• Review: Carenado PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian XP

    PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian

    Publisher: Carenado

    Review Author:
    Joshua Moore

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here

    Introduction And History

    The Piper PA46 500TP Meridian is a relatively young aircraft, but with older roots. Derived from the piston powered Piper PA46 Malibu and Malibu Mirage that first saw production in 1983, the Piper Meridian is the flagship aircraft from Piper and is unmatched in cost for performance and utility. Perhaps the most notable change from the Meridian's predecessors is the power plant. Equipped with a PT6A-42A turbine, this business turboprop has some very impressive numbers that make it an attractive airplane to fly even in a simulator. With a landing distance over a 50 foot obstacle of just 2,110 feet, the Meridian can land in many smaller airports making it an excellent choice for many pilots. It also boasts a max service ceiling of 30,000 feet, a max range of 1,000 nm, and a max cruising speed of 260 KIAS. These impressive specs give you the flexibility to fly across the United States with just two stops, and much of Europe nonstop. With that said, let's find out how Carenado represents the Piper Meridian in X-Plane 11!

    Carenado - PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian for X-Plane

    Documentation And First Impressions

    Like all of Carenado's aircraft, the Piper Meridian ships with the usual array of documents. This includes Normal Operating Procedures, Emergency Procedures, Performance Tables, Reference Speeds, Recommended Settings, and a basic guide of how to use the enhanced G1000 equipped in the airplane. It would have been nice to see a tutorial flight provided, though the Normal Operating Procedures PDF walks you through any relevant information you need to know. I did find myself struggling to locate some of the items listed, and a couple of the items mentioned in the checklist did not function, such as the oxygen test.

    The Carenado Meridian ships with five liveries and a blank white livery, presumably for repainting. Three liveries are from the United States, one from Germany, and one from the Czech Republic. Upon loading the aircraft into the simulator for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was on FPS. I rarely had any issues with FPS drops when using max texture resolution and high settings, something I didn't expect from an aircraft from Carenado.

    Carenado - PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian for X-Plane     Carenado - PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian for X-Plane

    Carenado - PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian for X-Plane     Carenado - PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian for X-Plane

    1. Bump's Avatar
      Bump -
      The Carenado G1000 units are good for providing flight displays, but I could not use them for flight planning because the knobs on the PFD and FMS units did not work properly. Carenado should have used the default Laminar units instead. My experience is that this is a good looking aircraft suitable for VFR flight, but not very useable planning and execution IFR flights.
    1. Curtis/Chris's Avatar
      Curtis/Chris -
      Initially I had IFR program problems also. For my first few flights with this aircraft, I had problems with non- or limited function keys for the display screens.

      However, I realized that it was my error, not the plane’s fault. (It would be nice if all the functions were clearly documented.) I was used to using only the keys and knobs at specific screens to control them and was just going straight to what I was used to doing.

      The Malibu has an input panel that controls most flight planning. It is easy to use. This input panel will function as a pop-up if you figure out where to click. There is also a separate pop-up window that has the knobs and buttons for controlling the autopilot.
    1. Curtis/Chris's Avatar
      Curtis/Chris -
      It is a very well made sim aircraft and flies well, so I didn’t want people to think it was flawed or lacking. It flies very well and is easier than most to program an IFR .fms flight plan than most of the X-Plane 11 planes I’ve flown. This second autopilot window, unknown, undocumented may be the source of others’ turmoil.
      Hit “SEL” where you see “< SEL >” to open the other window.
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