Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Piper Aircraft announced in early November that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has given its approval for the company’s flagship M600/SLS aircraft to be operated from unpaved fields.
The Florida-based manufacturer launched the unpaved surfaces program several years ago, stating that is has “received numerous requests for unpaved field certification from several global markets.” Piper did not announce the program publicly until August 2022.
The OEM shared that through preliminary tests, it identified the need for an “enhanced undercarriage” that can withstand the additional stress and drag associated with unpaved runways. In August, Piper had “successfully completed” all necessary testing, and was expecting to achieve approval before the end of this year.
That goal has been met, and the OEM announced in early November that kit approval has also been completed for Canada, the U.K., and Europe, with Brazil certification expected in early 2023.
“The Piper M600/SLS is known for its performance, reliability, and versatility over a wide array of general aviation missions; now, with the addition of unpaved field capability, the M600’s versatility and asset value is taken to a whole new level,” said John Calcagno, president and CEO of Piper Aircraft.
While all current 2022 production M600 aircraft (starting with serial number 198) are equipped to operate on unpaved fields, the OEM said fielded M600 aircraft (2016-2021) that are equipped with five-blade propellers also have the option to be modified by Piper’s unpaved field operations kit (#88705-702).
According to the manufacturer, “the primary kit components include a slightly redesigned nose fork and scissor link to handle unpaved field surface inconsistencies; the installation of a small nose gear wheel well plate cutout allowing the nose wheel to stow properly with the gear retracted; and a POH supplement.”
Those interested in the M600 unpaved field kit are encouraged to reach out to a local Piper Dealer/Service Center.