Merlin 300 vs King Air 200

I am looking at a Merlin 300 and a King Air B200.
Can anyone tell me which would be the better choice.
The Merlin has 0 TSOH and the KAB200 has about 1000 hours left before overhaul. Avionics similar.

What is the typical mission your looking to fulfill with this aircraft? Which one is better suited would really depend on that.

Our typical flight would be 350 nm with 2-4 PAX and luggage including golf clubs. Approx. 4-8 fights 700-1000 nm per year. Total hours per year approx. 350.

Thanks or you input.

With that mission profile either aircraft will do the job.

The Merlin 300 was the last version of the Merlin series built before the line was shut down in 1986. It’s a fine aircraft with a wide operational envelope. It is faster than the B200, cruising around 290kts, and has substancially more range than the B200, around 2,300 miles. The Merlin burns less fuel per hour than the King Air and has better pressurization with a max diff of 7.0 and has a larger cabin and more baggage space. On our Merlin III we regularly put 4-5 sets of golf clubs in the nose compartment alone, it almost seems to be designed specifically for golf bags.
The Garrett 331’s on the Merlin are cheaper to overhaul and the P&W -42’s on the King Air, and with the 331’s TBO of 5,400 hrs vrs. the King Air’s 3,600 hours the per hour engine reserve is substancially less.

Now the downsides of the Merlin. Fairchild increased the MTOW on the Merlin IIIC and Merlin 300 to accomodate the increased empty weight that was packed on as the Merlin evolved. The earlier models had an empty weight that was 600-700 lbs lighter. Due to this increased MTOW the Merlin 300 requires a type rating where the King Air does not. While parts are easily available for both aircraft (King Air parts are more expensive), it is much easier to find a qualified shop for the King Air than it is for the Merlin. If I knew where you were based I could tell you the closest facility. Furthermore, the Merlin is not exactly what you would call a “short field” aircraft. If your missions involve shorter (less than 4,000ft.) or poor quality runways the King Air is by far the better choice.

The B200 is one of the rare aircraft that may not lead the pack in any one catagory but it does EVERYTHING well. They have been a pillar in the Pt.135 charter business for years because of their reliability, versatility, and their servicability. You can get it worked on just about anywhere and they are incredibly docile and easy to fly.

Downsides of the B200 are the shorter TBO coupled with more expensive overhauls. While they are reliable and have a stellar dispatch rate, they are still very expensive to maintain. There are a large number of life limited components and calender or time predicated inspections to comply with that can be pretty spendy that simply don’t exist with the Merlin. And lastly (and most obvious) the price of admission for a decent B200 is almost double what you can get a good Merlin for.

In closing, both aircraft will do the job for you. The Merlin will fly faster, farther, has a bigger cabin, and will burn less fuel than the King Air. It is much cheaper to buy and cheaper to own but it has eccentric needs. The Merlin needs a maintenance shop that understands the aircraft or you are going to spend a lot of money financing someones learning curve, and that is never a fun proposition. But if it works in your situation and there is support near by the Merlin is a hell of a bang for the buck.
If it doesn’t work for you than go with the King Air all the way. It’s a damn fine aircraft as well.

If there are any other questions you can send me a message and I will send you our info. We have 25+ years of experience with Merlin series aircraft.

If golf clubs are a regular part of your cargo in a 200, be sure to get one with the Raisbeck wing locker mod. It’s tough to fit a lot of clubs and bags without this feature.

I agree about the raisbeck mods, they all do something to improve an already good airplane. I don’t want to sound like I work for them because I don’t but I have flown a B200 with a couple of the mods and they are well built and do what they advertise. btbaker is right, golf clubs plus regular luggage will pretty much plug up the baggage area in the 200.
The B200 with the -42 engines is a nice improvement over the early models.

John in Saudi

Wait until you try a B200 with the -52’s; 300 true @ 270!!!

Sounds like a modern 300!

except it does not have the 5500# useful load…

true, that is the one shortcoming of the 200.

The -52 will true at 300 but burn more than a 350 doing it. Like about 340 lbs/hr a side versus a 350 typically we set around 300 to 320 lbs/hr per side. The -52 will give better high altitude performance and burn about the same as any 200 like say 260 per side at 28000 ft. The fuel burn is the pitfall to the -52 engine if you let it be. Also be careful of the interior as the basic weight can eat your lunch. Our 200 GT has nice interior but weighs 9300 with pilots. That doesn’t allow a full load of fuel with two pilots. A lighter interior package would help a bit.

tailwheelman: do you still have the 300?

What is the empty weight?

Can I contact you for more info?

I sent you a private message with my info. I’d be glad to help you out if you have questions.



Howe do I check PMs on FlightAware?

Sorry to be so dense.


Look at the top left corner of the page your currently reading this on and just below “Flightaware” it should say “1 New Message”. Click on that.

Upper left corner of the discussion page, just above the “View unanswered posts” there should be a grayish link which says “1 new messages”. Click on that and it will provide you access to your Private messages.

Hello, My name is Vincenzo, I have been reading about experience you have on Merlin IIIC, I am also deciding on a B200 or Merlin and would like to have your updated opinion,