Page 9 - Dec19T
P. 9

  to left. Also, the heating system has four separate heat controls and the intake system has an ice door that must be managed. The systems are not hard to operate once trained, but they cannot be mismanaged or trouble awaits.
With the Meridian, Piper wanted to make a turbine that is easy for the pilot to manage, with systems requir- ing little or no management at all. As a comparison, the Meridian fuel system is ridiculously simple and requires no pilot input for the whole f light. There is no ice door to manage, and the cabin heating is a rheostat that simply requires turn- ing to adjust the temperature. I’d attest that Piper did a great job of reviewing every system to make operations as pilot- friendly and straightforward as possible.
I also think the Meridian offers bet- ter safety systems as compared to the JetPROP. The wing deice boots are much larger and more effective, the cabin alti- tude warning system is far more robust, and there’s not a prop lever to manage.
Other Considerations
But while simplicity and safety abound in the Meridian, it comes at a cost. Because there is no ice door, ef- fectively the ice protection is always “ON.” So, the Meridian burns more fuel in climb and cruise. It even burns more fuel just sitting on the ground idling. A Meridian will burn more than 20 gph just sitting at idle on the ground. It has a bigger engine and bigger costs more.
The PT6-42A bolted on the Meridian is what I call the “big block” PT6. In fact, the -42A engine is the smallest of the big-block PT6s, and the -35 is the biggest of the small block PT6s. The -35 actually produces more power (560 hp) than the -42A (500 hp), but the -42A will produce 500 horsepower up to a higher altitude, and the JetPROP loses power as altitude is increased. This translates to an engine that is never ITT limited at altitude, so the pilot need only manage the torque as a climb progresses. In the JetPROP, the pilot will manage both torque and ITT as the climb progresses.
To me, one of the biggest advantages of the JetPROP is the nose baggage com- partment. The Mirage has a nice baggage area that remains in a JetPROP, whereas the Meridian offers no nose baggage area at all. I normally don’t put very much in the nose baggage, but it is nice to have
December 2019 / TWIN & TURBINE • 7

   7   8   9   10   11