Buying A Used Aircraft: Meyers 200

A classic four-placer that easily runs with anything in its class.


When it comes to piston singles, it’s not often that the words classic and speedster are used in the same sentence, but it’s true of the Meyers 200 series. A design dating back to 1953, the Meyers won speed records as bragging rights. There are plenty of reasons why owners love their Meyers 200s—speed being only one of them. But these are old airplanes, and potential buyers need to understand this could mean intensive maintenance for models that may have fallen behind the maintenance curve.

Meyers 200 History: Slow Growth, Fast Speed

Production of the 200, which originally morphed from the taildragging Model 145, started with the 1959 model year. At the time, there were a few direct competitors, including Piper’s Comanche 250 and the Beech Debonair and Bonanza. The Meyers was considerably more expensive than either the Comanche or the Debonair, and cost almost as much as the V-tail Bonanza while offering less load-carrying ability. Performance was on a par with the V-tail Bonanza: 170-knot cruise speeds and 1150 FPM climb rates, but only a total of 11 were built.

The 200B came along in 1961 and there were minor changes, including incorporating a different fuel system (a mere 40 gallons was standard, 80 optional) and an improved instrument panel. Empty weight went up to 1975 pounds, though the gross remained at 3000. Some 17 B models were produced. The C model, introduced for the 1963 model year, got more tweaks: a higher cabin roof, larger windshield and better interior. Only nine C models came out of the factory. But much more significant enhancements arrived with the 200D in 1965. The wings got flush rivets, and the IO-470-D was replaced by a Continental IO-520-A of 285 HP. The D model’s aerodynamic changes boosted the cruise speed significantly, to 183 knots, while the stall (dirty) dropped to only 47 knots. Takeoff roll and 50-foot obstacle clearance numbers also improved.

Financial trouble took its toll and the design was sold to Aero Commander (later known as Rockwell Commander), which was a solid second-tier manufacturer at the time. Production run of 69 planes was achieved for the 1966 model year. Aero Commander also developed a six-seat, swept-tail E model and flew a prototype, but never certified it. The rights to the airplane were acquired by Interceptor Corporation, which certified a turboprop version around 1971 and called it the Interceptor 400. Only two of them were built. One survived two accidents—a ditching off the coast of California and a crash into trees on short final. Both were from engine flameouts. No one was hurt in the accidents, but the aircraft was later destroyed in a hangar fire. Several attempts have been made to resurrect the design (including the piston version), but for one reason or another none were successful. 

Meyers 200 Construction, Systems

The retractable-gear Meyers is well built, and at the heart of the airplane’s design and reputation are welded, 4130 chrome-alloy steel tubes forming the fuselage and center section. The structure runs from the firewall to the rear fuselage bulkhead and three feet out into the wings, where it supports the main landing gear assemblies. The rear fuselage section is of semi-monocoque design and construction. The landing gear and Fowler-type flaps are hydraulically actuated, and the flight controls incorporate push-pull tubes. There are two emergency gear-extension systems: a hand pump to supply hydraulic pressure and an uplock release mechanism. If the hand pump doesn’t work, the pilot releases the locks and slips the airplane, allowing aerodynamic loads to shove the gear down. The nosewheel is the same size as the main wheels, a design that makes the Meyers 200 a player for reasonably rough unimproved strips.

Fuel is carried in two main tanks and two auxiliaries. Each holds 20 gallons for a total usable capacity of 74 gallons. There’s only one fuel gauge, and it only reads the tank in use, so there’s no way to tell how much fuel is in one of the other tanks without actually selecting it. One way to solve the issue is with a fuel totalizer or even better, a big-screen engine monitor with fuel quantity display as many owners have installed as part of major avionics upgrades. Glass upgrades are common and modern PFDs and MFDs fit well. Once seated in the cockpit, inflight visibility is just about as good as it gets—forward and aft. Need to carry a lot of stuff? This probably isn’t the plane for you, but there’s a workaround, sort of. The passenger seat and the two rear seats can be removed quickly to accommodate cargo. There’s also a large baggage hatch on the right side of the fuselage. But the airplane cannot haul much—legally, that is.

