Piper Revamps Its Jet: It's Now the 'Altaire'

New airframe and name for the PiperJet.

FLY102110_piper_707x477.jpg
Piper AltairePiper Aircraft, Inc.

Piper has totally redesigned the PiperJet airframe, and given the single-engine jet a new name — Altaire. The old fuselage on the proof-of-concept PiperJet was the same as the PA-46 Mirage/Meridian — round on top and flat on the bottom. It is now a circular cross-section, making it easier to increase the cabin volume of the Altaire. The windows are also new, round rather than square. And the tail surfaces, engine nacelle and nosecone have been reshaped to be more jetlike in appearance and function. Piper increased the wing area by 30 square feet, without increasing span. In fact, the footprint of the Altaire is the same as that of the original PiperJet design, though the interior dimensions are much larger. The new cabin is 170-cubic-feet large, with a 70-cubic-foot cockpit and 20 cubic feet of pressurized baggage space (and 20 more unpressurized cubic feet in the nose). The PiperJet Altaire remains a $2.6 million, 360-knot, 1,300-nautical-mile airplane, but new appearance and larger cabin should be much more attractive to a wider range of buyers. There will even be an optional modular lavatory — complete with solid walls and a door — that will fit in the forward cabin area. And that's a feature that can make all the difference. The redesign pushes the program back by about nine months, and first deliveries are now expected in the first quarter of 2014. Look for a full article on the Altaire in the December issue of Flying.