My 1987 Malibu had already been converted to the 550C engine, but the plane still had major departure issues until I took advantage of Chad Menne's propeller conversion.
Flying out of the hot Mid-Atlantic in the summer at gross weight was uncomfortable at best. The 550 engine was of great help, but the two bladed prop could not deliver the thrust needed. Chad's beautifully engineered conversion literally changed the aircraft. I no longer experienced the 80-110 knot sinking transition feeling, now the aircraft accelerated to Vy without a lag. The cooling mod allowed me to run comfortably in the low 300s, no matter what the temperature, ROP or LOP. The Hartzell is a real, fully tested and certified propeller, and as we have seen recently, the other conversion leaves a great deal to be desired.
This conversion is the first place I would put any money when considering an upgrade, it really makes it a new machine.
I have used Malibu Aerospace for the last 2 years, after determining that my AMO did not have the required capability to properly service my 2004 Piper Meridian. I was tired of trying to source parts more efficiently myself and continually having our mechanics call the MMOPA maintenance line. After an initial trip to Chad’s facility, I knew I had found the right guy – he brought everything up to current status, including all SB’s and even a couple of recommended service letters. He does all my major inspections and flies the airplane after every maintenance event.
Chad is in the loop on everything PA46 – as a result of recent findings related to litigation over an accident, it was determined that a loose nut on a spar in the tail cone may have been the culprit. Last year, Chad, being aware of this case, began inspecting all the parts in question on every aircraft coming through his shop, and found almost all of them were not tightened to spec, including mine. More recently, I had an autopilot gremlin and did not want to hand fly it all the way to Anoka County, which is not exactly next door to our home base in Alberta. Our home base AMO, as usual, was thinking that this would require a major investigation and repair effort - one call to Chad, a swap of the PFD’s, and problem solved in an hour.
I look forward to my KANE trips and enjoy Chad’s company – a very interesting guy. I feel much safer with Chad looking after the majority of my maintenance, and it is definitely a plus for resale value of the aircraft. Many people already feel the same as myself, and I (selfishly) do not want him to be any busier than he is currently, but, in the interest of promoting the safety of the PA46 fleet, he is much too valuable a resource not to share with other PA46 owners.
Today I flew back from SJC (San Jose Intl) to FNL (Fort Collins-Loveland) at FL250. My Malibu has the TSIO550 engine mod, it's Hgh-Speed Cruise is 32.5"Hg.
In the past, I was never able to run at 32.5" manifold pressure above about FL220: the cylinder head temps were right on the red line on my analog gauge, so I had to reduce power to approx 30"Hg in order to keep the temps down. Well, today, I climbed directly from sea level to FL250 and set the plane up for high-speed cruise at 32.5" Manifold Pressure. I leaned to 50 degrees rich of peak at 22gph fuel flow. This is as fast as my Malibu can fly... that's why I bought it!
Just as you advertised: my cylinder head temp was almost exactly 40 degrees cooler: top of green! Wow! At these settings, N637BE was flying at 238ktas! Outside air temp was -20C (somewhat warm), so at -40C, I'm sure I'll see 245ktas! Malibus aren't supposed to fly that fast! It's absolutely amazing what a few extra horses can do in the thin air of FL250! These numbers were verified by the Garmin 530, the airspeed calibration ring, and my independent calculations.
You have got yourself, one happy customer!!!
I converted 62CA to a JetPROP in June-Sept 09 and stopped at Malibu Aerospace on the way home from Spokane. Chad stayed late Friday to check several issues and offered to fly me home to South Bend, IN in his plane, while 62CA stayed there awaiting parts.
The staff at Malibu Aerospace is outstanding. They respond immediately to my frequent inquiries and are responsive to my cost concerns.
It is comforting to arrive at Malibu Aerospace and see all the PA 46 family there. I believe the focus on PA 46's makes them experts regarding the maintenance of all PA 46's. My plane will continue its flights to KANE for service.
