The auto pilot (KFC150) is a go/no-go item for me. As with most early production airplanes, mine has a relatively low empty weight and a very decent useful load of 1325 pounds. (The pilot we quoted above said the same thing about Lycomings. The airbrakes can be counted uponto fail after being used a dozen times or so. The crack caused a hole to burn through the piston, which pressurized the crankcase and forced all the oil overboard in a matter of minutes. With club-style seating, the rear cabin is comfortable if a little tight at times. The cockpit is well designed in both models with well-placed gauges and plenty of room for all the avionics you could ever want. A delight to fly, high or low, says one owner. Lets do the upside first. For those willing to deal with oxygen nose hoses, rather than cabin pressurization, the savings in maintenance costs, operational simplicity and perhaps lower insurance premiums gives the Matrix appeal. I made it into Atlantic City 40 miles away after the engine seized in descent at about 9000 feet. Our most recent survey of accidents showed that 17 percent were engine-related—no change since we looked at the aircraft roughly four years ago. Maintenance is the biggest issue in a Malibu. To beat down the fuel flow, Continental required pilots to lean the engine to 50 degrees lean of peak for all operations below 80 percent power, which is the maximum recommended cruise setting. Retraction speed is much lower, at 130 knots (Malibu) and 126 knots (Mirage) KIAS. Continental thus specified operating requirements for the engine that were unusual at the time, specifically lean-of-peak EGT operation. Again, some of these mods appeared on later Malibus. In my research, I found this failure occurred several other times. Its cold back there in the flight levels, even during the summer. By 125 knots, the thrust difference between the two props is negligible so there is no discernible difference in climb performance. One of these owners found cracks in pistons 1 and 5 originating from the position stamps in those piston crowns at a subsequent annual. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. The piper malibu.Really love this channel and want to help it continue? But it will comfortably carry four people and baggage with full tanks, yielding a non-stop range of about 1400 miles for the Malibu and 1000 to 1200 miles for the Mirage. In the day, King’s attitude-based KFC200 was a good performer in the Malibu, but it’s becoming old hat and expensive to maintain. With the 350 engine, I cruise at about 30 inches and 2300 RPM and can run up to 100 degrees lean of peak for about 190 knots TAS. With one significant exception, the reliability of the airframe and engine has been very good with only a few squawks between annuals. Anyone contemplating buying one should be ready to pay what we consider to be substantial maintenance bills, with the reward being fast cruise speeds above the weather in pressurized comfort and reasonable payload. I’ve generated a discrepancy list of $180,000 on an airplane only three hours out of an annual at a Piper dealer. The PA-46’s long, high-aspect-ratio wing is good for climb and high-altitude performance, but along with it comes a low maneuvering speed in the mid-130s KIAS at gross, decreasing as the airplane gets lighter. I intend to do the two-day Simcom course this year. But it should cover all variable expenses. The engine wont stay cool at 75 percent up high in summer weather; figure on 65 percent max over 20,000 feet. You can likely pick up a 2008 Matrix for around $600,000. The irony is that the fixes applied to the Continental made it as good as the Lycoming installation. Owners complain that no matter how carefully they operate the airplane, cylinder woes are just around the corner. It seems that the TSIO-550 engine is more prone to this sort of failure because the piston crowns are dished rather than flat topped as in the TSIO-520s. Maintenance continues to be a big headache for PA-46 owners, regardless of the powerplant type. It had a long, rakish snoot housing a six-cylinder Continental TSIO-520BE rated at 310 HP and with two turbochargers, providing enough bleed air to keep the cabin comfortably inflated at FL250. Training is a pain because the insurance companies require type-specific training by a narrow list of approved schools. During descents, its easy to get above maneuvering speed or even red line if youre not paying attention. In addition, we put in $12,000 annually for fixed costs ($500/month each). Piper never seemed able to find the right powerplant, however. Insurance, with my level of experience, commercial license with 1550 hours, is $7480 for $1 million smooth and $425,000 hull. If any airplane suits the old adage about much being lost betwixt lip and cup, it must certainly be Pipers ill-starred Malibu and Mirage series. I purchased the