January 14, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
In a conference call Jan. 13, the 13 PiperSport dealers in the United States agreed to form the U.S. SportCruiser Dealers Association, using the previous name of the Rotax-powered aircraft before Czech Sport Aircraft and Piper Aircraft joined forces in January 2010, said Tom Ellery of San Diego Sport Flyers.
He was involved in the conference call. Piper announced Jan. 12 that it was ending its relationship with light-sport-aircraft builder Czech Sport Aircraft.
Ellery said he and other dealers will carry the message of the new association, one that was already providing service and warranty work and will continue to do so, to the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., Jan. 20 through 23.
A top priority for dealers is to learn what wrecked the marriage of Florida-based Piper and Czech Sport Aircraft, based in Kunovice, Czech Republic, a town that the Czech Sport Aircraft website calls the “Mecca of Czech aviation.” “We don’t want it to happen to us,” Ellery said. Ellery, who operates a flight school at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, Calif., was named the Southwest PiperSport distributor in December, and was to receive a 2010 PiperSport demo aircraft in January.
“We are going to continue service. Nothing happens to warranty work. The only thing we are losing is the name,” Ellery said. “We decided as a group to continue importing the aircraft.” He said dealers had no warning and were “in shock. We’ve got to clean this up,” he added.
Part of the new plan, in addition to the association, is to form a parts center in Florida. “There’s none now,” he said. There will also be a warranty fund established.
“It’s the best. I have a flight school and have seen people’s reaction to it. I have seen how it can take the wear and tear,” Ellery added. The airplane costs $143,000. “It’s the Cadillac of the fleet. We love the plane and are going to keep the current customers happy,” he said. Forty-five PiperSports were delivered in the United States during 10 months of 2010.
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