Piper is the first aircraft manufacturer to certify Garmin’s digital GWX 8000 StormOptix weather radar in a piston-engine or turboprop airplane, the company announced at EAA AirVenture.
Garmin unveiled the lightweight GWX 8000 in April, and features of the new radar include a 16-color palette with “greater color contouring” that helps pilots interpret weather storm cell severity. The radar’s 3D volumetric scanning with automatic tilt adjustment scans and depicts hazardous weather and provides hail and lightning prediction, turbulence detection, advanced ground clutter suppression, and predictive wind-shear detection (an optional add-on). To help pilots avoid large storms, Garmin’s Weather Attenuated Color Highlight (Watch) technology can mitigate attenuation effects.
The M-series Pipers are selling at a fast clip, according to president and CEO John Calcagno, with sales up 20 percent year-to-date. M500 turboprops are sold out through the second quarter of 2022, he added, and only a few M350 piston single and M600 turboprop slots are open. At the Oshkosh show, the M600 on display sold before the show even opened.
On the trainer front, the Archer piston-single and Seminole piston twin are sold out through 2022, and the Pilot 100/100i trainer is sold out through the second quarter of next year.
“We continue to focus on product development,” he said. “We’re optimistic about the overall market.” Piper dealers have the lowest inventory in 10 years, he added.
At AirVenture, Piper delivered a Pilot 100i to the RedTail Flight Academy, one of an order of two funded by the private donation of a Sikorsky helicopter that was sold to raise funds for the trainers. Brigadier General Charles McGee, one of the original Tuskegee Airman, was on hand at the delivery ceremony, having arrived from Virginia’s Dulles International Airport on a Falcon 900LX flight donated by Dassault Falcon Jet.