Malibu new and have been flying it continuously with a smile for 30 years. Indeed, some owners believe that with the Mirage, Piper jumped from the pan into the fire, especially with regard to engine longevity. Although the company succeeded, its success was haunted by engineering decisions made early in the program. After breaking in the new engine, I equipped it with GAMIjectors. Descent planning is required. A bit of extra speed helps. The cabin arrangement is superb, with the Mirage somewhat better than the original Malibu. The Lycoming in the Mirage was, if anything, worse in this regard. It’s easy to see how buyers considering a new Cirrus SR22T or Cessna TTx can be swayed by a used Matrix and its luxurious six-place cabin, club seating, airstair door and its big-airplane look and feel. No one had seen anything quite like it. The aircraft was registered to a trustee, the Southern Aircraft Consultancy in Bungay, Suffolk, United Kingdom. Speed control is a must. Despite this, my Mirage seems basically well made, albeit a little rickety. Anyone contemplating buying one should be ready to pay what we consider to be substantial maintenance bills, with the reward being fast cruise speeds above the weather in pressurized comfort and with reasonable payload. (Or lack of it.). The group has excellent information on ownership issues. It needed it. No one had seen anything quite like it. Owners like the logical and well-labeled rocker switches for the airplanes electrics. Yet Piper prospered with the Malibu because of its capabilities and unusual luxury. There isn’t anything particularly difficult about landing a PA-46, but the long wing encourages floating and when lightly loaded, the CG is forward. It falls short in the execution-far short, sometimes-but when it works, theres nothing like it. The engine recalls, theconstant barrage of service bulletins, the extreme expense of replacement parts-if they are available at all-and the constantmalfunctioning of avionics, coupled with thehassle, expense and inconvenience of getting anything fixed are an inevitable part of PA-46 ownership.In an aircraft this complex, with lots of components made in small batches, an owner must simply be prepared to bespend a lot of time in the shop. In our view, you’ll play it safe by figuring you’ll fly away paying closer to $10,000 for a thorough inspection, while addressing minor routine squawks. But no positive link was confirmed and the airplane was given a clean bill of health. The Malibu 310 has a Continental engine with 310 hp. The Malibu M-Class Owners & Pilots Association (MMOPA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the interests and safety of owners and pilots worldwide who fly PA46 derivative (Malibu, Mirage, Meridian, M-Class, JetPROP and Matrix) aircraft. 2. Both are sensitive to proper operating technique. 200-Knot Buzzkill: MX, Insurance Realities. Loading is easy to keep within CG with front and rear baggage. There was nothing quite like it and Piper soon found a loyal market for its new flagship product, mostly among well-to-do owners who could afford to sink a half-million bucks into a new single and who flew the kind of missions where the Malibu shined. The Malibu has one of the best glide ratios of any GA aircraft at 2.4nm/1000 feet. Even ardent supporters of the airplane admit that it requires frequent and ongoing maintenance. For some of the early aircraft, it is not uncommon for an annual inspection discrepancy list to exceed 25 percent of the value of the airplane. The handling characteristics of the PA-46 are indeed excellent, although they lack the rocklike stability that many instrument pilots prefer. On the flip side, there is no other aircraft that can do what the PA-46 does as efficiently and inexpensively. Initial acceleration is sluggish, although the airplane will get in and out of 3000-foot strips at sea level with relative ease. There are a lot more PA-46-310P accidents (that's the old Malibu) but I think Piper also made a lot more Malibus than Mirages. These inspections average $10,000 to $12,000 per year, with a low of $4500 and a high of $20,000. In cool weather at light weights, rate of climb is about 1200 FPM to 15,000 feet,falling to about800 FPM by FL200. It was also equipped with spoilers, moving map and TCAD. Pressurizing a single isn’t easy—Mooney’s Mustang was a bust. The original Malibu is far superior to the Mirage, in our opinion, for the following reasons: The engine is much less prone to in-flight shutdown, the rate of fuel burn is an honest 5 GPH lower (16 versus 21 GPH) which translates to a significant rangeand payload advantage, performance is substantially equal given that the aircraft is about 200 pounds lighter. While we have received reports of squawk lists on annuals reaching 25 percent of the value of the airplane, the majority of owners say that they recognize it’s