A VERY Close Look At Piper's Most Exciting Aircraft Program Yet
ANN had extensive access to the exciting new PiperJet just a few days ago... inside, outside and in the air! Piper's most aggressive new airplane program, the FJ44-powered PiperJet is set to make aviation history as one of the new generation of high-performance single-engine jets that is setting the aviation world abuzz.
ANN broke the news, worldwide, of the first flight of the PiperJet during Oshkosh 2008. The new aircraft, the first pure, jet-powered, turbofan design in the company's 71-year history, made its first flight at 11:11 AM, July 30th, from Piper Headquarters in Vero Beach, Fla.
Piper was ebullient over this new development... "Today marks the beginning of a new era for Piper Aircraft as the company literally takes flight into a whole new realm of performance, luxury and capability," said Piper President & CEO James K. Bass. "With this major milestone in the PiperJet's development, we are witnessing our future - one that is built on a strong and lasting heritage and reputation for innovation and excellence."
The PiperJet flew for one hour, reaching a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and a speed of 160 KTAS as per the flight test plan. Piper Test Pilots Dave Schwartz and Buddy Sessoms were at the controls.
The PiperJet incorporates many new design features, and the first flight was focused on taking an early look at basic handling characteristics, the effects on pitch trim with power changes, and basic operation of the engine's FADEC control system.
"The PiperJet exhibited excellent control response around all three axes," said Schwartz. "The ergonomics and the basic operation of the side stick control were excellent, with well-balanced and harmonized control inputs required for the air speeds that we tested. Moreover, the expected level of pitch trim change with power applications was minimal and easy to overcome."
The PiperJet is powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP engine rated at 3,000 pounds of thrust. In the PiperJet application, the engine is de-rated to approximately 2,400 pounds of thrust. "The FADEC control on the Williams engine greatly reduces pilot workload, allowing greater focus on controlling and navigating the PiperJet," said Schwartz. "Pushing the single power level full forward for takeoff results in a smooth but rapid buildup of thrust and acceleration."
With completion of first flight, the PiperJet began a 50 hour initial flight test program to expand the envelope and further investigate the aerodynamic configuration and basic flight performance -- now successfully completed and logged as PiperJet works its way past the 60 hour mark. The six passenger PiperJet - with an option for either a seventh seat or enclosable lavatory - offers a range of 1,300 nautical miles and a full-fuel payload of 800 lbs.
Built using state-of-the-art design and manufacturing processes, the PiperJet will feature the latest in integrated glass avionics, a luxurious interior and advanced manufacturing techniques pioneered by Piper. Pricing is quoted as $2.199M (in 2006 USD with a CPI-W escalator).
Deliveries are anticipated to begin in 2011. Focusing on the latest in ergonomic automobile design, the PiperJet will provide passengers with an interior that synthesizes a sophisticated color palette with a spacious, energetic design. A wealth of features, from rich leather seats, deep zebra wood details and rich fabrics and trim to perfectly placed storage, cup holders and docking stations for personal electronics, the PiperJet is equally attentive to pilot and passenger comfort and needs, reduced workload and ease of operation.
Piper has selected Garmin International, Inc. to provide the avionics suite for the PiperJet. From Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) to FADEC, Piper states that 'PiperJet's focus is on optimal operational excellence, user-friendliness, and safety.'
Come Along With Aero-TV On A "Close-Up" View Of The PiperJet... On The Ground And In The Air!
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