The Piper PA-46 Malibu, known plainly as the Piper Malibu, is a light aircraft that is manufactured by The New Piper Aircraft Company of the United States. The aircraft is powered by a single engine and has the capacity for one pilot and five passengers. Early Malibus were all piston-engined, but a turboprop version, the Malibu Meridian, is also available. The piston powered Malibus may be converted to turboprop with the Jetprop DLX conversion.
The aircraft is the second, pressurized cabin class piston powered aircraft with only one engine to ever reach the market (the Cessna P210 Centurion being the other). It is sold mainly for civilian customers; small airlines (such as air tour companies) may also include the aircraft on their fleet.
Work on the PA-46 began in the late 1970s, with a prototype (the PA-46-300T) first flying on November 30 1979. The type was announced in November 1982, apparently to compete with Cessna's newest creation of the era, the P210 Centurion. Like the Centurion, the Malibu was to feature cabin pressurization, a feature not included on the prototype.
The first example of the initial production version flew in August 1982, and FAA certification was obtained in September 1983. Deliveries started one month later. 404 aircraft with Continental TSIO-520 engines were built before this model was replaced in production by the 350P.
PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage
Production of the Malibu Mirage commenced in October 1988. New features included a more powerful Textron Lycoming TIO-540 engine and a strengthened wing. This model remains in production as of 2006. Various changes occurred over the model years. Earlier models had an all King panel and later this became largely Garmin. In 1995, the pilot's windshield became a glass assembly (earlier it had been acrylic glass with a heat strip overlay). In 1996, numerous switches were moved to an overhead console. In 1999, the Mirage gained the strengthened wing designed for the turboprop Meridian.
The Jetprop DLX is a conversion to a turboprop engine of either the Malibu or Malibu Mirage. Either the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-21 or PT6A-35 is available as the powerplant. As of mid September 2006, 185 Jetprop conversions had been done by Rocket Engineering, some 20% of the entire fleet of PA46s.
PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian
In 1997, Piper announced its intention to market a turboprop-powered version of the Malibu, and flew a prototype the following year powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A of 500 shp (373 kW). Certification was achieved in September 2000 and deliveries began in November that year. Changes made to allow for turboprop power include larger wings and tail surfaces.
Specifications (PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage)
- Crew: one, pilot
- Capacity: five passengers
- Length: 28 ft 11 in (8.81 m)
- Wingspan: 43 ft 0 in (13.11 m)
- Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.44 m)
- Wing area: 175 ft² (16.3 m²)
- Empty: 3,080 lb (1,397 kg)
- Loaded: kg ( lb)
- Maximum takeoff: 4,300 lb (1,950 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 x Textron Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A, 350 hp (260 kW)
Performance PA46-350T Malibu Mirage
- Maximum speed: 225 mph
- Range: 1,220 miles (1,953 km)
- Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,622 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,556 ft/min
- Wing loading: 25.57 lb/ft² (kg/m²)
Performance PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian
- Cruising speed: 269 mph (482 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,144 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,220 ft/min (372 m/min)
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