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Air Midwest Fairchild Swearington SA226-TC Metro II


Model ID#:





Metro II







Air Midwest

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1979

SKU: Model-0537 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner (previously the Swearingen Metro) is a 19-seat, pressurized, twin-turboprop airliner first produced by Swearingen Aircraft and later by Fairchild Aircraft at a plant in San Antonio, Texas. Prototype construction of the Metro began in 1968 and the first flight was on August 26, 1969. Swearingen Aircraft encountered financial difficulties at this stage, and late in 1971 Fairchild (which was marketing the Metro and building its wings and engine nacelles), bought 90% of Swearingen and the company was renamed Swearingen Aviation Corporation. At this point, the previously cash-strapped company was able to put the Metro into production.

In 1974, the original Metro models were replaced by the SA226-TC Metro II after about 20 Metros and about 30 Merlin IVAs had been built. Among the changes made were larger, squared-oval windows and an optional small Rocket-Assisted Take Off (RATO) rocket in the tail cone. Metro production ended in 1998 and by this time regional jets were in vogue and turboprops were out of favor with the airlines.

Air Midwest was a commuter airline founded in 1965 and based in Wichita, Kansas. The carrier had a route network primarily linking small communities throughout the state of Kansas to hubs at Denver, Kansas City, and Wichita, using a fleet of 17-passenger Swearingen Metro II aircraft. On March 1, 1979 Air Midwest created a new operation in New Mexico by taking over the former routes of Texas International Airlines from Albuquerque to Clovis, Carlsbad, Hobbs, and Roswell.

The Albuquerque hub thrived for several years reaching a peak of 18 departures per day by 1984 but then intense competition from Mesa Airlines forced Air Midwest to scale back and ultimately discontinue their entire New Mexico operation on January 31, 1986. Air Midwest was bought out by Mesa Airlines in 1991 and its fleet of Metroliner’s was transitioned to Mesa’s standard 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft. Due to a decline in commuter airline traffic during the 2000’s decade, Mesa/Air Midwest scaled back their independent operations in New Mexico until all routes from Albuquerque were discontinued by the last day of 2007. All service ended by May 30, 2008 at which time Mesa/Air Midwest was shut down.

Air Midwest used this Fairchild Swearingen Metro II, N-227-AM to begin its service from the Albuquerque Sunport to Kansas on March 1, 1979.