Meyers 200: How Fast?

Speed gains came gradually and the early IO-470-D engine was replaced by a 285-HP Continental IO-520-A. The D model’s aerodynamic changes boosted the cruise speed significantly, to 183 knots, while the stall (dirty) dropped to only 47 knots. Takeoff roll and 50-foot obstacle clearance numbers also improved. Maximum cruise speed of the original models is an honest 170 knots—as fast as the V-tail Bonanzas produced during the same period, and nearly 10 knots faster than a contemporary Cessna 210 Centurion. Not fast enough? With its bigger engine and flush-riveted wings, the 200D is even faster—plan on 183 knots at max cruise. This is a bit faster than S- and V-35 Bonanzas and a whole lot (10 knots) faster than D- through G-model Cessna 210s. Never-exceed speed of the 200A is 208 MPH, and its maximum structural cruising speed is 165 MPH. Starting with the B model, these limits were raised to 236 MPH and 210 MPH, respectively. Thanks to relatively high gear- and flap-extension speeds, the slippery Meyers 200 can easily mix with traffic in the pattern. 

Care, Feeding, Safety

Remarkably, there have been no ADs on the airframe structure. The only two Meyers 200-specific ADs are old, one-time directives dealing with systems: 66-28-1 called for modification of the elevator trim, and 67-23-1 mandated inspection of the landing gear rigging. We highly doubt there are any instances of non-compliance with these directives. In all, there are only 31 ADs applicable to the Meyers 200—a low figure for a 40-year-old design. Given the small number of airplanes in existence, it’s not surprising that there have been almost no service difficulties reported on the Meyers 200.

A scan of the NTSB wreck reports left us pleasantly surprised at how few there were for the Meyers. We went back 35 years and located a total of 20 accidents. On top of that, we didn’t see much of the usual stuff we expect to see. No one forgot the landing gear on landing. No one lost control on landing rollout in a crosswind. No one flew VFR into IMC. No one went below minimums on an instrument approach and hit terrain. While there are not enough accidents for any sort of a statistical universe, we did see two trends worth noting—misuse of the fuel system and lack of maintenance. 

A look at the aux gear handle and fuel selector in a Meyers 200B.

Current Market

Hands down the best resource when buying and owning a Meyers is the Meyers Aircraft Owners Association at It has an active forum (covering all Meyers models), a search engine for parts and services and a news section for fly-ins, events and general happenings in the Meyers community.

And as you would expect in the current market, prices for well-cared-for and nicely upgraded Meyers models are premium priced—close to if not north of $100,000 for later models with good avionics and low-time engines. Mods increase values substantially. In earlier models, you can swap the IO-470 engine for an IO-520A, bringing them up to a D configuration. Some have fitted the Continental IO-550 and three-blade prop—a real screamer. A modified nosebowl with an extended profile and smaller air inlets is also available. 

Avionics and instrument panel upgrades are hugely popular, of course, and some of these airplanes still have old autopilots in various conditions. If an autopilot is important to you (and in an airplane as high-performance as the Meyers 200 we think it should be), pay close attention to it during the prepurchase eval. 

For more on the Meyers series and how these airplanes compare to others in class, read the full report in the Used Aircraft Guide at sister publication Aviation Consumer magazine.

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Larry Anglisano is a regular AVweb contributor and the Editor in Chief of sister publication Aviation Consumer magazine. He's an active land, sea and glider pilot, and has over 30 years experience as an avionics tech.

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  1. Back in the 1970s a friend owned a 200D and I rented it from him several times. As I recall, it would true out at 210 mph at 7,000-8,000 feet. Gear and flaps down it would drop like a (good) rock, so quite easy to fly a close-in pattern. My last time with it was when the fuel pressure dropped to zero when I has taxiing for takeoff. The fuel pressure “fixed itself” but I definitely didn’t fly it that day, or any other day after the owner’s mechanic didn’t find anything wrong.

