Piper Aircraft’s three new M-Class airplanes that were launched last week—the M350 piston and M500 and M600 turboprops—are making their public debut this week at the Sun ’n’ Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla. The company is displaying production copies of the M350 and M500 at its static display (MD-018C and-019B), while the M600 is being represented in mockup form since none of the three M600 prototypes could be sidelined from flight-testing, a Piper spokeswoman told AIN.
The M500, an upgraded Meridian with Garmin G1000 avionics and new interior, arrived in time to be displayed yesterday, the opening day of Sun ’n’ Fun. However, the appearance of the first production M350 was delayed until last night because weather earlier this week set back an FAA validation flight required before the airplane could be flown to the show. Meanwhile, the three M600s, which combined have logged about 800 hours during 470 flights, are engaged in FAA flight testing at Piper’s nearby Vero Beach, Fla. headquarters, precluding them from even performing a fly-by during the show. The M600 is expected to receive FAA certification in the fourth quarter.
In other news, the Piper Archer DX diesel piston single obtained its FAA approval last week, following an EASAnod last year. Piper Aircraft also announced an order yesterday at the show for three Piper Seminole piston twins from the UND Aerospace Foundation, which provides training and aircraft for the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. UND’s Seminoles will be delivered in July.