Piper Malibu: Past and Present

The innovative Malibu set the stage for the age of successful pressurized piston singles.

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From the start, the Malibu was a beautiful airplane, on the ramp and in the air. The high aspect ratio wing, sleek fuselage and classic tail combine to make it a distinctive and thoroughly modern looking airplane even today.
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The landing behavior of the airplane is solid and workmanlike. It does have the tendency to "dart" after lowering the nose on landing if you don't take out rudder correction before it settles.
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The Continental TIO-520 provided just 310 horses but created a package so efficient and so long legged that it retains many diehard fans even after all these years, though maintenance costs on this engine can be high.
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An excellent Bendix/King Silver Crown avionics package was standard. This one featured standard HSI, an early RNAV unit and weather radar.
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As is the case today, the Malibu is defined by the cabin-class interior and airstair door. Piper got it right the first time.
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There's plenty of room for bags behind the rear seats and in the nose. A heavy- duty cargo net keeps bags where they're supposed to be, even in rough air.
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Aesthetically, the original cabin was dominated by these outrageous, fine Corinthian leather seats. They are not available even as an option on today's Mirage.