  2. I don’t know what the AD on the pitch trim system was about but I know the system and lack of maintenance on it almost killed me on my one and only flight in a 200D back in the 70’s. It’s an involved and interesting story that I should probably write about but it comes down to “but by the grace of God go I.” I still love the looks of the airplane.

  3. Had to chuckle when reading this (near the beginning).
    “Performance was on a par with the V-tail Bonanza: 170-knot cruise speeds and 1150 FPM climb rates, – – – .”
    Having owned & flown numerous V-tailed Bonanzas back then, none came anywhere close to those reported performance numbers (but we all wished)

  4. I was one of the two pilots who rode N71LB to her final landing. You are correct that it was a flameout that caused the crash. We had returned from a flight to the East Coast trying to sell the aircraft. We dropped the owner off in Greenville, Mi from the failed attempt. When he got out he must have kicked the baggage door lock because on takeoff it began to flap open and closed. The PIC, I was a passenger, opted to put the aircraft in a slip to hold the door closed. As we turned about a 2 mile final at KGRR the engine flamed out as we turned on to the final approach. Neither of us were prepared for the wild ride that Negative Torque Sensing produced. I can only describe it like being tied to the end of a whip. The prop governor would increase it’s oil pressure as the feathering prop spun faster. Then as the pressure increased the prop would flatten out for normal flight. It was like hitting a brick wall and whiplash as the prop cycled back and forth. I was instructed by the PIC to feather the prop if I could. The pitching of the nose of the aircraft was so extreme that he could not leave go of yoke to pull the feather button. Once the engine was feathered, control of the aircraft returned to normal. Something I never noticed before in the state of Michigan was the practice of wind rowing fields. Trees are planted on the parameter of the field to help protect the top soil from blowing off. This is a great practice for farming, however, not so good when you are crash landing in that field. Fortunately, the PIC got the aircraft lined up on a diagonal line from two opposite corners of the field. The impact immediately took the gear off of the aircraft and opened the bottom of one of the two wing fuel tanks. Just as we were a couple hundred feet from impacting the wind row trees the left wing dug in and we did about a 180 degree turn on the ground. We both exited the aircraft, walked up to a house that was at the end of the field and started making phone calls to notify the authorities.

    The Interceptor 400, in my opinion, had a design flaw. It could only feed out of one wing at a time. There was no interconnect that allowed feeding fuel out of the fullest wing in a turn. I was told by the PIC later that fuel starvation was the reason why the engine flamed out. I suspect that the turn to final, the slip on the aircraft, and the design flaw were the cause of this final crash and it’s first one too. I was told that when N71LB crashed the first time that the pilot was flying along the beach in California when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean. As the story was told the pilot had begun circling just before the flameout happened.

    I flew the aircraft as a FAR 135 charter aircraft that flew canceled check and blood tests to Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was fun having controllers think that I was a KingAir because of the speed and altitude that I flew at. The aircraft had some particular quirks. First was P-Factor on take off. If you had a crosswind from the right the question was always which would come first Rudder effectiveness or the left hand edge of the runway. The aircraft also had a tendency to sit on it’s tail while loading. It was best to have someone in the pilot’s seat before loading luggage or aft passengers as a precaution.

    I always had the feeling that this airplane was going to hurt someone someday. In fact it was one of the biggest reasons why I left the employment of this charter operator. It did teach me that you really do not have a right to fly an aircraft that you do not know the systems on. Because the Factory had gone bankrupt there were no resources for information about the aircraft. The only training I got was on the Garrett engine from their training department. Thank God that just opening the operators manual and trying to absorb as much as you can are gone for ever with good reason. As I attended Flight Safety and an Airline training the training diagrams, boards, and devices helped bury system operations so you could analyze what could be the potential problem. This knowledge made me a better pilot because if I could not figure it out I knew who to call to help me with the issue.

    Sadly, back in 1995 I had that proverbial Elephant sit on my chest at 2 AM and as they say, “The rest is history!”

    Thanks for letting me the “rest of the story!”