expensive to maintain a pressurized single and if they stay ahead of the game, the price is not outrageous. To make the airplane appealing to what Piper thought was its core market, the company called for exceptional range well beyond the fuel specifics of most six-cylinder engines. Figure on a few thousand dollars a year to keep everything perfect. The Malibu’s pressurization differential is 5.5 psi, so we’d climb on up to 25,000 feet while the cabin leveled at 8000 feet. Most ADs and Service Bulletins are historical, with very few recent issues. Retraction speed is much lower, at 130 knots (Malibu) and 126 knots (Mirage) KIAS. Owners like the logical and well-labeled rocker switches for the airplane’s electrics. Piper Malibu-Mirage Owner Comments In 1986, I made a decision in which I am still reaping the rewards: I downsized from a Cessna 414A twin to a Piper Malibu single. During descents, it’s easy to get above maneuvering speed or even redline if you’re not paying attention. While this total might be seen as unusual, spending $20,000 on a Malibu or Mirage for a years worth of wrenching is not unusual. On the average, a prebuy will generate a squawk list in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. (Actually, some of the later Malibu models got the electric flaps and improved hydraulics for the gear.). The FAA MIDO for Continental told me there were others but wouldnt divulge how many. Flying a 2011 Piper Mirage over Southern CA - aircraft review and flight. First test-flight in the PA-46 to verify if it works in X-Plane 11 and if so then how well it does so. Summer, fully loaded climb slowsto about 800 FPM to 15,000 feet and down to 400 FPM by the time you get to the flight levels. Down time ranged from weeks to months. Yet the fact remains, nothing quite does what a Malibu does or, as one owner puts it, its expensive to operate for a piston single but cheap for what it does. Malibu pilots report cruise speeds of 205 knots TAS at FL220 at 67 percent power and 210 knots true at FL250 at 75 percent. While not in the TBM’s speed class, at max cruise the M500 whistles along at 260 knots. Continental thus specified operating requirements for the engine that were unusual at the time, specifically lean-of-peak EGT operation. It is ideal for serious business or private flying - but is well within the flying capabilities of a well-trained private pilot. Lycoming operators also have experienced higher-than-normal oil consumption that has proven difficult to remedy. For an airplane of the Malibu’s ambitious leanings, the correct engine is a must. For an airplane of the Malibus ambitious leanings, the right engine is a must. Cabin and cockpit noise are on the low side as GA airplanes go. Other than smoke in the cabin related to a burnt resistor, I have not experienced any inflight emergencies. I decided to buy a Continental-powered Malibu when learning of all the Lycoming engine problems. More than a few owners have had experience with several Malibus and/or Mirages. As we lounged in the back of N350CS, a new M350 on the ramp at Columbia Air Service in Groton, Conn. (GON), Gordon Ramsay, Piper program manager at Columbia Air Service, commenting on vintage Malibus, said, “At the time, they seemed very comfortable; now we realize they were fairly Spartan…this is refined.” My biggest dislike about this aircraft is that it came from the factory with a plexiglass windshield, which interferes with visibility and the heating element. This is worth it no matter what the effort. It is important to get a prebuy from a competent shop. Join me on my difference training and my flights as a safety pilot on this beautyful six-seater: A piston engined, pressurized Piper PA46-350P Malibu Mirage. The basic Malibu design has stood the test of time very well. Contact JetProp here. Alternators, vacuum pumps and, in particular, the exhaust system are all items mentioned by our survey respondents and matched the Service Difficulty Reports reported to the FAA. Piper’s execution left something to be desired. Owners of both models say they can fly 1100-NM trips with IFR reserves. Something on the panel seems to break every 20 hours.This has afforded me the opportunityof beingon afirst name basis with the managers of more airplane repair facilities thanI would have thought possible.I have come to accept this and just keep flying in between trips tovariousrepair facilities.I rationalize this by comparing the costs of these headaches with the cost of owning a small jet.That doesntchange anything and it doesnt even excuse anything, but italways makes me feel better. The review process consumed the better part of 1991 and involved the full cooperation of both Piper and Bendix/King. -A Piper Malibu crashed Friday, killing all five aboard, shortly after taking off from Edmonton en route to Winnipeg. Most places Igo, especially around small