On November 27, 2010, we lost power at FL180 in our 1995 Mirage, the following minutes were filled with descending to 12,000 ft quickly, selecting an airport to glide into in hopes we would not be faced with a fire. Just thinking about this incident brings back uncomfortable memories of the engine oil sliding up the windscreen. As we glided into the rural airport and rolled up to the apron we felt fortunate to have landed safely.
We soon discovered the engine to be a total loss and hired the only A+P on the field to install a factory reman. When told that the engine was installed we secured the services of Chad Menne and his A+P Wilder Morey to inspect the engine installation along with performing the return to service flights. When Malibu Aerospace and myself arrived at this out of the way airport parts and tools were scattered around the hangar floor in piles, that is a scary picture. Chad and Wilder worked 50 hours over two days to bring our aircraft back to flyable condition. Without their PA46 knowledge and professional approach, our plane would still be setting at this airport in the hands of an unqualified A+P.
You guessed it, Malibu Aerospace is our new repair facility for maintenance, upgrades including their extensive knowledge of a PA46. Their skills have fully satisfied me with a high confidence level of flying an airworthy plane. It is my recommendation to call and visit with Chad or Wilder with any of your PA46 issues or upgrades.
Hi Chad, Ketti, and Nathan, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the work you just finished on my Malibu with the TSIO 550C, and 3 blades. I arrived thinking I may have needed some cylinder work on the 720-hour engine. Once we started examining the cylinders, we found worn cylinders, rusted pushrods, pitted lifters, a sanded down cam, and enough other signs that we acknowledged a tear-down We decided to overhaul all six cylinders, and rebuild the engine. You were able to get all this done in just 3 weeks, and that was for checking all the crankshaft, replacing the mains, cam, and essentially overhauling the entire engine, with a mixture of practical overhauled, and many new parts.
Nathan put it back together like the master mechanic he is, and Chad test flew it, and you perfected the normal tune-up items. Matt and I flew it home Friday, and it ran the best it ever has. We were able to attain 214 ktas on 23gph, ROP, at FL160. At LOP, we were getting 200 ktas on 17gph. We were breaking in the engine. You not only found all the items on the engine but, corrected 6 other important items that needed attention on the Malibu. After flying these PA-46's for 23 years, I can only say I am impressed with your work, attention to detail, overall knowledge of the engines, and airframe, and prices. You and your staff have a great attitude.
Thanks, you are a real asset to the fleet.
Malibu Aerospace took a PA46 rookie and made him feel like he had owned the aircraft for years. Between Chad Menne who managed the acquisition of the aircraft, Doug Hiltz and his team performing the pre-buy inspection and annual, and Brad Ludlow for orchestrating a great customer experience, I felt like I had the best team in the business working with me. I thank the team at Malibu Aerospace for making my first experience in aircraft ownership a positive one.
Recently, I purchased a 2001 Piper Meridian for use in my business. After going through the aircraft selection and purchase transaction, I can say with total confidence that using Malibu Aerospace was the best decision I made in the process. Chad Menne and the team at Malibu Aerospace are the P46/PA46 type specialists. They not only fix these planes, they fly them. A lot. And that’s a big difference when compared to your local mechanic or even the Piper service center staffed with non-pilot A&P/IAs.
Malibu Aerospace knows every blade, linkage, wire, rivet, nut, bolt and pixel on the P46 airframe. This is not an accident. It is because they do 80+ annual inspections a year on them, most with a test flight before and/or after! They know the air-frame “cold”, not only by model year and serial number, but by heart, instantly, from memory. Just ask a question and you get an immediate, unqualified, accurate response from the type experts. This deep pool of specialty knowledge comes only from years of experience working on these airplanes, and a professional passion for the highest quality work standards throughout. To the customer, this saves significant labor time because you do not pay your local mechanic to learn the intricacies of your specialized P46 airframe at your expense with hourly billing. Most importantly, it adds an immeasurable margin of safety because the Malibu Aerospace team draws on extensive field experience to communicate what has been problematic in the fleet from plane-to-plane, model-to-model, or year-to-year as it applies to your particular plane.
