PiperJet Flies

"It's ready to fly," said a Piper spokesman at the Wednesday morning press conference during EAA AirVenture. In fact, later that afternoon, the developmental jet made it's first flight and a successful landing. The PiperJet is powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan derated to 2,400 pounds of thrust (from 3,000 pounds). Performance targets include 360-knot cruise speed, 35,000-foot ceiling and 1,300-nautical mile range. Two other test aircraft are scheduled to participate in the flight test program. Certification and first deliveries are scheduled before the end of 2011. The spokesman said there would be a press gathering at Piper's Vero Beach factory sometime in early September to reveal more details on the PiperJet. In other news, Piper expects to deliver 101 Matrixes, 53 Meridians and 21 Mirages this year, and hopes to deliver as many as 100 Seminole light twins next year.