In The Works: Piper Aircraft, PiperJet

 - November 24, 2009, 6:43 AM

Change has come fast and furious at Piper Aircraft during the past year, with sale of the company to Imprimis by majority owner American Capital in May, followed shortly thereafter by departure of president and CEO Jim Bass and most recently the resignation of president John Becker. Piper shipments of new aircraft have dropped during the past year, totaling 69 through the third quarter of this year compared with 195 in the same period last year. Piper turboprop Meridian shipments reached 33 through the third quarter and 52 for the whole of 2008. This year the company delivered 22 Meridians through the third quarter.

Following Becker’s resignation, CEO Kevin Gould was promoted to president, and he will continue as CEO as well. “The expansion of Kevin’s responsibilities and the augmentation of his management team directly reflect the strategic investments we’re making in Piper’s future,” said Stephen Berger, Piper chairman and managing partner of Imprimis.

Before the recent management changes, Becker had announced that the PiperJet program would be delayed by six months, with first deliveries now scheduled
for mid-2013 instead of late 2012. PiperJet buyers will be compensated with pricing that stays at $2.19 million and changing the Consumer Price Index escalator date from Oct. 1, 2007, to the beginning of October 2008. Flight testing continues on the PiperJet prototype, which has logged more than 230 hours. Piper also announced at the NBAA Convention that it selected Garmin’s G3000 touchscreen-control avionics suite for the single-engine jet.