airports, heads still turn and I constantly receive heart-felt ramp compliments on what a beautiful, glamorous airplane I own. The new engine weighed 113 pounds more, but the maximum takeoff weight was boosted by 200 pounds. Incidentally, I calibrated my airspeed indicator using the procedure at www.reacomp.com. It needed it. 5.5 PSI. The maximum ramp weight is 2,744kg (6,050lb) and the standard weight is 1,656kg (3,650lb). Unless otherwise noted, these reviews carry product pricing from the time of the original review. The hydraulic system was improved, the engine cooling system was redesigned, the cabin door was improved, the seats were strengthened and the flaps were changed from hydraulic to electric operation. Mirage pilots pay more at the gas pumps but in exchange, they go a little faster, with speeds typically of 220 knots at FL230-250 at 75 percent power burning 18.8 GPH. The heated windscreen is no longer made but is excellent, since youre not looking through a hot plate. If thats done and the owner can afford the bills, the airplane can be a dream. The new engine weighed 113 pounds more but the maximum takeoff weight was boosted by 200 pounds. That went against what most pilots had been taught before the current understanding of lean-of-peak ops—and a fair number ignored the instructions and ran rich of peak. That’s less than an optioned-out new SR22T. Texas Top Aviation’s insurance approved, 2 Day Piper PA46 Recurrent Training Course provides a systems overview, avionics review, and emergency procedures review during the first morning of ground school. Get rid of the radar boot and install a standard boot when it needs to be replaced. / 454 Liters Weights • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 4,340 lbs. / 1,969 kg. Both are sensitive to proper operating technique. Useful load worked out to be 80 pounds less than planned; not a deal breaker, but a weight equivalent to fuel for IFR reserves. The base price was an eye-watering $275,000, but with accessories the typical invoice swelled to more than $320,000, or $550,000 in 2003 dollars. The MMOPA is a very active and helpful organization. I generally cruise climb at 120 knots at 2500 RPM and 35 inches. Many owners maintain that the Continental was and is a superior engine for the Malibu but in 1989, Piper introduced the Malibu Mirage with a Lycoming engine. Later models have overhead switches that are a challenge for the presbyopic set and concern us from a crashworthiness standpoint. Full control deflection is needed at 17 knots crosswind. Because for all its flaws, it comes as close tosingle engine-perfection as anything available. The hydraulics also ran the flaps on early models. Recurrent Piper Malibu/Mirage/Matrix Training. It is a pity Jack Riley is no longer with us; the airplane could do with a STOL conversion—our sea-level minimum runway limit is 3000 feet of pavement. Spoilers are a worthwhile addition to this slippery airframe. They are quietly giving affected owners generous warranty adjustments on engines which are long out of the original warranty. When it first appeared in the mid-1980s, the Malibu rocked the GA world. Again, since there was no accident, these do not appear in the NTSB database. Piper Malibu Mirage Performance and Specifications . In 1986, I made a decision in which I am still reaping the rewards: I downsized from a Cessna 414A twin to a Piper Malibu single. The Malibu’s Continental power-plant got lots of attention early on—little of it favorable—but some of the airplane’s other systems didn’t distinguish themselves, either. The smaller diameter of the four-blade prop reduces cockpit noise. The aircraft was manufactured in 1984. Getting into the seats requires minor contortions through a narrow aisle between bulkheads walling off the rear cabin. As owners report, the PA-46 is well-supported by one of the best owner groups in general aviation, the Malibu/Mirage Owners and Pilots Association found at www.mmopa.com. Malibu pilots report cruise speeds of 208 knots TAS at FL220 at 67 percent power and 212 knots true at FL250 at 75 percent. Turbocharger problems on the Mirage seem more frequent while the notorious main bearing shift has been the most frequent cause of grief to 310P operators. The perceived reliability of the Mirage is so bad among some owners that a class action lawsuit was filed in 2000 against New Piper and Lycoming by the Fred Misko Jr. law firm of Dallas, Texas. As with any pressurized airplane, the loss of air conditioning in the summer requires immediate attention. I researched this issue extensively before buying the airplane. Pulling the power back and flying high can bump the range up to 1000 NM. The Malibu prototype emerged from the Vero Beach plant in late 1982, amidst much fanfare and excitement. As our recent owner feedback shows, many Malibu and Mirage owners have held on to their aircraft