Comparing the first half of 2017 with the first half of 2016, Piper Aircraft Inc. is seeing increases in revenue and aircraft delivered, Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott said at EAA AirVenture July 24. Revenue was up $11 million, or 25 percent, and 13 more aircraft were delivered—a 30-percent increase, he said.
“We continue to see growth in both aircraft deliveries and revenue,” Caldecott added. “The second quarter also was the lowest dealer inventory of our M Class since 2012,” which he said is a good sign that the market is improving. Trainer deliveries have increased, and “we’re encouraged to see growth in international deliveries.”
The new turboprop faced a minor setback last week, however, when Piper issued a mandatory service bulletin temporarily grounding all M600s pending further inspection after concerns arose about part of the wing spar. “We don’t take this action lightly. Safety is important at Piper Aircraft and we will not deviate from that commitment,” Caldecott said.
A section of the aft wing spar was below the design’s required measurements in one area, he explained. “It was found in production. We found one rogue part.” But when the vendor couldn’t provide data on measurements at that location of the spar, the company decided to take the conservative approach and require the inspections. It affects the 32 M600s that have been delivered to customers to date.
Piper is on track to deliver 90 PA-28s this year—a combination of fixed-gear Archers and retractable-gear Arrows—and the 82nd Archer, which is the 900th Archer III that Piper has built, will be delivered to ATP Flight School next month. ATP recently committed to the delivery of 10 more Archers during 2018, for a total of 100 new Pipers since 2013, Caldecott said. “It’s going to be one of the largest single-engine orders, ever.”
Several other new trainer sales agreements represent more than 70 aircraft to be delivered over the next year, he added. Those aircraft will go to Aerosim Flight Academy, California Baptist University, AIMS Community College, Le Tourneau, Louisiana Tech, Big Bend Community College, Central Washington University, and Oklahoma State University, among other training providers.
Caldecott said that Piper was excited about the FAA’s rewrite of the FAR Part 23 certification requirements, adding that some Piper engineers contributed to the process. “We’re going to use it to our advantage,” he said. “It will lower costs.”