Piper Aircraft has inked a deal with Blue Line Aviation for a combined order of 115 Piper Archer TXs and Seminoles.
The move intends to be a complete replacement for the North Carolina-based flight training organization’s fleet over the next several years. The approved training organization (ATO) currently operates a mostly Diamond fleet, including the DA20 and DA40 NG singles and the DA42-VI light twin. Two years ago, Blue Line signed on for 50 Diamonds with an option for 50 more—so the news represents a big change for the organization.
“We are very proud to announce…a new partner with Piper,” said Ron Gunnarson, vice president of sales, marketing, and support for Piper. “Piper is synonymous with quality, cost-effective training aircraft featuring the latest avionics to safely—and efficiently—train the world’s aspiring pilots.
“All OEMs build safe airplanes—you’re not in the business if you don’t,” Gunnarson continued. “Not all OEMs build training, air vehicles that can do so in a safe manner, but also so that it’s affordable for the flight schools which means it’s affordable for the students as well. Those qualities are embedded in the training aircraft that are on display [here] with the Piper 100, the Archer series with both avgas and Jet-A, and the Seminole.”
Gunnarson gave one allusion to why Piper won the deal. “We pride ourselves on a quality fleet support structure of parts and technical expertise to assist any customer at any time, and that draws customers to us. We have direct factory support—and at all times we have $13 to $15 million in spare parts inventory available for immediate sending and receipt to our trainers across the globe—and in the U.S., particularly through Boeing, based in Dallas, Texas.”
“This is truly the fun stuff—especially for simple airplane people like the men and women at Piper.”
“Blue Line has a track record of delivering results and [we] rely on our partners to help us do so,” said Trey Walters, founder of Blue Line Aviation. “Expanding our fleet partnership to Piper is a step towards reliably expanding our fleet rapidly to serve more students. We are further excited to be purchasing American-made airplanes built in the great state of Florida, which we will soon be calling home.”
Deliveries will begin later this year.
M600 and Pilot 100i Updates
During the press briefing at Sun ’n Fun, the manufacturer gave an update on the M-series, including the M600/SLS Halo, and the Piper 100i.
The M600/SLS gains additional functionality within its Garmin G3000 integrated avionics suite with the advent of Garmin’s new PlaneSync technology, which includes a 4G LTE Cellular and Wi-Fi datalink, streamlining preflight and post-flight for the pilot. The upgrade allows M600 owners to remotely check aircraft and flight planning information including fuel quantity, aircraft location, oil temperature, battery voltage, the current METAR at the aircraft’s location, and more through the Garmin Pilot application. “PlaneSync technology also automatically downloads databases wirelessly while the aircraft is powered down and the owner is away, eliminating the need to manually update databases,” Piper said in its release.
Piper also showed off the 100th Piper 100i, which had been delivered to Paragon Flight Training in December 2022. “It was just Sun ’n Fun 2019, four years ago, that we kind of re-indexed the affordability of the single-engine flight training aircraft, with the Pilot 100i, so it’s nice to have serial number 100 here on display this week.” Paragon now has 10 trainers from the Pilot 100 series.