Piper Aircraft announced two new value-priced additions to its trainer-class of aircraft on the opening day of Sun N’ Fun at Lakeland Florida. The company showed off its proof of concept Piper Pilot 100 and Pilot 100i. The basic 100 includes Garmin G3X Touch Certified avionics and a standard two pilot configuration while the instrument version, the 100i comes standard with a Garmin G3X Touch and a GFC500 autopilot. The VFR-equipped 100 will enter the marketplace at $259,000 and offers the durability and functionality of the Archer TX. The IFR version, the 100 is priced at $285,000.
A major change to this branch of the Piper line is the powerplant, a newly designed 180 hp Continental Prime IO-370-D3A engine that includes new generation magnetos designed to eliminate hot starting problems, an especially annoying problem for people learning to fly. The Continental engine gives the new aircraft a 128-knot cruise speed and a range of 522 miles with a 45-minute reserve.
Piper CEO Simon Caldecott said the new aircraft was identified following extensive research and the rapid expansion of trainer sales, as well as from increased demand for aircraft at a price point that could support the growing demand for professionally trained pilots. Since 2014, sales of the single-engine Piper Archer have grown more than 93 percent. For 2018, sales of the robust single engine Archer grew by nearly 50 percent year over year, while twin-engine Seminole deliveries rose 117 percent.
The new Piper Pilot 100 / 100i rounds off Piper’s portfolio of training aircraft products. With five model series now including the Pilot 100, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, and Seminole, Piper says it now offers the widest range of training aircraft of any aircraft manufacturer
The Piper Pilot 100 will be touring flight schools around the country this summer as the company finalizes the aircraft’s design. Both aircraft will be available in limited quantities beginning in 2020.