20/Twenty: Piper’s High Flying M350 Piston Single
Piper Aircraft unveiled three members of its new M-Class line of single-engine, pressurized, cabin class aircraft in April 2015—the M500 and M600 turboprops and the M350 piston single—based on its 1980s vintage PA-46 Malibu series.
“Our customers and dealers asked for aircraft with additional payload and exceptional range,” said then-President and CEO Simon Caldecott. “They asked for increased options with the most progressive avionics and a contemporary interior. These new aircraft each encompass the most advanced safety and connectivity technology available today in an ambitious, aesthetic package.”
(Caldecott retired as president and CEO of the Vero Beach, Florida-based manufacturer in April 2021. John Calcagno, previously Piper Aircraft CFO, now heads the company.)
The low-wing, six-place M350, based on the PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, is powered by a turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350-hp engine with a Hartzell 3-blade composite propeller. Its cockpit features a three-screen Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite with GFC 700 autopilot. The sporty piston single has retractable tricycle landing gear.
Max takeoff weight of the M350 is 4,340 lb.; its standard useful load—the weight of the crew, passengers, baggage, usable fuel (120 gal.) and drainable oil—is 1,308 lb. The airplane requires a takeoff distance of 2,090 ft. to clear a 50-ft. obstacle; landing distance is 1,968 ft.
The M350’s max cruise speed is 213 ktas and max range 1,343 nm, according to Piper. It is approved to fly to an altitude of 25,000 ft.
Piper’s list price for the M350 at the time of its unveiling in 2015 was $1.15 million. From 2016 through the third quarter of 2022, the manufacturer had shipped 123 M350s, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) shipment reports. GAMA planned to release year-end 2022 shipment totals in February.
The International Aircraft Dealers Association’s Aircraft Exchange website listed two pre-owned M350s for sale in December, model years 2016 and 2017. The asking price for the 2017 model, which was advertised as having one owner and regular hangarage, was $1.375 million. Other pre-owned M350s were listed on multiple other websites.
As a response to high-profile accidents of general aviation aircraft in which hypoxia was thought to have affected pilots of unpressurized aircraft, Piper introduced in the M350 a panel-mounted pulse oximeter. The device enables the pilot to monitor blood oxygen level and pulse rate by placing a fingertip in a socket-like opening near the bottom left corner of the central multifunction display (MFD), where the readings are displayed.
A Hypoxia Recognition System detects if a pilot is incapacitated by monitoring his or her interaction with the primary flight display (PFD), MFD and autopilot controller whenever the autopilot is engaged and the cabin altitude climbs above 14,900 ft. in the event of depressurization. If no interaction is detected within a specified period, the system engages Automatic Descent Mode, bringing the airplane to a lower altitude to help the pilot recover from hypoxia. (The M350’s turboprop sibling, the Garmin G3000-equipped M600/SLS, was the first aircraft type certified with the Garmin Autoland system in 2020.)
The M350 also features as standard equipment an Automatic Level Mode, activated by pressing a blue button marked “LVL” above the left-seat PFD, that returns the airplane to a wings-level attitude with zero vertical speed.
A Cabin-Class Piston Single
Accessed by airstair, the M350 cabin measures 12 ft., 3 in. long and 4 ft. 1 in. wide and accommodates club seating for four passengers.
“As you step through the airstair door into the spacious Piper M350, you will be greeted with cabin-class seats featuring hand-selected leather,” advises Muncie Aviation Co., based at Delaware County Regional Airport (KMIE) in Muncie, Indiana. “These natural leather seats offer not only luxury, but flexibility. With adjustable backrests and the ability to fold down, even more cabin space can be created for your passengers or luggage. Passengers have easy access to amenities such as USB charging ports. LED accent strip lighting fills the cabin in warm light.”
Affiliated with Piper since 1936, Muncie Aviation in January 2021 acquired Des Moines Flying Service, based at Des Moines International Airport (KDSM), Iowa, in a merger of two of Piper Aircraft’s longest-serving dealers.
Support of Piper aircraft is provided through a network of 90 authorized service centers worldwide.
BCA welcomes comment and insight from aircraft dealers and brokers for its monthly 20/Twenty pre-owned aircraft market feature. The focus aircraft for January 2023 is the Cessna Citation CJ4 and for February the Airbus ACH145 helicopter. To participate, contact [email protected].