July 30, 2014
By Thomas B Haines
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena. The company has seen success internationally, but especially in the past couple of years is delivering more and more trainers to U.S. schools, including CAE, Florida Institute of Technology, and ATP.
At EAA AirVenture, Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott said the company recently sold two new Arrows to Kent State University in Ohio to serve as complex trainers. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently received five Arrows. Under an alliance, FIT now has 13 Pipers in its fleet and the University of North Dakota is flying three Seminole twins.
To keep its largest twin, the Seneca V competitive, Piper recently certified the Garmin GFC 700 flight control system, replacing the S-Tec Fifty-Five X autopilot that was certified when the Seneca first sported the Garmin G1000 displays in 2013.
Hours after Textron Aviation announced that its Cessna 172 would be certified with a diesel engine, Caldecott noted that the Pipe Archer DX diesel model, certified last year with essentially the same Continental engine that Cessna is using, has been to 11 countries in Europe on tour. The Lycoming avgas-powered Archer TX sells for $338,500, whereas the diesel model goes for $399,500, about $35,000 less than the Cessna Skyhawk JT-A diesel.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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