Beech-SFERMA PD-146 Marquis

Development of the Marquis began when SFERMA (Societe Franqaise d’Entretien and de Reparation de Materiel Aeronautique) modified a Beechcraft Travel Air to take two 450hp Turbomeca Astazou IIJ turbines driving Ratier-Figeac three-blade metal variable-pitch propellers, in place of the original 180hp Lycoming piston engines. The prototype of the re-engined aircraft (No.1, registered F-WHC) flew for the first time on 12 July 1960 with Jacques Lecarme at the controls, and was then known as the Turbo-Travel Air. Subsequendy it was fitted with completely new and larger tail surfaces, based on those of the Beechcraft Baron, and renamed the Marquis.

SFERMA assembled Baron airframes supplied by Beechcraft and modified them to Marquis standard. Following receipt of a Certificate of Airworthiness, the first production delivery (No.4, registration D-ILFA) was made to Travelair GmbH of Bremen on 23 July 1962, this aircraft being destroyed on 8 November 1962. Aircraft No.9 was sent to the United States, where Type Certification was granted on 6 March 1963.

After a first batch of ten production aircraft, a second batch of 25 aircraft was ordered into production but due to a lack of customers and the emergence of the King Air, the production ceased with aircraft No. 18 (No. 19 remained unfinished). Two aircraft (No.2 and 10) were eventually equipped with 741 shp Astazou XII and then 921 shp Astazou XIVs. The last flying aircraft (No. 10, F-BLLP) was withdrawn from use in 1987.

PD.146 Marquis Specifications

Two 450shp Turbomeca Astazou IIJ.

Length 27ft 6in (8.39m) and height 10ft 8in (3.26m).

Empty weight 4,762lb (2,160kg); maximum take-off weight 6,000lb (2,725kg); wing loading 30.1 llb/sq ft (147kg/sq m); power loading 6.67lb/hp (3.03kg/hp).

Maximum speed 288mph (463km/h) at sea level; maximum cruising speed 286mph (460km/h); rate of climb 3,150ft/min (960m/ min) at sea level; service ceiling 32,800ft (10,000m); maximum range 1,180 miles (1,900km).