The race is on; the first manufacturer to certify, build and deliver a single-engine jet that offers reasonable performance and price might have the market to itself until Piper Aircraft’s PiperJet joins the fray in 2010. Unless Cirrus Design has far more up its sleeve than it has revealed thus far, it appears that Diamond will be first to market with its surprisingly roomy D-Jet.
Rocket Engineering of Spokane, Wash.–the company involved in the Piper Malibu JetProp DLX Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A conversion–is at it again. This time Rocket has been quietly working for the past two years on a P&WC PT6A-35-powered Beechcraft Duke BE60 conversion.
Now that Avidyne’s relationship with Eclipse Aviation has ended, the Massachusetts avionics supplier says it’s ready to move on to other projects. For the time being that means targeting the expanding retrofit cockpit market, specifically for aging King Airs where older analog instruments are being removed in favor of modern glass displays.
Piper Aircraft has announced 20th-anniversary models of its Malibu Mirage piston single and Malibu Meridian turboprop-single. Besides a commemorative logo and paint scheme, the milestone also includes some special pricing packages. The original piston-powered Malibu first hit the market in 1984 as Piper’s first pressurized, cabin-class single.
JETPROP CONVERSION OF PIPER PA-46-310P MALIBU, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., AUG. 31, 2003–Trailing a whitish vapor from the left wing, according to a witness, the JetProp Malibu conversion was returning to the Hilton Head Airport for an emergency landing when it hit trees and caught fire. The left inboard fuel cap was missing from the filler port and was found in the grass beside the runway.
The Piper Meridian turboprop single will soon receive a production-line upgrade to Avidyne’s Entegra cockpit as a replacement for the airplane’s original Meggitt avionics, the Vero Beach, Fla.-based airplane manufacturer announced last month. The flight-deck change for the Meridian puts Avidyne aboard almost the entire Piper line-up after the lightplane maker earlier brought optional glass Entegra systems to several of its piston models.
Early last month Piper delivered the 200th Malibu Meridian since the turboprop single entered service in November 2000. Piper also announced that a three-screen Avidyne FlightMax Entegra will become the standard avionics system on the Meridian.
Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, North Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 23, 2003–Piper Arrow N8604N was landing on Runway 12R at North Las Vegas Airport and Mirage N146PM (with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-35 turboprop conversion) had started the takeoff roll on Runway 7 when they collided at the intersection of the two runways.
While buyers will undoubtedly welcome the switch in the Piper Meridian from previous Meggitt Magic avionics to the more capable Avidyne Entegra system, an unintended side effect of the supplier change could turn out to be the fits of jealousy it causes among current Meridian owners.
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