Piper Aircraft is patenting a new metal bonding technique that will be key to the manufacture of the PiperJet’s all-aluminum wing. According to Piper president and CEO James Bass, the intent is to eliminate the use of rivets in the production wing for the single-engine jet. Bass told AIN that the bonding technique allows for “lower labor costs and higher quality,” as well as an aerodynamically clean natural-laminar-flow wing.
Business Jets: In 2007 demand for business jets surges
New Piper Aircraft of Vero Beach, Fla., launched a customer-service initiative known as Piper Unlimited Liaison via Standards of Excellence, or Pulse. Company president Chuck Suma said Pulse is “nothing less than the new face of Piper. This is no quick fix. It is a long-term commitment to how we think customers should be treated in general aviation.” Pulse is an eight-phase program that is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
Piper Aircraft last month received FAA certification for flight into known icing for the company’s new Meridian turboprop single. Piper is implementing a retrofit scheduling program to bring the fleet of approximately 100 Meridians up to the latest production standards, and will include modifications to allow for the approval.
PIPER PA-46-310P OSTEEN, FLA., JUNE 14, 2002–Flying in an area of thunderstorms, Piper Malibu N9143B, a JetProp turboprop conversion, lost its right wing and left horizontal stabilizer in flight. The private pilot and two passengers were killed when the airplane crashed at about 8:35 p.m. The turboprop single was en route from Raleigh, N.C., to Marco Island, Fla.
When Piper introduced the Meridian in 2001, it marked the return of the Vero Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer to the turboprop market and the end of a nine-year hiatus since the Cheyenne production line went quiet in 1992.
Piper Aircraft is appealing FAA allegations of wrongdoing that have led to a proposed civil penalty fine of $222,300. According to the FAA, a March 2001 review of the Vero Beach, Fla. manufacturer’s production records showed the company “failed to properly maintain its approved quality systems and failed to ensure its aircraft conformed to the approved type design.” No accidents or incidents are attributed to the alleged violations.
Most of the major business airplane manufacturers believe that the growing inconvenience for business travelers on the airlines as a result of increased security after September 11 bodes well for the health of the industry in the mid- and far term.
Piper Malibu Meridian PA-46-500TP, Parowan, Utah, Jan. 16, 2007–The NTSB determined that the runway overrun of the Malibu Meridian at Parowan Airport was due to the inadequate design of the engine mount, which caused an uncommanded left turn during the landing roll and loss of directional control. The Meridian hit a snow bank. No one was injured in the accident.
Eric Mandemaker has assumed the role of CEO of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), replacing Brian Humphries, who has been named EBAA president.