Piper Debuts Malibu Matrix — An Unpressurized Mirage

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The airframe of the new Matrix is essentially identical to the Piper Mirage, Piper officials said at AOPA Expo on Thursday morning, but there is one significant difference - the new Matrix is not pressurized. The goal was to create an aircraft that would satisfy a demand for an airplane with a large cabin, robust performance, and economical operating and acquisition costs. "The Piper Matrix fills those requirements, and it does it on the finest, most proven, airframe coupled with the most advanced technology available in general aviation," said Piper President and CEO Jim Bass. The price of the aircraft, at $757,000, is "hundreds of thousands of dollars below what has been available," he said. Anticipating widespread global interest in the airplane, Bass said Piper will start deliveries to dealers next month and will build 100 Matrixes in 2008.

The six-seat Matrix will have the Avidyne Entegra integrated flight deck and a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350 hp engine as standard equipment. It is the first aircraft to offer Avidyne's new MLB700 Datalink Receiver for WSI InFlight weather and Sirius satellite radio as standard equipment, Bass said. Options include avionics upgrades, flight-into-known-icing protection, speed brakes, and a heated prop.