Newly built Piper Meridian turboprops will be more “useful” than their predecessors after FAA approval of modifications that will increase useful load by 235 lb, a 15-percent increase, New Piper Aircraft announced at the NBAA show yesterday. The modifications, expected to be certified by the end of the year, consist of aerodynamic and structural changes.
The aerodynamic modifications, designed to increase the lifting capability of the Meridian, include adding vortex generators to the wings and underside of the horizontal stabilizer and making changes to the stall strips. The structural modifications involve strengthening the airframe in the wing area. These changes are extensive enough to preclude offering them as a retrofit, according to Chuck Suma, Piper’s president and CEO.
Max takeoff weight will also be increased, from 4,850 lb to 5,092 lb, but there will be no increase in price. New Piper is exhibiting in the static display (Space No. 5).