September 2008 Issue
Piper Matrix: Strong Performer, Good Value
Frankly, we didnít think there would be a market for an unpressurized version of the Mirage, but Piper has proven otherwise.
The Piper Matrix is un-American. The rules clearly state that automobiles and airplanes are to get bigger, heavier, more complicated and less efficient as the production years pass. Go look it up. Cars outgrow garages and airplanes lose useful load. Simplifying an American vehicle is not acceptable. Increasing an airplaneís efficiency and useful load is probably a federal offense. The offenderóPiperóhas created a very good airplane thatís selling as fast as it can be built. Piper took a risk in creating a simplified, unpressurized version of its decades-old Malibu/Mirage. To the extent market history exists for such a decision, itís lousy. In 1980, Cessna produced an unpressurized version of the Model 340A, the 335, which did poorly and was dropped after only one year of production. In the new Matrix, Piper didnít make Cessnaís mistake of reducing performance of an existing model and it kept the same 350-HP Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A that the Mirage has. Piper also spent money on market surveys to assess demand for the proposed airplane as well as the right price point. Despite the current economic downturn, it appears the decision was a winner.
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