by Dave Weiman & Mick Kaufman
Published in Midwest Flyer – Oct/Nov 2016
APPLETON, WIS. – Piper Aircraft’s newest flagship, the single-engine turboprop M600, was type certified in June 2016. The aircraft was featured at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in July, when we had the opportunity to take it on a demonstration flight to see firsthand why the M600 is a step up from the M500.
The demonstration flight took place at Platinum Flight Center, Appleton International Airport, Appleton, Wisconsin, which is a reliever airport for Wittman Regional Airport during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
We flew with Piper test pilot, Craig Masters, in conforming aircraft #3, which is the last test aircraft flown before the aircraft was certified. Masters is a graduate from Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Fla. He gave us a thorough preflight briefing, pointing out some of the unique features of the M600, like the “clean sheet” wing design, and the tail, fuselage and engine mount that have been beefed up. Another unique feature of the M600 is a “turning vane” on the tail to help in spin recovery.
Masters said that Piper had to perform 1,000 spins during flight-testing to prove that the aircraft could recover satisfactory. There are thousands of other test points involved in getting an aircraft certified. Spin testing is just one of them.
Boarding the M600 is a breeze, and passenger comfort is superb. It does take a little getting used to climbing into the cockpit, because the M series is built for speed.
The aircraft features the Garmin G3000 – the most sophisticated general aviation avionics suite available from Garmin, along with dual Garmin GTC 570 touch screen controllers. Once this technology is mastered, flying the M600 is a piece of cake!
The M600 seats six and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A turbo prop engine flat rated at 600 shp.
The M600’s maximum range, originally expected to be 1200 nm with NBAA IFR reserves and 260 gallons of useable fuel, has been increased to 1,484 nm. Additionally, the planned maximum cruise speed objective of 260 ktas has been extended to 274 ktas. The M600 also boasts a max payload of 1,120 lbs, and weighs less than anticipated at 3730 lbs empty, and 6000 lbs for maximum takeoff.
The M600 is perfect for a family plane, or small to medium size corporation, and can be the perfect complement to any large corporate flight department with jets.
The closest competitor of the M600 is the TBM 900, which costs approximately $1 million more than the M600. The M600 is also competing with the Cessna Citation Mustang market. Masters says that Cirrus and Beechcraft Baron owners will look at the M600 as a step up.
So how does the M600 handle? Very smooth! We flew right seat from Appleton to Clintonville, Wisconsin to practice our landings. No need to climb to its maximum ceiling of 30,000 feet for the demo flight.
We made our approaches at 110 kts with approach flaps, and over the fence at 85 kts with full flaps. The landing distance over a 50 ft. obstacle is 2125 feet. The rate of climb at sea level is 1539 fpm.
The M600 has enhanced safety features including Emergency Descent Mode, Electronic Stability Protection, Level Mode and Underspeed/Overspeed Protection.
A unique feature of the autopilot is a “Jesus Button” that will command the autopilot to engage and return the aircraft to level flight if steep banks or excessive pitch is detected for more than a few seconds.
Additional standard equipment includes Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI), PiperAire air conditioning, yaw damper system (integrated with GFC 700), hardwired cockpit Bose A20 Headsets, and six USB charging ports (two cockpit, four cabin). The aircraft comes with a 5-year warranty on the avionics, and 7-year/2500-hour warranty on the powerplant. The 2016 M600 is listed at $2.853 million.
The aesthetics, ergonomics and technologies of the new Piper M600 features newly styled seats, which have been optimized for comfort, as well as enhanced side panels with improved passenger interface. Additionally, three new color palettes have been created with the customer in mind. Some of the M600’s features most appreciated by customers include USB charging ports, executive folding tables, and folding seats.
Piper Aircraft is ramping up to build one M600 every week, and every aircraft has been presold for the next year.
The single-engine M-Class series – the M600, M500, M350 and Matrix – offers businesses and individuals elegant performance and value. The Twin Class Seneca V and Seminole balance proven performance, efficiency and simplicity in twin-engine aircraft. The Trainer Class Warrior, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, Seminole and Seneca V form the most complete technically-advanced line of pilot training aircraft in the world. All Piper airplanes feature advanced Garmin avionics.
Service and support is offered through a network of 38 dealers and nearly 100 service centers worldwide. Des Moines Flying Service and Chicago Piper serve customers in the Midwest. For additional information, and sales and service call 800-622-8311. For parts call 800-247-2560.
Piper Aircraft Inc. is headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla. Simon Caldecott, President and CEO (www.dmfs.com).