- The Piper Matrix was originally released in 2007 and it is a single-engine light-sport aircraft that is powered by a single Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 6-cylinder turbocharged piston engine.
- The Piper Matrix features many of the same specs and performance capabilities as other M-Class models such as the Mirage - with the key distinction being that the Matrix is unpressurized.
- You can buy a brand-new Piper Matrix for roughly $750,000, but there are plenty of used models on the market that are sold between $400,000 and $600,000.
The Piper Matrix is one of the best-value single-engine planes on the market, but you want to carefully consider the specs of this aircraft before you buy it.
The Piper Matrix (PA-46) is a 6-person light sport aircraft that is powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A turbocharged 6-cylinder piston engine. This aircraft is part of the PA-46 family and it has many of the same performance capabilities as other M-Class models, but with an un-pressurized cabin.
After extensively researching the specs and performance capabilities of Piper’s planes, I have gathered enough information to create a thorough overview of the Matrix (PA-46). My research has indicated that despite the lackluster opening reviews, the Piper Matrix (PA-46) has proved itself as being a world-class plane that has reignited the popularity of single-engine unpressurized aircraft.
Piper Matrix (PA-46) Introduction
The Piper PA-46 Matrix is a light sport aircraft that has been in production since 2007 - made by the iconic, American aircraft manufacturer, Piper. The original PA-46 had its first flight back in 1979, but the success of this aircraft family has carried on to this day.
Although the technology and flight capabilities have changed with the newest M-Class models, the original stylistic design has stayed true to the original PA-46 in so many ways. The Matrix is a peculiar aircraft from Piper, as the manufacturer led many aviators to believe that the company was regressing when they announced their latest plane in 2007.
Instead of releasing a revamped and upgraded version of the Meridian/Mirage, Piper unveiled that it would be launching a single-engine unpressurized aircraft for its upcoming release. This resulted in many critics scratching their heads and feeling disappointed. While most people were expecting a state-of-the-art aircraft with the latest and greatest performance and tech, Piper seemed to be going backward with the Matrix.
My initial thought was that the Piper Matrix would be a major flop compared to the planes that competitive aircraft manufacturers were releasing around the time, but to my surprise - the Matrix won over a lot of pilots and critics (including myself). Much like with any industry, we often assume that bigger and more advanced equates to better. While this may often be true, it’s not always the case and the Piper PA-46 Matrix is a perfect example of how you can take a classic design with less tech and deliver everything that an aviator could want from a plane.
The simplistic specs of the Piper PA-46 Matrix are actually what made this such a popular aircraft. Instead of releasing an advanced version of the Meridian/Mirage, Piper took a step back and made an aircraft that was focused on the joy of flying - at a much more affordable price point than the bulk of the competition.
Piper’s approach with the Piper PA-46 Matrix resulted in a lot of pilots buying this plane over Cessna, Beech, and Cirrus models when it was released. The overall success of the Piper PA-46 Matrix has been astonishing and it serves as a reminder to focus on what a lot of pilots truly want out of a plane. That is why the popularity of the Piper PA-46 Matrix has not ceased and the aircraft is highly regarded by pilots and critics alike to this day.
Piper Matrix (PA-46) Specifications
The PA-46 is a single-engine aircraft that can comfortably seat 6 passengers (including the pilot). This plane features low wings and an airstair so that it can be easily accessed, which is why it is particularly popular among families and groups of friends.
I was very impressed with the increased payload capacity that Piper was able to achieve with the PA-46 Matrix. By simplifying the design of the Matrix from previous models such as the Mirage, pilots can bring more gear with them and passengers can carry extra baggage aboard the aircraft.
Although Piper downgraded the PA-46 by making this an unpressurized aircraft, the Matrix is still loaded with high-end tech equipment. Most notably the Matrix features Garmin 1000 avionics, which is a top-of-the-line system that you generally only find on expensive planes.
