Orders for New Piper Aircraft's Malibu Meridian single-turboprop business aircraft have passed the 100 mark, according to the manufacturer. Deliveries of the machine are scheduled to begin in mid-2000.

The backlog topped 100 with an order from Flightline Group of Tallahassee, Florida, which has been appointed the Piper dealer for that region of the USA.

The manufacturer says it has 82 Meridian orders from US customers and 19 from customers outside the USA.

A Meridian prototype has been in flight testing since August last year and has logged over 250h in 200 flights.

Three conforming pre-production prototypes will join the flight test programme later this year, and will be used for powerplant, systems and handling qualities certification. A fifth prototype will be used as a static test article, the company says.

New Piper says the programme is on schedule for US certification and first deliveries in mid-2000, after a 1,500h flight test effort.

Source: Flight International