In December 2018, Bjarne Jorsal, co-founder, European Aircraft Sales, had the pleasure of ferrying a factory new Piper M600 across the North Atlantic, from the Piper factory in Vero Beach, Florida to Denmark. But how did the aircraft fare along the route?
According to the manufacturer, the Piper M600 single-engine turboprop is designed for owners seeking extra range and speed without the inflated operating cost. At the heart of the aircraft is its wing design, offering some very slick aerodynamics. Indeed, it’s because of the wing design that for such a small aircraft the M600 offers some truly impressive range.
That range would prove useful for the North Atlantic crossing that lay ahead. But there’s much more to the aircraft that made flying it long-haul through some harsh winter weather conditions relatively easy. Equipped with the new Garmin 3000 avionics suite the ferry flight was a remarkably easy task.
The Garmin G3000 cockpit aboard the Piper M600
We started the first leg of our transatlantic flight on a Saturday morning, leaving Vero Beach in beautiful 20°C weather and flew northwards at FL280, heading for Bangor, Maine.
Initially passing above some very poor weather over the Carolinas and in the DC area, we eventually found blue skies over New York, though temperatures were significantly lower than in Vero Beach, plummeting to –9°C by the time we approached Bangor. As beautiful as Bangor was, however, we decided to push on to Goose Bay, Canada, which remained open despite some snow.
Enabling us to monitor the situation there (and indeed all the way up the Eastern seaboard) the Piper M600 incorporated GDL 69A SXM Satellite Weather and L3 WX-500 StormScope.
On arrival at Goose Bay there were no hangars available, and with temperatures down to -16°C we checked the weather forecast and chose to head straight to Keflavik, Iceland, where the temperature was a comparatively mild +2°C. The en route weather showed headwinds of a maximum 25kts, so we set about re-filling the tanks of the Piper M600, put on our survival suits, and took-off into the night sky.
Veiw from the Piper M600 window over the North Atlantic
North Atlantic Handling Qualities
Cruising at FL270 more-or-less directly to Keflavik, the M600 behaved beautifully. This lovely flight across the North Atlantic invoked memories of the last time I’d ferried an aircraft the previous month when I'd picked up a factory new Pilatus PC-12 in Colorado.
On that occasion we’d decided to make a detour and visit Sondrestrom Air Base in Greenland, taking a walk on the icecap, but this time there was no need for a stop. We continued straight across to Keflavik.
After 5 hours and 15 minutes flying we landed with 1 hour 15 minutes of fuel remaining, which, for a single-engine turboprop in the Piper M600’s class is impressive. By now it was Sunday morning, and with only 3.5 hours flying time ahead of us we decided to refuel and move on.
Landing in Aalborg, the aircraft was ‘baptized’ by two of the airport firetrucks to mark the occasion of the arrival of the first Piper M600 in Denmark!
Two firetrucks 'baptize' the Piper M600 on its arrival at Aalborg
Functionality Designed for Challenging Conditions
In total, we’d been airborne for 16 hours, and (including stops) reached Aalborg 20 hours after leaving Vero Beach. Making the Piper M600 particularly adept for a December North Atlantic crossing was the fact it has heated fuel. This function ensured the fuel temperature never went below -29°C even though at one point the outside temperature was -60°C for several hours.
Helping us to manage the fuel situation the whole time, the G3000 avionics suite told us exactly how much fuel was in the tanks, what the remaining range was, and the condition of the weather around us.
Moreover, the Safe Taxi function built in to the Garmin display helped greatly. For example, on our arrival in Goose Bay we could barely see the runway lights in the harsh weather conditions, but with the combination of synthetic vision and Safe Taxi we found the taxiway to the FBO with relative ease. Without it, we would have had some difficulties.
To summarize, this North Atlantic crossing was a pleasure to undertake. Simply put, the Piper M600 flies extremely well and is a very stable aircraft – to the point that you really don’t want to stop flying.
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Piper M600 Performance & Specification Data
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