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Piper Aircraft recently announced that the M600/SLS has received FAA approval on a Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL), which qualifies the single-engine turboprop to be operated under FAA part 135 charter operations. In other words, the MMEL approval will make it easier for charter providers to operate the M600 in commercial service.
The OEM received approval from the FAA on July 11.
“The addition of an approved MMEL for the M600 is a testament to the diverse mission profiles this aircraft can accommodate and an important step forward in expanding the operational capability of the airplane,” said Ron Gunnarson, VP of sales, marketing, and customer support at Piper.
Moreover, Piper announced that it has been collaborating with Garmin on software updates to the G3000 avionics system on the M600. The company noted that the latest software includes enhancements to the synthetic vision system, weather radar, navigation, flight planning checklist, and more. As well, Piper is working towards a “new and improved” database management system.
But perhaps the most exciting addition to the M600 Garmin suite is the new 3D SafeTaxi feature, which provides a 3D depiction of the ground environment — including airport markers, buildings, and other positions — while the aircraft is taxiing. The SafeTaxi feature is intended to improve pilot situational awareness by offering graphical and textual guidance during ground operations.
“The aircraft view displayed on the avionics can depict a 3D model of the aircraft, showing its position from above and beyond,” explained Piper CEO John Calcagno.
While the M600 is already known as one of the most technologically advanced single-engine turboprops on the market — equipped with the HALO safety system, including Garmin Autoland — Calcagno said the company will “never quit innovating with our flagship product.”
With that said, Piper has also announced that it has been working towards approval for the M600 to operate from rough and unpaved surfaces. The OEM launched the program several years ago, and through preliminary tests, identified the need for an “enhanced undercarriage” that can withstand the additional stress and drag associated with unpaved runways.
“At this point, we have successfully completed all of our testing and can expect to have approval before the end of the year,” said Calcagno.
The M600 rough-field upgrade will be available to current operators of the type, and will involve the installation of “enhanced nose gear” for improved stability.
All current 2022 production M600 aircraft “already have that installed,” said Calcagno.