The 15-inch multi-functional display, as well as the 10-inch primary display, are both very well-positioned - allowing the pilot to stay focused without being distracted by screens. The advanced avionics give you detailed information about the engine stats, weather reports, air traffic, and other essential in-flight information in high resolution. These are the general specs of the PA-46 Matrix:
- Wingspan - 43ft
- Wing Area - 175 sq/ft
- Height - 11ft 4 inches
- Length - 28ft 11 inches
- Cabin Length - 12ft 4 inches
- Cabin Width - 4ft 1.5 inches
- Cabin Height - 3ft 11 inches
Piper Matrix Performance
If you are familiar with the Piper Mirage, you can expect to find a lot of the same specs and performance capabilities in the Matrix. Much like the Mirage, the Matrix is a single-engine aircraft that is powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A. This is a turbocharged piston engine with six cylinders and 350 horsepower.
Pilots who are on the market for buying a new aircraft evaluate the performance capabilities of a plane first and foremost. Although Piper does have planes that can outrun the Matrix in more ways than one, a major selling point of this single-engine aircraft is that you get very solid specs for what you pay - making it one of the best-value planes that you can buy.
With that said, make sure that you carefully consider the performance of the Piper Matrix before you buy it. The specs and capabilities of this plane are stellar, but the mere fact that the aircraft is not pressurized may be a red flag for a lot of pilots.
The Piper Matrix has impressive specs across the board and one of the key indicators of this is the aircraft’s speed. With the Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A engine powering the Matrix, this Piper plane can reach a maximum cruise speed of 395mph (213ktas).
For a single-engine aircraft of this caliber, the Matrix delivers the speed performance that most pilots would want from a plane with these specs. 395mph is more than enough speed to meet the needs of most pilots and it enables you to taxi efficiently from point A to point B.
Payload is often a major selling point for a lot of pilots, as having an increased capacity for cargo and luggage is an important quality - especially if you are using your aircraft for travel and taxi.
The PA-46 Matrix has a payload capacity of 1,305lbs, which is an increase from the Mirage. Although Piper has advertised the PA-46 Matrix with a useful load of 1,398lbs, the tested weight that the aircraft can actually handle is 1,305lbs, which should not be surpassed for obvious safety reasons.
Take Off & Landing Weight
The payload capacity needs to be factored into the maximum takeoff weight of the Matrix, which Piper has advertised as 4,340lbs. With that said, I also noticed that Piper has advised that pilots adhere to a maximum landing weight of 4,123lbs.
The fuel capacity of the PA-46 Matrix is a very reasonable 122 gallons - equating to 732lbs. 2 gallons of the total fuel capacity are reserved, making the total usable fuel of the PA-46 Matrix 120 gallons, which will weigh 720lbs.
The official range that you can achieve from a Piper Matrix can vary depending on a number of different factors. However, with a full tank, you can expect to get a range of about 988 miles while cruising at 17,500ft.
When testing the aircraft, Piper mentions that this range estimate includes a 45-minute reserve, which should always be left for safety protocols. Your cruise speed will also affect your fuel efficiency, which is why Piper recommends that you fly at 202ktas - instead of the maximum 213ktas.
How Much is a Piper Matrix (PA-46)?
One of the main reasons that the Piper (PA-46) Matrix was such a huge success is due to its very reasonable price tag. If you are looking to buy a brand-new Piper Matrix, you should expect to pay roughly $750,000 for a standard model directly from the manufacturer.
While this may be more than some of the budget planes on the market, the specs and performance capabilities that you get for what you pay are impressive, to say the least. Piper surprised the aviation industry with the Matrix, as they were able to release a top-notch aircraft at a much better price than what other similar planes are sold for.
By taking the original design of their advanced planes such as the Mirage, Piper downgraded certain features to lower the price tag and make it a more affordable aircraft. The key reason behind this is that the Piper Matrix is not pressurized. An aircraft with a pressurized cabin adds a lot to the dollar value of a plane - making it more expensive to build and maintain.
In addition, pressurizing an aircraft means that you need to install a bulk load of additional features to make it safe for high-altitude flying. The Matrix allowed Piper to mitigate all of these costs to keep the final price of the aircraft low.
How Much Are Piper Matrix (PA-46) Upgrades & Modifications?
While the initial price tag for a brand new Piper Matrix (PA-46) sits at around $750,000, you can always choose to buy a more advanced version of the aircraft.
