Service entry of Piper Aircraft’s M600 single-engined turboprop has been pushed back to the third quarter of this year, due to “challenges” with the certification process.
The six-seat aircraft was launched by the US airframer in April 2015, and had originally been scheduled to enter service late last year.
Sitting at the top of Piper’s nine-strong, propeller-driven line-up, the M600 is based on the M500 turboprop-single platform, with a redesigned wing, advanced digital fuel management technologies and a restyled interior.
“We unveiled the M600 with a promise to our customers that it would have a minimum payload range of 1,200nm [2,220km] and a 250kt (463km/h) [calibrated airspeed] Vmo [maximum operating speed],” says Piper chief executive Simon Caldecott. “We had been unable to reach the 250kt Vmo sweet spot during flight testing, so have had to make some modifications to the internal wing structure.”
The M600 has, however, exceeded its range guarantee by over 240nm, Caldecott reveals, and this "now stands at 1,441nm".
Flight testing is set to resume shortly, and Piper is confident the modified aircraft will meet all performance pledges. “The 250kt Vmo was particularly important for our owners, as they wanted the extra speed when coming in to land, especially when they are being tailed by one of the 'big boys' from Boeing and Airbus,” says Caldecott.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A-powered M600 has a maximum take-off weight of 2,720kg (6,000lb) and a cruise speed of 274kt (true airspeed).
Pitched against Daher’s TBM 900, the $2.85 million flagship is also the first turboprop platform to feature the Garmin G3000 flightdeck.