Piper has been focusing on the training market in recent years after the company under previous leadership had turned its attention primarily to transportation airplanes. And while the M600 and Piper’s other PA-46-series models are still a critical part of the business for the Vero Beach, Florida, plane maker, the trainer business is picking up nicely.
That said, the announcement today by Piper that it has sold 152 airplanes to a Chinese flight training organization is huge news. The sale, to Piper’s China-based dealer, Fanmei Aviation Technologies, is valued at $74 million. It includes 100 Archer TX singles, 50 Seminole light twins, one Seneca and one M350. Orders from training organizations are typically composed overwhelmingly of singles, with a few multiengine trainers added on. The 2:1 ratio of Archers to Seminoles in this order is indicative of Fanmei’s focus on providing training in increasingly complex aircraft to its students.
In announcing the sale, Piper CEO Simon Caldecott remarked, "Just as we are making history with receiving this large order, so is Fanmei by establishing a prestigious pilot development program to meet the growing need for exceptionally trained airline flight crews. This is a wonderful opportunity for both organizations as we work collectively to help address the global pilot shortage.”
Piper will deliver the first of these airplanes next month.
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