Launched in February, the Piper Meridian M500 (piper.com) turboprop suits owner-pilots seeking to step up from a piston aircraft. The Meridian models are renowned for being easy to operate, and the M500 adds even more automation. An autopilot level-mode feature is standard equipment. With the touch of a button, the M500 autonomously assumes a straight and level attitude. The system also features electronic stability protection, which ensures that even with the autopilot off, the aircraft will fly within safe parameters.
The aircraft, which is pressurized, seats two in the cockpit and four in the cabin—in adjustable fold-down club seating. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A turbine, the M500 can fly 1,150 miles without refueling and can reach a maximum cruising speed of 300 mph. It is priced at $2.24 million.