Piper Meridan Approved for Unpaved Runway Ops
Piper Aircraft used the Malibu/Meridian Owners & Pilots Association (MMOPA) Fly-in Convention, held last week in Hot Springs, Va., to officially announce the company’s receipt of fleet-wide approval for Piper Meridian single-engine turboprops to operate from unpaved runways. The company received the approval in late August. “The ability to land and depart from unpaved runways adds increased operating flexibility to an already outstanding aircraft through a change to the POH [pilot operating handbook] and without requiring any kind of airframe modifications,” said Randy Groom, Piper executive vice president. The approval allows the Meridian to operate from grass and dirt strips. Changes to the Meridian POH include the addition of required runway lengths for takeoff and landing from dry, grass runways. For takeoff, the baseline (paved) ground roll is 1,650 feet; for the unpaved (dry grass) operations, the ground roll is 1,980 feet. For landing, the baseline ground roll is 1,020 feet; for dry grass strips, the ground roll is 1,224 feet. Takeoff and landing ground rolls over a 50-foot obstacle are similarly longer for unpaved operations. Approval for unpaved operations was accomplished with extensive flight testing by Piper’s engineering team. There are nearly 500 Meridian operators, according to Piper, which is owned by Imprimis Strategic Investment. Imprimis is owned by the Government of Brunei.