Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian, Wellsville, Mo., June 28, 2007 – All three occupants of the Meridian were killed when it broke up in flight in VMC near Wellsville. The turboprop took off from the Spirit of St. Louis Airport at 7:52 a.m. and was cleared to FL230. Radar contact was lost at about 8:15. The path of the wreckage was about four miles long.
In May, Piper Aircraft confirmed that it was looking for suitable sites to relocate the company’s headquarters and to establish manufacturing of its single-engine PiperJet. A significant factor in the move is insurance costs, which have risen tenfold due to hurricanes. “Insurance in Florida is skyrocketing,” said a Piper spokesman.
Air-taxi operators and potential operators used a recent VLJ forum, “Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets,” to outline their plans for using the new class of jets to offer point-to-point service.
In May, Piper Aircraft confirmed that it was looking for suitable sites to relocate the company’s headquarters and to establish PiperJet manufacturing. A significant factor in the move is insurance costs, which have risen tenfold due to hurricanes. “Insurance in Florida is skyrocketing,” said a Piper spokesman.
The race is on; the first manufacturer to certify, build and deliver a single-engine jet that offers reasonable performance and price might have the market to itself until Piper Aircraft’s PiperJet joins the fray in 2010. Unless Cirrus Design has far more up its sleeve than it has revealed thus far, it appears that Diamond will be first to market with its surprisingly roomy D-Jet.
Piper president and CEO Jim Bass said that orders for the single-engine PiperJet have reached 186 and that the company “has made great headway on the PiperJet.” The company probably won’t select the avionics package until later this year, he said, and Piper is considering building a new PiperJet assembly facility elsewhere than the company’s Vero Beach, Fla. headquarters.
The first flight-worthy Williams FJ44-3AP engine for the prototype PiperJet has arrived at Piper Aircraft’s factory in Vero Beach, Fla. Engineers are still fine-tuning the design, and wind-tunnel testing continues while technicians manufacture tooling for the prototype. Three to five prototypes will be built.
Piper Aircraft, whose dealers are working with Honda Aircraft to sell and service the HondaJet, continues with its plans to find a suitable location to build the single-engine PiperJet. While there is no joint effort in engineering and manufacturing of the two jets, “Piper continues to enjoy a strong cooperative relationship with Honda as both companies develop their respective jet programs,” said a Piper spokesman.
After taking a close look at all of the glass flight decks available on the market, Piper has selected Avidyne’s FlightMax Entegra integrated cockpit for its single-engine Saratoga HP and TC and the new Piper 6X and XT.
Piper Aircraft has announced 20th-anniversary models of its Malibu Mirage piston single and Malibu Meridian turboprop-single. Besides a commemorative logo and paint scheme, the milestone also includes some special pricing packages. The original piston-powered Malibu first hit the market in 1984 as Piper’s first pressurized, cabin-class single.