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Aero-TV At SnF2022: Piper Flexes Trainer And Business Muscle

Piper Aircraft Showcases Training Fleet And Piston To Turbine Pressurized Transition

“For 2022 what’s new is the sales” said Mr. Ron Gunnarson, VP of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support for Piper Aircraft. He added that Piper is in a tremendous market right now both the trainer and the M class (such as the M350) and celebrating its 85th anniversary.  Furthermore, with the M class series, there are very few positions left available at their dealers, so they’re selling into 2023 and early 2024. For their training fleet, he believes the market is very robust, for flight schools as well as people learning to fly the Piper Archers around for personal transportation, and that area is also seeing activity into 2023 and 2024. Mr. Gunnarson also sees a strong market, despite the pandemic, inflation, and an unfortunate war, people still have the desire to move around, and Piper Aircraft is happy to be a part of that.

Aero-News asked Mr. Gunnarson what Piper has in store for us now and in the future, and he responded "for us 2022 is all about right now fixing some things on the aircraft that we want to tweak, cleaning up a few things that we want to clean up. For the future, you’re going to see a derivative product strategy on both lines. We’ve got two wonderful platforms to build from, so more to come on that front, but right now we’re enjoying a strong market that we’re in.” AeroNews also asked how the twin market was looking so far to which Mr. Gunnarson remarked, “it remains OK”.  For the flight schools, for about for every ten single-engine trainers in their fleet, they need a twin-engine trainer, so Piper estimates they’re selling between 15 and 20 Seminoles a year which is about the right place to be, but it's been as high as 40-twins a few years ago, and that was attributed to trainers aging out of the fleet.

We also asked how many people have been making the move from piston pressurized to turbine pressurized aircraft, and Mr. Gunnarson said that “the best thing for the M500 and M600 is the Mirages that are out there”, and the M350 is a natural starter into which one may transition. He further added that with a lot of competitor products, unpressurized fixed gear folks move into the M350 to start, and after a few years enjoying the flight levels with the pressurization. Furthermore, a PA46 (Malibu) to M350 (Malibu Mirage) transition is a natural migration going into the M500 and the M600 (Meridian line).

Mr. Gunnarson went on to state that from an insurance standpoint, having a lot of hours in a PA46 makes that transition to turbine power easier to handle for the insurance companies. The range payload of the M600 at about the $3.5m price point can’t be beat flying around 274 knots in the flight levels, and its going to cost at least $1m more to get anything close, so Piper enjoys that sweet spot, and having the autoland feature is just icing on the cake.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

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