Piper’s New Leader Jump Starts PiperJet Program
According to Piper Aircraft’s recently appointed executive vice president, Randy Groom, a year ago only 12 people were actively working on the single-engine PiperJet program. Now there are more than 100, all but a few of them full-time Piper employees. Groom, formerly president of Hawker Beechcraft’s global customer service and support and its Beechcraft division, said that before he accepted the Piper job, he asked to fly the PiperJet. “It’s a fantastic performing airplane, very stable. I wanted to see the control harmony, slowed it down to 100 knots, pushed it all the way to the wall. I was looking for any pitch instability, and it was as stable as any airplane I’ve ever flown,” he said “I wasn’t sure, because of the engine configuration. I thought there might be some pitch-up changes; absolutely zero. The PiperJet is a go program. The airplane is evolving, and we’re going to have a pretty significant announcement about the PiperJet at NBAA.” Groom added that Piper workers are “cutting metal today” for the first conforming PiperJet, which will fly next year. Certification and entry into service are now scheduled for mid-2013.