Wing Spar Issue Grounds Piper M600 Fleet

Mandatory service bulletin requires a one-time inspection of wing spars in 32 in-service airplanes.

Piper M600
Piper voluntarily issued a mandatory service bulletin for the M600 after production workers identified a wing spar issue.Piper

Piper has grounded the in-service fleet of M600 single-engine turboprops after production workers identified a section of the aft wing spar that did not meet designed measurement tolerances. Piper notified the FAA of the discrepancy and ordered wing spar inspections to determine if the issue affects other airplanes, according to Piper CEO Simon Caldecott, who provided an update at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this afternoon.

“An issue with a vendor-sourced part was discovered in the wing,” he said. “Piper voluntarily decided to issue a mandatory service bulletin out of an abundance of caution. We hope to get the fleet back in the air very shortly.”

Because the vendor did not have detailed data on the aft wing spars in the rest of the M600 fleet, there is no way of knowing whether the parts meet tolerances without checking them, Caldecott said.

The inspection procedure requires draining the fuel from both wings and measuring the thickness of the aft wing spar on both wings in 32 in-service airplanes and another eight in dealer inventory.

If the wing spars on other airplanes are found to be within tolerance, the M600 fleet will be cleared to fly again. Caldecott did not speculate about what remedy would be necessary if other spars are found to be out of tolerance.

Introduced last year, the M600 is an updated version of the PA-46 Meridian that features an all-new wing design.