Single-Engine Jets: Refinements for the PiperJet

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See the PiperJet proof-of-concept under construction

Piper's single-engine jet, seen here in real-life and in an artist's rendering, is working its way through development. The company says that despite some changes to its design, the airplane is still on track for certification by the end of 2010.

I recently visited the Piper factory and was shown the proof-of-concept airplane under construction.

The most noticeable change is the tail, to which the designers gave a dramatic sweep of 30 degrees. Also, the airplane will get redesigned winglets, a new wing leading edge shape and a slightly smaller nacelle for reduced drag.

The PiperJet is a six-place, all-metal design powered by a single, tail-mounted Williams FJ44 turbofan engine. With a projected top cruise speed of 360 knots, a maximum range of 1,300 nm and a ceiling of 35,000, the jet sells for around $2.2 million.

The proof-of-concept is expected to fly sometime next year. For information, visit newpiper.com/piperjet. For a photo tour of the jet click on the link above.-By Robert Goyer