TP 88 - Fairchild Metro III/Merlin IV C (1984-) 

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Swedish Air Force Transport Aircraft TP 88A Fairchild Metro


The Fairchild (Swearingen) Metro have been one of the most sold commuter aircraft in the class up to 20 seats.  The aircraft had the advantage to be faster than many of its competitors and to be one of the first designs in its class with pressurized cabin. The large rear door made the aircraft also well suited for cargo operators. 

The first prototype of the Metro flew in August of 1969 and the latest version of the aircraft, the Metro 23, which has a higher take off weight, received certification in 1991. The Swedish Air Force has operated three Metros in two different variants: Two of the type Metro III and one of its successor, the Merlin IV C. The Air Force designation was TP 88

The first Metro was leased in the fall of 1984 to serve as a VIP-transport aircraft. The aircraft was often used by the Royal Family. It was painted in the smart blue and white VIP colour scheme. The full designation of this aircraft was TP 88A. It got the Air Force number 88001.  When the leasing contract expired in 1986, the 88002 was replaced by a Merlin IV C, (TP 88B, #88002) this time bought  by the Air Force. The aircraft had earlier been owned by the domestic airline Skyways and had carried the civil registration SE-IRM. It became painted as the 88001 and was also used or VIP-transports, including passengers from the State, the Royal Court and the Air Force. 

In October 1987, a third TP 88, also of the variant Metro III, was bought (official designation TP 88C, SwAF/n 88003). This aircraft was acquired as a flying testbed for the evaluation  of the airborne early-warning radar FSR-890 Eri-Eye. This aircraft was painted in the ”Viggen” camouflage scheme. Besides of the tests with the Eri-Eye, 88003 was used as an ordinary  transport aircraft. The Eri-Eye is now operated together with six SAAB 340B (S 100B) aircraft. 

The TP 88 was powered with two Garret TPE-331 turbo-prop engines, each of 1.000 hp.   

Photo at top: TP 88B (# 88002) at Ljungbyhed May 1988. Photo: Lars. E. Lundin, Västervik,

Photo below: TP 88C (# 88003) at Ljungbyhed August 1996. Also this photo by Lars E. Lundin.

Photo at bottom: TP 88A (# 88001), model exhibited at Flygvapenmuseum.

Length: 18,09 m. Span: 17,37 m. MTOW 6.600 kg. Max. speed: 475 km/h.



For the Model Builder

The Czech model maker RVHP has produced a resin model kit of this TP 88C in scale 1:72. Some parts are of white metal. Catalouge number is 72141.

Swedish Air Force Transport Aircraft TP 88A Fairchild Metro
Swedish Air Force Transport Aircraft TP 88A Fairchild Metro

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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-03-22