Piper CEO Simon Caldecott (left) delivers a Seminole to Redbird chairman Jerry Gregoire (center) as dealer Will Cutter looks on.
“Piper is strong and healthy.” That was the message from Piper Aircraft CEO Simon Caldecott at this year’s Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla. As was obvious from the canceling of the jet program late last year, Caldecott said the business has been realigned around the M-class airplanes (Matrix, Meridian, Malibu), twins, and training aircraft. “I want to get Piper heavily back into the training business,” he said.
Caldecott’s comments came during remarks celebrating the delivery of a Piper Seminole to Redbird Flight Simulations for the Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas. Company board chief Jerry Gregoire said they will use the airplane as part of the many studies the company is undertaking at the flight school and FBO. “My hope is that someday I’ll be able to walk out on the ramp and see Seminoles as far as the eye can see,” he said.
In addition to all of its production aircraft on staff, Piper is displaying a J-3 Cub. Doing so is further symbolism of the company’s commitment to the training market. And although Cub fans will continue to have to wait for any new J-3s from Piper, Caldecott openly embraces the aircraft’s heritage and history for the company.