Piper rolls out improved M-Class aircraft

On opening day of the NBAA convention in Las Vegas, Piper Aircraft unveiled design enhancements for its signature series of 2012 M-Class single engine business aircraft, including the turboprop Meridian, pressurized piston Mirage, and unpressurized piston Matrix (pictured below).

The biggest design changes have enhanced pilot comfort and cockpit access through incorporation of newly designed seating, company officials said. Getting into a new Piper M-Class cockpit has never been easier, with flat fold-down aft-facing seats, a fold-down co-pilot seat, and a cockpit assist handle to aid access, officials said.

The cockpit has been sculpted to provide more elbow and hip room and additional seating comfort. The newly designed side panels have larger map pockets capable of handling iPads, which are quickly becoming essential flight tools.

Piper Matrix When folded flat, the co-pilot seat offers a work surface and cup holders. The cockpit seat backs also are restyled for a modern appearance. The aft-facing seats have been redesigned with larger and reshaped bottom cushions, and the back cushions have been enhanced for firmer lumbar support, all for added long-range comfort, according to company officials.

“All three of Piper’s M-Class airplanes are eligible for bonus depreciation when firm orders and deposits are placed before Dec. 31, 2011,” said Piper Executive Vice President Randy Groom.

New 2012 top-of-the-line Piper M-Class airplanes fly with brighter external LED lighting, including taxi and landing lights and navigation illumination, he added. Cabin reading lights and threshold lights have also been replaced with LEDs.

In the cockpit and cabin, Bose A20 headsets are now standard equipment and the receptacles are hardwired for more power and better noise-cancelling capability while eliminating the need for batteries, company officials said.

The turboprop Meridian now has two 110-volt outlets for onboard recharging and for mobile devices, while the Mirage and Matrix have one additional outlet. All are configured to support numerous international plug configurations. Utilizing the EmPower System by Astronics Corp., Piper has added cabin power to support passenger electronic devices for additional productivity and entertainment value.

Piper also has revamped internal air distribution. The Matrix and Mirage cockpits have newly engineered ducting and adjustable directional air flow vents for improved heated air volume distribution. In the unpressurized Matrix, a shutoff has been added to the modulation valve for cockpit control of ambient external air. The piston Matrix and Mirage aircraft also have beefed up cabin vents for more durability.

The Piper Meridian is a single engine turboprop that seats six with club-seating. It is powered by the P&WC PT6A-42A 500 shp engine and has a 260 KTAS max cruise speed and a range of 1,000 nm. The standard equipped list price is $2,071,500, equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite.

The Piper Mirage is a single engine pressurized piston that seats six with club seating. It is powered by the Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350hp engine and has a 213 KTAS max cruise speed and a range of 1,343 nm. The standard equipped list price is $997,500, equipped with the Garmin 1000 avionics suite.

The Matrix is a single engine unpressurized piston that seats six with club seating. It is powered by the Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350hp engine and has a 213 KTAS max cruise speed and a range of 1,343 nm. The standard equipped list price is $869,000, equipped with the Garmin 1000 avionics suite.

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