July 26, 2011
By Mike Collins
Among other models, Piper Aircraft is displaying a mockup of its new PiperJet Altaire—as well as a new twin-engine Seminole LX—at EAA AirVenture 2011. “The Altaire is making its Oshkosh debut,” said Randy Groom, Piper executive vice president. The mockup of the jet’s fuselage and cabin is touring the United States.
The company has assigned nearly 200 engineers and production staff to its development, Groom said, and is working to complete $5.6 million in building improvements in order to prepare its Vero Beach, Fla., facilities for Altaire production, final assembly, completion, and deliveries.
Piper’s new iteration of the twin-engine Seminole, the Seminole LX, is an enhanced business version with an all-leather interior, AmSafe seatbelt airbags, and landing gear lobe fairings that offer a potential speed increase of 3 knots to 5 kt.
“The Seminole LX is really intended for the individual owner,” Groom said.
Expected at Oshkosh this weekend is Jon Roberts, a new Piper Archer owner and the company’s first Ready, Set, Fly student pilot. He purchased a 180-horsepower Archer LX that included flight training, which he is receiving at Shoreline Aviation Inc. in Marshfield, Mass. Roberts, an executive for CVS Caremark, will discuss his decision to learn to fly in his new Archer. He has ordered a Matrix for delivery in 18 months and will step up into that airplane once his private and instrument training are complete.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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