PiperJet To Shed Its Marionette Strings and Fly Soon

 - May 29, 2008, 11:49 AM

The PiperJet prototype appears poised to make an on-schedule first flight in the next two months as static testing winds down on the airplane. As of yesterday, the jet single’s bonded metal wing and horizontal tail sections were tethered to a static test rig via a series of cables, looking much like a marionette. But those cables will be shed in about a week before the jet single is prepped for first flight. Piper v-p of engineering John Becker told AIN that the airplane’s Williams FJ44-3AP engine, as well as its electrical, avionics and fuel systems, will be installed before power-on, engine and ground runs begin late next month or in early July. “Over the next month, you’ll see a dramatic difference in the prototype,” he said. “We have all the parts needed to complete the jet, and the flight-test crew is already flying a PiperJet simulator in anticipation of first flight.” Piper president and CEO James Bass said the $2.2 million jet will fly soon but noted that safety will not be compromised in the process. “It’ll fly when it’s ready.”