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Fri, Feb 24, 2023

Piper Aircraft Sees Steady Growth in 2022

Piper at the Gates of 2023

Founded as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1927 and purchased shortly thereafter by oil industry engineer William T. Piper for the princely sum of $761, the company known today as Piper Aircraft stands with competitors Cessna and Beechcraft as the Big Three of American general aviation light aircraft manufacturers.

Long located in Vero Beach, Florida, the company, since 2009, has been owned by the Government of Brunei.

On 22 February 2023, Piper Aircraft announced it had delivered 15% more aircraft in 2022 than it had in 2021. Additionally, Piper’s flagship aircraft, the M600/SLS, a ferocious, turboprop evolution of the storied PA-46 Malibu, was even further improved with innovative updates—as was the company’s Karma, by dint of support it lent to more than 25 philanthropic organizations.

In 2023, Piper continues to see backlog for its M-Class lineup deep into 2024. Backlog for the plane-maker’s trainer aircraft extends beyond 2025.

Piper’s M-Class product line includes the turbocharged and pressurized piston M350, the entry-level M500 turboprop, and the M600/SLS—a superb, high-performance, pressurized, single-engine turboprop featuring Pratt & Whitney’s insuperable PT6A-42A, reverse-flow, free-turbine powerplant. The M600/SLS manages an impressive 1,385-nautical-mile range, a service-ceiling of FL300, and a Vne of 274-knot. The machine’s Garmin’s G3000 avionics suite affords pilots a thorough, if not patently overbearing, Halo safety system. Subject system, for better or worse, comprises algorithms that consider runway length, time, wind, fuel, weather and glide-path to determine the best airport for landing. The system automatically controls landing gear extension, radar altimeter, auto-throttle, flaps, flight into known icing, braking, and fuel shutoff. The M600/SLS safety suite also includes automatic wing leveling, hypoxia recognition and automatic descent, electronic stability protection, synthetic vision, a Safe Taxi ground moving-map system, and additional gadgets by which even the most abject idiot might return safely to Earth after resolutely pursuing his eternal reward.

In 2022, Piper delivered a total of 69 M-Class aircraft: 19 M350s, nine M500s, and 41 M600/SLSs—43 of which were delivered domestically and 26 internationally.

Of its trainer lineup—which includes the historic and well-loved Archer family, the wallet-friendly Pilot 100i, and the perennial multi-engine Seminole—Piper, in 2022, delivered 167 total aircraft, of which 150 were delivered domestically and 17 internationally.

Piper saw existing flight school customers such as ATP Flight School, Spartan College, and American Flyers grow their fleets. The company also welcomed new customers—including Thrust Flight and Fly Gateway to the Piper Flight School Alliance.

Piper President and Chief Executive Officer John Calcagno stated: “Growth in our two primary aircraft markets is of paramount importance to Piper Aircraft. Despite the supply chain and labor challenges our industry faced this year, we were still able to deliver our aircraft as promised, create valuable enhancements across our product lineup, and pass these improvements to our Piper dealer partner network and retail customers.”

Piper’s 2022 product highlights included FAA approval of the M600/SLS Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL)—a regulatory boon that smooths the aircraft’s entrance into Part 135 charter service. Furthermore, 2022’s fourth-quarter saw the M600/SLS granted unpaved field approval, thereby expanding the capabilities and value of the already capable, eminently valuable aircraft. To impart a green hue to its 2022 achievements, Piper Aircraft announced a collaboration with CAE, by which the latter set out to engineer an electric PA-28-181 Archer Supplemental Type Certificate.

Looking into 2023, Piper intends to be first to market with innovations in the M600/SLS’s G3000 software—innovations previewed at NBAA’s BACE 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Piper also announced it had upped the efficiency and safety of its Vero Beach PA-46 production line by integrating an Agile Manufacturing Robot.

To round out its 2022 achievements, Piper saw its highly successful Piper Brand Ambassador program welcome two new flight-schools: the L3 Harris Flight Academy and long-standing Piper fleet customer North Star Aviation of Minnesota State University at Mankato. What’s more, Piper awarded six high school students aviation-focused college scholarships. The company plans to add three additional scholarships in 2023.

FMI: www.piper.com

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