LABACE Convention News

Piper’s 'M-Class' Flagship Makes LABACE Debut

 - August 15, 2018, 11:43 AM
The M600 is the flagship of Piper’s “M-Class,” the new branding for the PA-46 Malibu family. (Photo: David McIntosh)

Making its first appearance in Brazil is Piper’s sleek M600 six-seat turboprop single. Local dealer J.P. Martins Aviação is hoping to conclude the first sale in the country during the show and reports significant interest in the aircraft.

Much of that interest is coming from the agricultural business, which needs fast, efficient, and reliable transport links between farms, cities, and regional airports. Piper has yet to certify the M600 for unimproved runway operations from grass and sand surfaces, but that approval is expected before the end of the year, which will make the job of selling the M600 into the “agro” sector that much easier.

The M600 is the flagship of Piper’s “M-Class,” the new branding for the PA-46 Malibu family. The current offerings are the M350 powered by a 350-hp Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A piston engine, M500 with a 500-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A turboprop, and the M600 with a PT6A-42A rated at 600 shp.

With an all-new wing design and its extra power, the M600 can cruise at up to 274 knots, and its additional internal fuel compared with the M500 raises the M600’s range to 1,658 nm. The pressurized cabin provides for comfortable flight at a maximum approved altitude of 30,000 feet. The Garmin G3000 avionics include a three-screen flight deck with touchscreen control, and the aircraft is fitted with a GWX 75 ten-inch weather radar as standard. A bi-folding airstair door leads to a four-seat club-style cabin.

J.P. Martins is optimistic about M600 sales in Brazil, as the preceding M500 turboprop single has been popular in the country since it received ANAC certification as the Malibu Meridian in 2010. The company has sold seven already this year. Sales of the M350 continue but have been dented by the high price of fuel for its piston engine.

Initially priced at $2.853 million, the M600 represents an attractive proposition for existing PA-46 owners and operators and those looking to replace small twins or to move up-market from smaller singles. Piper has pitched the aircraft as a more expensive, yet higher-performing, alternative to the M500 but smaller than the Daher TBM series, for which J.P. Martins is also the Brazilian agent. The M600 received FAA approval in June 2016, with Brazil's ANAC granting Brazilian type approval in January 2017.