October 2008 Issue
I am very surprised that the Piper Matrix is selling so well. I suppose glitz, fancy new paint and a glass panel supersede the pragmatic need for a very important element: pressurization. The Malibu is relatively slow below 10,000 feet; the wing with its high aspect ratio being designed to shine in the upper teens and flight levels. Piper should have compelled Lycoming to reconfigure its Matrix engine for LOP operations. In my TCM Malibu, I burn 6 GPH less for comparable speed (205 knots) than a Lycoming Mirage. I strongly suspect that Matrix owners, after a year or two of wistfully watching Malibu/Mirages climb above them into on-top blue skies while they bump along in the clouds sucking on the oxygen tube, may come to rue the day they rejected pressurization. Six thousand hours, including 4000 hours in a pressurized Malibu, have told me that I would rather give up flying than go back to a non-pressurized airplane.
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