for many years. Turbulence can be sickening to rear passengers; a yaw damper helps. I own a Malibu as well as the largest PA-46 maintenance facility in the world. We’ve seen nearly 3000 FPM climb rates on DLX conversions we’ve flown. The Malibu M-5 STC features a TCM TSIO-550-C engine, a Hartzell 3-blade Composite Propeller, and our revolutionary M-1 Cooling Modification to elevate your aircraft potential. A used Mirage has an Aircraft Bluebook suggested list price of $705,000. Whoever was to blame for Malibu engine problems, squabbles between owners, Piper and TCM grew heated and ugly at times. Is one better than the other in terms of maintenance? Most local shops simply dont do enough work on these airplanes to know all of the idiosyncrasies. Yet Piper prospered with the Malibu because of its capabilities and luxury. Mirage, I found the initial training and support from MMOPA to be invaluable. Continental realized they had a problem, so in December of 2001, they stopped the piston position stamping process. Aside from its ramp appeal, pilots were intrigued with its high-flying pressurized cabin, 200-knot cruise speed and its impressive range. As owners report, the PA-46 is well-supported by one of the best owner groups in general aviation, the Malibu/Mirage Owners and Pilots Association found at www.mmopa.com. I operate out of an 800-meter by 10-meter asphalt runway. Its 350-horsepower Lycoming TIO-540 engine lets you cruise at altitudes up to … (Again, some of these mods appeared on later Malibus.). Piper never seemed able to find the right powerplant, however. The PA-46’s claim to fame is that it’s a six-place airplane with cabin-class comfort. Occasionally a pilot will purchase a PA-46 thinking it is just a little more expensive to operate than his/her previous aircraft, only to find out that some of the systems installed on the plane are quite costly to maintain. The suit claimed that the Mirages engine reliability was so poor that New Pipers claims of the Mirage being a safe, efficient means of transportation were false and thus owners had been damaged. According to data supplied by Hartzell and MT, the four-blade prop produces about 25 percent more static thrust. The current version of the Mirage is the Piper M-350, which has an updated version of the Garmin G1000 to include an automatic emergency descent mode to help rescue pilots and crew if overcome by cabin pressurization failures and hypoxia. No piston twin can match the performance, payload and range of a Malibu, although some can beat a Mirage. One owner shared the maintenance expenses for the first two years of ownership for his Mirage, which came to well over $46,000. The suit was recently settled after the court failed certify the class. The Malibu is a pleasure to fly in any weather, but you must be comfortable with a choppy ride in turbulence due to the long wings. This is the best 6 seat single engine airplane i have seen yet! The group has excellent information on ownership issues. It was essentially the same airplane with a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A of 350 HP. Maintenance is, as one owner told us, “a serious activity” for PA-46 owners, regardless of the powerplant type. Useful load worked out to be 80 pounds less than planned; not a deal breaker but a weight equivalent to fuel for IFR reserves. One place its not at home is taking off from short runways. The altitude pre-select is great as is a yaw damper. When it first appeared in the mid-1980s, the Malibu rocked the GA world. Many PA-46 incidents occur during landing. Owners of both models say they can fly 1100-NM trips with IFR reserves. One reported that his annuals average $6500 for everything; another said $7000 to $10,000. Rear-seat passengers complain about too little heat-fixed with the aux heater-but the air conditioning/pressurization system is quite good, when it isnt broken. The new engine weighed 113 pounds more, but the maximum takeoff weight was boosted by 200 pounds. There are a lot for sale now in these hard times and incredible bargains await those willing to look past its flaws to the awesome performance and beauty of this airplane. I measure 85dBA in cruise at the pilots ear. The power setting and leaning would have to be right. Preventive inspection and maintenance is strongly recommended. The original avionics are a mixed bag. Absolutely. For those who cant imagine staying aloft for five-plus hours, theres a pilot relief tube stowed in the spar cap between the cabin and cockpit. The Mirage’s Lycoming engine is larger and the accessory layout is different, so the forward baggage bay in the Mirage is a bit smaller than that of the Malibu. It’s the takeoff and climb phases that leave a little to be desired. But for as good as the basic idea was, Pipers execution of it left something to be desired. 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