The FAA awarded type certification for the M600 turboprop single during a ceremony last Friday at Piper’s headquarters in Vero Beach, Fla. In attendance were 700 guests, among them Piper employees, dealers and suppliers and local community leaders. FAA ODA administrator Eric Wright presented the type certificate to Piper Aircraft president and CEO Simon Caldecott.
The $2.853 million M600 is a more powerful and redesigned version of the M500 with Garmin G3000 touchscreen-controlled avionics. Both share the same Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-42A engine, but the M600’s is flat-rated to 600 shp, up from the M500’s 500 shp. The boost in power provides a significant increase in performance, and the M600’s final performance numbers showed improvements from the originally projected figures. Three flight-test M600s logged more than 1,850 hours in the test campaign. First delivery is scheduled for next month, although flight-into-known-icing certification remains pending and is expected in December.
According to Piper, the M600’s maximum range (NBAA IFR) is now 1,484 nm (at intermediate power settings), up from the projected 1,200 nm (and 1,000 nm for the M500), and max cruise speed climbed to 274 ktas from the M500's 260 ktas. The M600’s mtow is 6,000 pounds, up from the M500’s 5,092 pounds, and this helps accommodate the M600's greater fuel capacity: 260 gallons versus 170 gallons in the M500. The M600’s standard equipped weight is a little more than 200 pounds higher than the M500's. Full-fuel payload for the M600 is 645 pounds compared to 550 for the M500, and the M600’s larger fuel capacity allows more loading flexibility, especially when flying a trip distance equal to the M500’s maximum range.
The G3000 flight deck in the M600 features two GTC 570 touchscreen controllers mounted just below the center MFD and forward of the throttle console. The avionics in the M600 are a major upgrade from the G500’s G1000 suite and add 60/40 split-window capability on the PFDs, which allows display of synthetic vision in one 60-percent pane and a chart or other information in the 40-percent pane. The G3000 package also adds the enhanced map HSI feature, which allows overlay of information on the HSI such as map, SafeTaxi, flight plan, Metars, Nexrad, weather radar and more. Other avionics features include emergency descent mode, electronic stability protection, level mode button and underspeed/overspeed protection. An Aspen Evolution backup display is mounted to the left of the pilot’s PFD.
The M600’s seats have been redesigned for more comfort, and passenger side panels improved with a new passenger interface, according to Piper. Other interior features include USB charging ports, folding executive tables and folding seats.
"We are delighted to announce the certification of the M600 by the FAA,” said Caldecott. "With unique and innovative safety features for the single-engine turboprop segment, the competitiveness of the M600 is further enhanced by the aircraft's performance and industry-leading operating and acquisition costs.”