The Piper maintenance manual says one thing and most A&Ps can read it. The Malibu Aerospace team goes above and beyond. They follow the manual and know how to “fix it”, but they also know from experience what the fleet service history has been, what typically goes wrong on which planes, what the warning signs are, what the alternative costs are, what the best trade-offs are considering solutions they have seen and implemented in the past, and very importantly, what actions are most likely to avoid future related problems on any given issue. Going through the pre-purchase inspection with Malibu Aerospace revealed a handful of potential issues that another very well-respected Piper maintenance shop failed to identify for the previous owner on my plane.
Many of these were small issues that should have been corrected. But two were potentially serious problems that left me wondering why anyone would even bother with a non-type specialist shop. Since the inspection at Malibu Aerospace, the plane has performed flawlessly. Yes, it was inconvenient to ferry the plane to Minneapolis (KANE) for the pre-buy. But it paid a return-on-investment ten-times the ferry cost in the form of a quality job and the added safety margin I know I received from the work done by Malibu Aerospace. The team’s responsiveness and flexibility to ferry the plane for me were also the best I have experienced in 15 years of flying, and made the process relatively painless. After the excellent experience, I can say that I will not take my plane anywhere else for the annual inspection. I highly recommend this shop to current and would-be PA46/P46 owners.
The cooling mod worked wonders for my 08 Matrix. Unless you know what you're looking for, you won't even notice that the mod was done from a cosmetic standpoint. CHTs dropped by 30-40deg across the board. I think Piper should buy the STC and incorporate it on the line. It's that valuable!
The plane flew like a charm. I did the 65% 70% and 75% power for an hour each as you suggested. Had to use higher fuel setting than usual to keep CHT's below 380 but it was hot out down south. The CHT's were slightly higher than usual as you mentioned. I couldn't believe the engine on run up and takeoff roll - the power was amazing!
Thanks to you and your team at Malibu Aerospace. Absolutely first rate customer service.
I really appreciate your taking care of the last minute transponder issue, that actually saved the day for me, and your team made things happen so smoothly!
Brett did a fabulous job of keeping us informed throughout the annual and top overhaul - answering my questions, helping us use Malibu Advantage and making us feel like we were your only customer -
which I know isn't true but it is great to have each customer feel. We also appreciated your frankness about what really needed to be done and your clear focus on getting things done in a professional and efficient manner.
I hope to see you at Oshkosh, the MMOPA convention or some FBO.
it look like readable English.
I've flown six hours the past two days and the plane is doing great. I love how responsive it is to the yoke movements now. I think the greatest improvement is in the engine CHT temps and rate of climb. In the past, I could never get better than a 500 FPM climb past 10,000'. It seemed like it didn't want to go and if I forced it the CHTs came up. That's not a problem now
The final invoice was several thousand lower than I expected. Gotta love that!
Anyway, thanks for taking care of my airplane. I have confidence that it will perform as designed now and I'll see you guys next May.
LED Lights! The way your LED taxi lights came very handy on my first trip after installation: I was flying into KPDK late in the afternoon, with the sun low on the horizon, directly on my tail. There was oncoming traffic at my 12 o'clock climbing out of KPDK and ATC called him to advise of me.
About 3 seconds later he said "yeah, I got his lights". I had the taxi lights on pulse just for that exact reason, and I don't think he would have seen them if they had not carried the brightness of your LED lights. Thanks guys !!'
I love my M-5 conversion. I've owned my plane for 6 years. When I got it, I had my 520 rebuilt. As it came time to rebuild it again, I checked out all options. This option made sense on all levels.
With 20 plus years of Hindsight, this is what the Malibu wanted to be in the beginning. A little more engine with more cooling and the best prop on the market. The team at Malibu Aerospace has taken the best of all options. The M-5 Conversion is the whole package.
After the conversion, we stopped at Malibu Aerospace to have them review the installation. I've had a difficult year with my old engine, but having them spend a day under the cowling gave me the confidence I needed in my plane.
These guys know Malibu.