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Piper Malibu/Mirage


piper malibuThe Piper Malibu Mirage is as close as you can come to a "no excuses" piston single. Its 350-horsepower Lycoming TIO-540 engine lets you cruise at altitudes up to 25,000 feet and true airspeeds as fast as 225 knots. With a full load of fuel and a long-range cruise power setting, Piper claims the Mirage can fly three people about 1,450 nautical miles and land with IFR fuel reserves. At high-speed cruise, maximum range is a respectable 980 nm.

Newer Mirages, as in the ones produced in the mid 90’s, come with known-icing certification and a Bendix/King RDR-2000 color weather radar, complete with vertical profiling capability. Add lightning detection equipment and you've got a fighting chance at dealing with most adverse weather.

These Mirages have an extensive roster of standard equipment, including a whole slew of AlliedSignal avionics, complete with slaved compass, KC-291 yaw damper, KFC-150 flight control system, and KAS-297B altitude alerter and vertical speed selector. Also thrown into the deal are an IFR-certified Bendix/King GPS 90B, copilot flight instruments, dual glide slope indicators, a Mode S transponder, and a six-place PS Engineering intercom with CD player. There's even a relief tube.

Bleed air from the Mirage's twin Garrett AirResearch turbochargers lets you fly at sea-level cabin altitudes up to 13,000 feet; at the airplane's maximum operating altitude, a 5.5-pounds per square inch pressure differential keeps cabin altitudes at 8,000 feet.

Then there are the aesthetic, ergonomic, and tactile aspects of the airplane. Leather seats, a relatively wide cabin, and inflatable lumbar support for the pilot and copilot seats make for a very comfortable ride. And its handling qualities are admirable. Control forces are light in all axes — surprisingly so in the roll axis, given the 43-foot-long wing span. There is a proclivity to yaw in turbulence, and this is no doubt because of the interactive effects of the wings' high aspect ratios and the longitudinal short coupling. This is where the yaw damper comes in handy.

Hailed, reviled, then resurrected — all against the backdrop of a faltering parent company tainted by bankruptcy — the Mirage's strengths have sustained the marque through thick and thin. With 41 slated for production in 1995, the Mirage was expected to account for 40 percent of Piper's total anticipated sales of 173 airplanes and outsell every other model that the company was producing. It was Piper’s strongest player in its effort to recover from bankruptcy, and it's still more popular than ever.

Piper Malibu Mirage


Thomas A. Horne, AOPA Pilot, June 1995

Performance Summary

The airplane is a six-place, low wing, single engine airplane equipped with retractable tricycle landing gear.
This airplane is certified in the normal category. In the normal category all aerobatic maneuvers including spins are prohibited. The airplane is approved for day and night VFR/IFR operations when equipped in accordance with F.A.R. 91 or F.A.R 135.

The aircraft is powered by a Continental TSIO-520-BE and is rated at 310 horsepower. It is a six cylinder, turbocharged, direct drive, air cooled, horizontally opposed, fuel injected engine.

Fuel is stored in two main integral wing tanks, located outboard of the mid-wing splice. Fuel quantity held by each wing tank is 61 gallons. Each collector/sump tank has a submerged, electric, centrifugal fuel pump having 2 speed selections available. Low speed in intended for vapor suppression at altitude and may be used during normal engine operation both on the ground and in flight. The high pump speed should only be used in the event of an engine failure if an engine-driven pump failure is suspected. Fuel quantity is indicated by gauges located above the fuel selector handle.

The standard electrical power system is 28 V.D.C., negative ground, single main bus, with a 15.5 amp/hr. lead acid battery.


  1986 PA-46-310P
Piper Malibu
1989 PA-46-350P Piper Malibu Mirage
Model Cont. TSIO-520-BE Lyc. TIO-540-AE2A
No. Cylinders 6 6
Displacement 520 cu. in. 541.5 cu. in.
HP 310     350    
Carbureted Or Fuel Injected Fuel Injected Fuel Injected
Fixed Pitch/ Constant Speed Propeller Constant Speed Constant Speed
Fuel Capacity 122 gallons 122 gallons
Min. Octane Fuel 100 100
Avg. Fuel Burn at 75% power in standard conditions per hour 16 gallons Unknown
Weights and Capacities:    
Takeoff/Landing Weight Normal Category 4,100/3,900 4,300/4,100 lbs.
Takeoff/Landing Weight Utility Category N/A N/A
Standard Empty Weight 2,645 lbs. 2,790 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Normal Category 1,455 lbs. 1,510 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Utility Category N/A N/A
Baggage Capacity 200 lbs. 200 lbs.
Oil Capacity 8 quarts 12 quarts
Do Not Exceed Speed 201 KIAS 198 KIAS
Max. Structural Cruising Speed 173 KIAS 168 KIAS
Stall Speed Clean 69 Knots 69 Knots
Stall Speed Landing Configuration 58 Knots 58 Knots
Climb Best Rate 1170 FPM 1275 FPM
Wing Loading 23.4 lbs./sq. ft. 24.6 lbs./sq. ft.
Power Loading 13.2 lbs./hp 12.3 lbs./hp
Service Ceiling 25,000 ft. 25,000 ft.