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AOPA 2007: Piper Unveils A Malibu For The Masses... The Matrix

Unpressurized PA46 Offers Luxury, Performance At A Lower Price

Piper Aircraft chose AOPA Expo 2007 to unveil its latest creation, the Matrix.

The Matrix -- a cabin-class, unpressurized six-seater based on the Malibu Mirage -- is designed to be an economical alternative to the Mirage, while still offering a luxury cabin in a high performance airplane.

"Many of our customers and prospective buyers told us that they wanted an airplane that provided the best in luxury, elegance and performance at a price that is hundreds of thousands of dollars below what has been available," said Piper President and CEO James Bass.

The Malibu was originally designed as a totally new aircraft, and the Matrix extends that lineage by offering a new, unpressurized model for those looking for a more economical option without sacrificing performance and luxury. According to Vice President of Sales Bob Kromer, "The Matrix is the end result of listening closely to our customers. The niche the Matrix fills is one that people we interviewed identified as a vital, unfilled niche in general aviation."

The 350-horsepower Matrix cruises at 215 knots, with a range of over 1,345 nautical miles when flown at its maximum operating altitude of 25,000 feet. Down low, where supplemental oxygen isn't necessary, the Matrix checks in at 188 knots and is good for 831 nautical miles at 12,000 feet, according to Piper.

In addition to offering impressive range, the Matrix also offers a big advantage over the Mirage in usable load -- which is considered a weak point in the pressurized models. Stripping the needed equipment to keep the cabin pressurized frees up a 185-lb advantage for the Matrix -- enough for one additional standard-size adult.

The aircraft sports the Avidyne Entegra integrated flight deck, with a 10.4" PFD as standard equipment. The panel can be coupled with the autopilot for altitude, vertical speed, and heading without the need for an external control panel.

The Matrix is the first aircraft to offer Avidyne's new MLB700 Datalink receiver for WSI Inflight weather. Other standard avionics include Avidyne's exclusive Multilink two-way datalink service, EMax Electronic Engine Instrumentation System, the CMax Jeppesen JeppView electronic chart display and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The TAS610 active traffic system and TX670 Tactical Weather Sensor are available as options.

Priced at $757,000, the company says it has received over 100 orders for the Matrix' 2008 production run. The company plans to expand production operations if demand warrants.

FMI: www.piper.com

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