older turbo props have you look at Turbo Commander 1000s? I think it would meet your performance requirements and from articles I’ve read in the past it sounds like there is still decent support out there.
     
  11. JAWS

    JAWS Cleared for Takeoff

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    All three are orphans. Cheyennes are maintenance intensive and if they are not treated right, they will eat your wallet and patience in short order. If you think finding a good mechanic for a 182 is hard to find, imagine what it is like for such a specialized aircraft like a Cheyenne.
    The PT6A is pretty much bullet proof all around - look after it and it will look after you.
     
  12. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    Paging @bijanmaleki

    @bijanmaleki please report to this thread

    thank you



    but until he chimes in, why is a Conquest II not on your list?
     
  13. bijanmaleki

    bijanmaleki Pre-Flight

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    Wow 1600nm w IFR reserves and 1100lbs in back. Your geographic location might dictate a choice only a few specialty shops work on either of these. I have some time in Merlin 3,3a, 3b’s and had money down on a Cheyenne 3 was hunting 2xls and ended up w a 425…


    Most 3bs are in the low 8k range empty a super light one might be just under a fat one will be around 8500. The lightest 3a I think can be under 7800. Gross takeoff is 12500. I think you need around 3600lbs for the flight w reserves if you have two 200lb pilots you would have to find a bird that had an empty weight of 7400 pounds. Not sure if that’s possible. 3c has a gross takeoff weight over 13k but most of that is eaten up
    in a higher empty weight do some system changes etc. Maybe one of those could do it not entirely sure, maybe using lrc if serious can set you up with a Merlin expert. A metro could do it… lots still flying in the us.

    Cheyenne 3 your looking at only a few specialty shops. Parts are limited must be plugged in I think. As I recall the one we were under contract on weighed just about 7k and gross was 11200 but could get aft if not careful. 6.5-7hour trip at 550lbs/hr not adequate reserve Idk if at some lrc 270/280 point it might make it barely. But not carry the load. Less than 90 made I bet less than 40 flying in the us now.

    400ls- beast mode. Higher delta p cabin low life limit on airframe. -14a/b has 3k tbo not sure if there are more than one or two options to even overhaul at this point and last I heard $$$$. Again lrc@390-410 can do the range not sure if it will with payload no actual experience with the frame other than window shopping. One of my employees was a test guy on the program back in the 80s attests to its performance.

    I think grand commander and 441 could be explored for this role, I’m not knowledgeable enough on turbo commander but think they are super neat!

    A Rvsm 441@350 will burn 340-360pph for 285-300knots with the -10n. 10340 gross takeoff weight w the stc. Empty us usually around 59-6400lbs. 600lbs the first hour 350 thereafter 6 hours 29-3000 pounds with reserve. Might just barely squeeze your pilots and cargo maybe with a light plane. Somewhat onerous sid program over 60 phases, half a dozen specialty shops. Might have to be careful with zfw as well can’t remember number off hand.
     
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  14. RKW

    RKW Filing Flight Plan

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    I'd bet that guy takes the first 150k thrown at him. throw 150k at opex/mx and throw it away when you're done. Might get you a cool jet for ~2 years.

    That said, i'd imagine getting typed in one right now isn't all that straightforward.
     
  15. j1b3h0

    j1b3h0 Line Up and Wait

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    Compared to almost any piston twin the utility and performance of the airplanes you cite are incredible. Merlins look cool and will do the mission, but sure is a tank to fly. Complicated airplane, if flown single-pilot, requires an experienced hand. Turbo Commanders with dash 10 engines are great, fun to fly, but I don’t if they would have the range. Everyone loves PT-6s, but 331s burn less fuel.
     
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  16. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    This thread reminds me of the day that I decided to buy a Huey. I’ll never regret being responsible for her stewardship but I don’t miss maintenance costs.

    but it was worth the hassle…
     
  17. Rokke214

    Rokke214 Pre-Flight

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    As a Cirrus owner I’d have to recommend the Merlin. Those damn things are tough.
     
  18. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Was it a public use model or did it have a restricted TC? Did you use it for spraying?
     
  19. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I flew the 400LS for a spell. It’s a pretty unique airplane. I believe they only built 44 of them.
     
  20. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff

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    I got a ride in one back when Piper was trying to sell one to my university - The deck angle on climb out was incredible.
     
  21. RKW

    RKW Filing Flight Plan

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    Wait. i want to read THAT thread.

    The place I fly out of has a former forward-control for fire ops two-engine, four-blade huey the guy that owns the hangar is restoring in "retirement"

    It's cool.
     
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  22. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Mu2 fits the bill. Single pilot, fast, can haul, mx and acquisition cost cheaper then a king air. More comfortable. Think it would meet your range requirements.
     
  23. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    We have a former MU2 owner on this forum. His insight on actual ownership cost would be insightful.
     
  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I saw this thread, and my first thought was "An MU-2 would not fit the bill."

    In the F model I flew for 500ish hours had about 3k lb useful load. With full fuel, that left you 1k lbs for pilots/cargo. I pretty much always took off with full fuel, and always at max gross since we were packed with dogs. Yes, MX and acquisition is cheaper than a KA. More comfortable? I would never make that claim. It's not a comfortable airplane at all for anyone with any height. I'm 6' and my instructor was about the same height. He said taller pilots developed the "MU-2 neck crink" which I absolutely did. Mitsubishi designed it for the average size Japanese, not America.

    Fast, yes. But the needs of cargo and range won't work. The later models had higher useful load and 406 (or 408? I forget, around that point) gallons of fuel. But they also have bigger, thirstier engines, although they have higher ceilings. All I did were long trips. Houston to Massachusetts was a common one, around 1300 nm straight line distance. With routing longest I had was 1400 nm. The plane could always make it with IFR reserves, assuming no alternate required. But it was not with any margin. 1600 nm? Only with very favorable tailwinds. Keep in mind I was always running it at the max efficiency profile, which I tweaked very precisely through my flying of it.

    400LS, Merlin IIIB, or Conquest 2 (C441) are the ones that come to my mind for fitting the bill. We had considered going to a Merlin IIIB briefly shutting down Cloud Nine. It would have fit our mission but definitely less support, higher costs, etc.