November 3, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Piper President John Becker resigned effective Dec. 1 as reported in an announcement to Piper employees from Piper official Steve Johnston. The brief announcement said in full:
“Piper’s President, John Becker, announced today that he will be leaving the Company on December 1st to pursue other career opportunities.
“John first joined Piper over 20 years ago and was responsible for overseeing many projects critical to the success of the Company, including the Meridian and PiperJet programs.
“We would like to express our deep appreciation to John for his many years of faithful service to the people of Piper, and wish him all the best in the future.”
“Piper has been more than a company to me … it’s been a family,” said John D. Becker. “The time, however, has come for me to move on and pursue other goals that are fundamental to my life. In so doing, I know I leave Piper in very capable hands – especially with an engineering team that I have recruited and watched grow into one of the best and most formidable groups within general aviation today.”
A Piper spokesman said there would be no statement on the announcement.
In other Piper news, a proposal for an airworthiness directive based on an April and a September service bulletin has been issued by the FAA for incorrectly installed control columns in 42,000 Piper aircraft. (Additional models were added in the september bulletin issued by Piper.) The solution is a one-time, non-invasive inspection and, if necessary, repair. The public has until Dec. 29 to comment. Aircraft affected are models PA-28, PA-32, PA-34, and PA-44 series. AOPA is reviewing the proposed airworthiness directive. "The safety of our customers is our first concern," said Piper spokesman Mark Miller. "In all probability no action will be required in the vast majority of these inspections."
Piper chief executive Kevin J. Gould will assume the company’s presidency effective Dec. 1. Three other Piper executives have been promoted to vice president positions and one to a senior director position.
Gould will add the president’s title and responsibilities to his current position as CEO upon Piper President John D. Becker’s resignation, also effective Dec. 1.
“The expansion of Kevin’s responsibilities and the augmentation of his management team directly reflect the strategic investments we’re making in Piper’s future,” said Stephen W. Berger, Piper’s chairman and managing partner of parent company Imprimis. “Kevin has an exciting and aggressive vision for the company that will enhance the owner and pilot experience at every level of the Piper product line. We will deliver the breakthrough PiperJet to the market and dramatically expand Piper’s global market presence, especially in Asia. Kevin’s team has the experience and commitment to deliver on this vision and help solidify a durable global leadership position for Piper. We are prepared to support that vision with substantial new capital.”
Jeff Barger was named vice president of manufacturing operations. Dennis D. Olcott is the company’s new vice president of engineering. Derek Zimmerman will become vice president for the supply chain and aftermarket development. Mary Messuti is Piper’s new senior director, Asia, a newly formed position.
A small team of specialists at NASA’s Langley Research Center has taken to the skies in a Falcon jet hunting bugs.
It takes off and lands like a helicopter, cruises like an airplane, and autorotates like an autogyro.
In its quest to bring a roadable aircraft to production, Terrafugia turns to crowdsource funding website Wefunder.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.