It may look like the PA-28 that you fondly recall from your private pilot training or instrument work—or one that a family member treasured as a solid cruiser over many hours of happy flying. But there’s more than meets the eye when we’re talking about the latest addition to Piper Aircraft’s flight training fleet, the Piper 100i.
After a long wait, the company is showing off serial number 17 at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo April 13 to 18, giving folks a chance to see up close the subtle differences that lay beneath the new white paint. The airplane achieved type certification in December 2020, and deliveries began to American Flyers, the Texas-based flight training organization, which accepted eight aircraft by the end of 2020.
So, what’s new? Piper took the opportunity to make a number of changes to the way the aircraft came together on the production line, saving hours and cost in manufacturing that have been passed along to customers—the price stays under $300,000 as a result. The flight deck hosts a Garmin G3X and a Lycoming IO-360-B4A pushes out 180 hp from under the cowl. The airplane makes an honest 128 knots and fit and finish inside has evolved from earlier days.
According to Piper’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer support Ron Gunnarson, “Adding the Pilot 100i to our training product line at a price point that provides optimal economics has opened the door for new aircraft purchases for many flight schools. We are experiencing robust demand with 2021 production currently sold out. We continue to conduct a U.S. demo tour of the Pilot 100i selling backlog into 2022.” Delivery positions could be accepted in the autumn.