While cars are the primary form of personal transportation here at Pursuitist Autos, we’ve spent more than a few hours at the controls of a wide range of private planes, which is why we were excited to hear from American aircraft manufacturer, Piper about a new line of luxury airplanes they launched today.
Building on the success of their proven Matrix and Meridien airframes, Piper has launched the M-Class, a comprehensive line of single-engine, business-class personal aircraft that offer more performance, range, efficiency, comfort and safety than ever before. The M350, M500 and M600 feature major updates to avionics and electronics as well as new wing and interior designs.
“We saw an opportunity to give our customers the latest advancements in proven avionics technology for safety, efficiency, and performance, among other upgrades,” said Simon Caldecott, Piper President and CEO. “Our new M-Class line has been completely reimagined and revolutionized, while maintaining the compelling value proposition that our products are known for.”
The Piper M-Class flagship is the M600 which features a 600 horsepower Pratt & Whitney Turboprop engine capable of cruising at close to 300 miles per hour. But more important than its airspeed is the 6-seat aircraft’s increased range, thanks to a newly redesigned wing and the deployment of advanced digital fuel management technologies. The M600 has a range of 1300 nautical miles, a 30% increase over its predecessor. This means you can fly from New York to Miami or from Los Angeles to Dallas non-stop.
The M600 uses Garmin’s top of the line G3000 avionics suite which features two 12-inch primary displays and a supplementary multi-function screen so flight deck management is easier and more efficient. Almost every function is controlled by the GTC 570 touchscreen interface, and no feature is more than three pages deep in the navigation. The G3000 integrates control of various radios, audio and intercom channels, transponder codes, checklists, charts, mapping, flight plan entry and other functions. The M600 also comes standard with a Garmin GSR radio that connects to the Iridium satellite network enabling mobile phone calls and texts from the aircraft for a nominal fee.
The M600 and its siblings also incorporate an impressive array of safety features. With enhanced Stability Control and Underspeed Protection the plane will warn a pilot when he or she is flying outside the expected envelope. The technology also allows for coupled go-arounds, which when activated automatically flies the published pattern on a missed approach.
Our favorite safety feature is the “Blue Button.” Essentially it’s an Automated Level Mode function that, when triggered, will return the aircraft to a wings level attitude with zero vertical speed. So if the pilot in command experiences any problems, he or anyone in the plane can reach forward, press the button and return the plane to a safe flight mode.
The Piper M-Class also makes significant upgrades to the aircraft’s interior. Knowing that their owners often get out of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche automobiles before getting into their airplanes, the designers at Piper looked at automotive interiors to create a significantly better experience for both the pilot and passengers. This results in upgraded materials, ergonomics and convenience features. Step on board and you find high gloss wood veneers, buttery soft leathers, an array of USB and power ports, and a plethora of cupholders among other niceties.
The M350 starts a $1,150,000, the M500 $2,260,000 and the M600 is $2,820,000. Each offers excellent performance and comfort for the dollar when compared to other business-class turboprops. The M500 and M350 are available now. The M600 will be ready for ownership sometime this fall.