Piper Aircraft has received an order for 50 single-engine Archers that will be shipped to China and distributed to flight schools and general aviation companies to meet growing demand for pilot training.
China Air Shuttle, Piper’s Beijing-based dealer in China, will begin taking deliveries in the second quarter of 2017. The company plans to add airplanes to its inventory “to meet the fast-growing flight training market in China,” according to a Piper Aircraft news release.
The Archer’s standard instrumentation includes Garmin G1000 glass cockpit systems, with Garmin’s G500 avionics suite an optional avionics package available to fleet customers. A specially created flight school interior “designed to withstand the rigors of flight training” also is standard in the 128-knot-cruise airplane that is powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360-A4M engine.
China Air Shuttle, incorporated in 2015, will distribute the Archers to several major flight schools and general aviation companies in the region, with Ruixiang Flight Academy named as the launch customer, according to Li Chen, chairman of China Air Shuttle. The academy previously purchased two Piper PA-44 Seminoles that it operates in its ab initio flight training program.
“The Seminole and Archer share many common parts—in fact, nearly 80-percent are interchangeable, which results in lower operating costs and higher efficiency. These factors were the primary reasons that we selected the Piper Archer as the single engine trainer and make both aircraft highly marketable to a flight school," said Zhang Liguo, chairman of Ruixiang Flight Academy.
Piper aircraft have been used widely in China for more than a decade, with more than 45 Seminole twins sold to flight training institutions, said Jeremy Prost, Piper’s Asia sales manager.
Commitment to the flight training market and growth in the Asia Pacific region are part of Piper’s overall strategy, said Piper Aircraft President Simon Caldecott, noting sales gains in Indonesia, Australia, and Malaysia.
“We continue to see a growing interest for our trainers worldwide with almost 150 currently on order," he said.