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blank 04/20/16 04:43PM Flight Testing, Piper Aircraft

Piper M600 Enters FAA Flight Testing

Piper unveils the M600, a higher performing version of the Meridian.

Eight FAA flight test pilots began evaluating the Piper M600 this week, paving the way for certification of the new single-engine turboprop by early in the third quarter of 2016, according to Piper CEO Simon Caldecott.

Caldecott made the announcement as part of the companyís update to media that kicked off AERO Friedrichshafen in Germany on April 20. The FAA crews will run various evaluations on two M600s, leading to full certification by the fall. European certification is expected about 12 months later.

Piperís own flight tests show the model exceeds the original design goals in both range and speed. The original goal of 1,200 nautical miles for maximum range is now 1,440 nm. The max speed goal of 260 knots was exceeded by 14 knots, giving the airplane an approximate max speed of 274 kt, according to Caldecott.

Caldecott said manufacturing efficiencies and building to order have allowed the company to lower prices on many models. He had previously announced a price decrease for the M500 turboprop to $1.99 million. Meanwhile, the Seneca V piston twin price was lowered $50,000 to $979,000 and the Matrix cabin class, six-seat, single-engine piston model is priced at $899,000, a $40,000 reduction.

Meanwhile, Don Dubuque, director of extension services at the University of North Dakota, said the school was on track to begin receiving the first of its new Piper Archer TX single-engine trainers in the fourth quarter of the year. UND announced earlier this year that it would be receiving as many as 125 Piper single- and multiengine trainers over the next eight years. The university has some 2,000 aviation students and flies about 120,000 hours a year. Dubuque said UND has the option of choosing the Archer DX diesel-powered model in future years if it chooses.

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