I may hold the record for the longest ownership of a PA-46, having bought mine new from the factory in 1984. Although owners generally raved-and still rave-about the airplanes impressive capabilities, the Malibu soon gained a reputation as a problem airplane. Indeed, some owners believe that with the Mirage, Piper jumped from the pan into the fire, especially with regard to engine longevity. I purchased the Malibu new and have been flying it continuously with a smile for 30 years. The -310P, with its lower fuel consumption—as much as 4 to 5 GPH when flown by the book—has nearly 25 percent better range and is only about 5 percent slower. A typical annual at Meadmay not be cheaper, but will result in a lot more work being done. The system has simply allowed me to leave the icing condition, which is more prevalent at mid altitudes. The culprit was a crack originating from the number 4 position stamping in the number 4 piston crown. Range is amazing. 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. FLIGHT PROFILE -Approx. The Matrix is an unpressurized Mirage. Climbs to the flight levels during summer and max gross weight are in the 700 to 800 FPM range. 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 results in a thinner cross section in the crown, making it more prone to cracking from stress risers caused by the stamping process. 5.5 PSI. 10 mins, 1080P, 60fps 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. The engine and systems were finicky to operate, and dispatch reliability ranged from barely acceptable to just awful for some years. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. The power setting and leaning would have to be right. When it first appeared in the mid-1980s, the Malibu rocked the GA world. I spent an extensive amount of effort and time in the forums before I decided to buy. Luckily, it happened under the best of conditions, daytime VFR at 17,500 feet. The biggest handling issue is crosswinds. 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. In my research, I found this failure occurred several other times. It was well worth the cost of membership. MMOPA also tracks mods for the PA-46, which include three- and four-blade props, IO-550 conversions, long-range tanks, interior mods, plus the Enhanced Fight Groups redo of the Mirage engine package. 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 generally cruise climb at 120 knots at 2500 RPM and 35 inches. Figure on a few thousand dollars a year to keep everything perfect. Owners complain that no matter how carefully they operate the airplane, cylinder woes are just around the corner. © Belvoir Media Group, LLC. We think that fairly sums up the Malibu. We’ve seen nearly 3000 FPM climb rates on DLX conversions we’ve flown. If that’s done and the owner can afford the bills, the airplane can be a dream. Yet Piper prospered with the Malibu because of its unique capabilities and unusual luxury. 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 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. Passengers and pilots of normal GA type airplanes speakwith awe in their voices onthe executive cabin-class creature comforts, the smooth ride,the comfort of pressurization, the speedand the beauty and elegance of this machine. The handling characteristics of the PA-46 are indeed excellent, although they lack the rocklike stability that many instrument pilots prefer. This engine will go to TBO if you watch it-we got 2100 hours on the first and have 1400 hours on the second. Continental thus specified operating requirements for the engine that were unusual at the time, specifically lean-of-peak EGT operation. It is very expensive to maintain but worth it. I just acquired a 1985 Malibu with the TIO-550-C conversion. Aside from its ramp appeal, pilots were intrigued with its high-flying pressurized cabin, 200-knot cruise speed and its impressive range. Despite this, my Mirage seems basically well made, albeit a little rickety. It is the PA-46-350P that has the new engine. Owners suffered through Lycoming’s massive crankshaft recall of 2002 and 2003 and weeks to months of downtime. 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. 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. The reward of my downsize includes dispatch reliability just below 99 percent. That vision issometimes a bit of afrustration to theowner because you must live the contrast betweenthis vision withthe realities ofowning a complex GA airplane. It is ideal for serious business or private flying - but is well within the flying capabilities of a well-trained private pilot. 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. The irony is that the fixes applied to the Continental made it as good as the Lycoming installation. The perceived reliability of the Mirage got so bad among some owners that a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2000 against New Piper and Lycoming. Retraction speed is much lower, at 130 knots (Malibu) and 126 knots (Mirage) KIAS. Has not issued an AD regarding this issue but worth it no what... From the number 4 piston crown one you consider sickening to rear passengers ; a yaw damper helps engine i. 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