1:07 PM

Bold moves in
Vero Beach

Maybe the biggest news yet to come out of NBAA’s annual convention going on now in Orlando is that Piper has officially announced their entry into the VLJ foray, and their choice of power is sure to surprise more than just this writer.

If you go to their press release here, you’ll see some very nice, high-resolution photos for download that show one engine perched up on the vertical stabilizer, looking a little like a baby Falcon with both side engines removed.

With one powerplant instead of two sucking up your Jet-A, you get this kind of performance (all numbers from Piper and at this point are only projections):

The PiperJet will be capable of reaching a cruising speed of 360 knots and a maximum operating altitude of 35,000 feet. The six passenger PiperJet – with an option for either a seventh seat or enclosable lavatory – offers a mission-capable profile and sensuous luxury that sets the standard in its class, with a range of 1,300 nautical miles and a full-fuel payload of 800 lbs.
With the dependability of today’s turbofan engines, having only one back there is a non-issue, for pilots. But it is still a bold move on Piper’s part since the public can still get freaked out about in-flight engine failures. Just ask Pilatus’ sales team about the song-and-dance they do every day touting the dispatch rates of their P & Ws.

The $2.2 million Piperjet is planning to offer a long list of very nice features, but this one jumped out at me:
The Piperjet will include “docking stations” for personal electronic items passengers bring onboard.
Sweet. This is what the future looks like when twenty and thirtysomethings that grew up with computers design airplanes. There can be no escaping technology these days, and we all have our pods, our ‘puters and our Palms that have to plug into something every so often. It makes great sense to offer docking capabilities right there in the cabin. This is the kind of forward thinking that has me so excited about business aviation right now.

If you wish to register at Piper’s “Jetwatch” site, go here and follow the prompts.

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