September 13, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
The Piper Meridian, until now limited to operating from paved runways, has FAA approval to operate from unpaved runways, including grass and dirt runways. The new privilege also is granted to owners of older Meridians. The $2 million Meridian is a single-engine turboprop with six seats.
Piper officials said the aircraft will require a ground roll of 1,980 feet to take off from dry grass (compared to 1,650 feet on a paved runway), or 2,926 feet (compared to 2,438 feet) to take off from dry grass and clear a 50-foot obstacle. The Meridian will require a ground roll of 1,224 feet to land on dry grass (compared to 1,020 feet on a paved runway) for landing, or 2,532 feet (compared to 2,110 feet) to land over a 50-foot obstacle.
The feature has often been requested by owners.
“The ability to land and depart from unpaved runways adds increased operating flexibility to an already outstanding aircraft through a change to the POH and without requiring any kind of airframe modifications,” said Piper Executive Vice President Randy Groom.
The approval required extensive operational flight testing by Piper engineers and will be reflected in supplements to the Meridian pilot’s operating handbook.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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