It all began when Paul “Mac” Langston identified a need for an aeromedical helicopter program in the Florida panhandle. Langston was literally born into aviation, since his dad was a Quincy, Fla.-based cropduster for tobacco and cotton farmers from Florida to Louisiana.
Piper Aircraft laid off another 150 workers last month, not because of the slow economy, as in previous layoffs, but due solely to last year’s ADs and recall of Textron Lycoming engines, according to a company spokesman. Piper Saratogas and Mirages are among the airplanes powered by Lycoming engines. Piper also claimed the problem stopped the “step up” process wherein owners of Saratogas and Mirages move up to the Meridian turboprop.
Piper Aircraft is patenting a new metal-bonding technique that will be key to the manufacture of the all-aluminum, $2.2 million PiperJet. According to Piper president and CEO James Bass, the intent is to eliminate the use of rivets altogether in the production wing and limit the number of rivets used in the main structure for the single-engine jet. Piper is also patenting a nondestructive testing system for its bonded structures.
After the PiperJet was announced at NBAA 2006, Piper was besieged with unsolicited offers by officials from more than 60 cities to move production of the single-engine jet to their communities. This spring Piper whittled down the site selection to three cities–Vero Beach, Fla., where the manufacturer is currently located; Oklahoma City; and Albuquerque, N.M.–and a decision is expected soon.
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.
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.