Adding modifications, customizations, and making special requests from the manufacturer will naturally result in a bigger price tag, which can greatly vary depending on the additional features that you want your aircraft to have.
The most common upgrades that some pilots choose to add to their Matrix are advanced avionics. There are various avionics packages that Piper has available for the Matrix and you can ultimately decide for yourself what extra features you want your aircraft to have.
Piper always tries to make its planes as versatile as possible for its customers, which is why they are often willing to work with you to design the perfect plane for your needs. However, if you want advanced avionics outside of what Piper offers in a stock Matrix, you need to be ready to pay for it, as this can add anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000 onto the price tag of the aircraft - depending on what you opt for.
How Much is a Used Piper Matrix (PA-46)?
The market is flooded with used aircraft and you can save yourself a considerable amount of money by buying a plane secondhand. With the Piper Matrix being out for a while now, there are some solid used options on the market that are very much worth buying - provided that the plane has been looked after.
With that said, the cost of a used Piper Matrix can greatly vary depending on the condition of the plane and how much it’s been flown. On average, you should expect to pay around $500,000 for a used Piper Matrix.
However, this figure can fluctuate between $400,000 and $600,000. I’ve found that older models of the Matrix tend to be a bit cheaper and are normally between $400,000 and $500,000 - whereas newer planes tend to be priced higher at around $600,000.
You may also find modified and upgraded versions of the Piper Matrix. Depending on what has been improved and upgraded, this will ultimately affect the price tag of the aircraft - with some used models potentially costing around as much as a new Matrix.
If you are considering a used Matrix, I would highly recommend that you conduct a thorough inspection of the aircraft before you buy it. Secondhand planes are a great way to save money, but you need to be 100% confident that it is safe to fly and has been looked after by the previous owner.
What Kind of Insurance is Available for the Piper Matrix (PA-46)?
The great thing about owning a PA-46 Matrix over other pressurized aircraft with similar specs is that insuring this plane is considerably cheaper. Pressurized planes come with increased risks for several reasons, which is why insurance prices tend to, quite literally, skyrocket the higher you take your aircraft.
The PA-46 is one of the most affordable planes that you can insure since it is not pressurized - making liability coverage packages much more reasonable. This factor alone makes the PA-46 Matrix a more advantageous plane to own - at least on your wallet. Compared to other Piper planes such as the mirage, you can save a fortune over the years on insurance costs alone.
Much like with any aircraft, liability coverage is going to be the essential insurance package that you will be required to have if you want to operate the PA-46 Matrix. This is the most basic coverage that you can opt for and insurance companies offer various liability packages - with some being more affordable than others.
With that said, getting additional coverage is never a bad idea if you can afford it. Buying an aircraft is a major investment and the feeling of security that you get from knowing that your plane is fully protected is worth the extra insurance costs for a lot of pilots.
If you want to cover the structure of the actual aircraft you will need to get hull insurance.
Unlike liability coverage, hull insurance is optional and you can choose to skip it if you want.
Depending on how old your PA-46 Matrix is, you may not want the additional costs each month, but if you are considering buying a brand new PA-46 Matrix, having hull coverage may be a smart investment in the long run.
Is the Piper Matrix (PA-46) Worth Buying?
All in all, the Piper Matrix is an incredible aircraft that has won over a lot of pilots and critics. This is a simplistic, single-engine aircraft without a pressurized cabin - making it an amazing option for hobbyists and private pilots.
If you do not need to reach the max elevation that a pressurized aircraft can deliver, the Piper Matrix is definitely worth buying. This is a reliable and well-designed aircraft that has so much to offer, which is why it is so popular among pilots.
Not everyone has the bankroll to dish out $1 million+ on a high-end plane with a pressurized cabin. Piper’s clever design of the Matrix has put this aircraft within the financial reach of a much wider range of customers - making this a great value plane for its specs and performance capabilities.
In addition to the upfront costs of buying the Piper Matrix, maintaining it over the years is also going to be much more affordable compared to other aircraft. Pressurized aircraft are much more expensive to maintain and you can save yourself a lot of money by purchasing a downgraded model like the Matrix.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood