In an opening day event, Piper Aircraft pulled the cover off its newest model, the Pilot, a trainer with an eye on economy for smaller flight schools that don’t have the budgets enjoyed by larger flight schools and universities.
The Pilot 100 and Pilot 100i are two-to-three seat training craft based on the company’s venerable PA-28 type that was the company’s first model built upon its move to Vero Beach, Florida and has been in production since 1961.
The company’s standard trainer before the Pilot 100 was the Archer, with a base price of $369,000.
“I was talking to a lot of schools, and they just could not pay that much for a trainer,” Simon Caldecott, president of Piper Aircraft, said. “I had a number in my mind of $260,000. That’s a much more realistic and attainable price for many operators. At that price, it’s not unrealistic for four partners to purchase a shared aircraft.”
The Pilot 100 is a two-seat aircraft with the option for a third observer’s seat in back. It’s powered by the Continental Prime IO-370-DA3A engine making 180 horsepower, which should make for a long-running mill considering other models of the IO-370 are pushing 205 horsepower. The panel is fitted with Garmin G3X Touch. It lists at $259,000.
The Pilot 100i model comes with a third seat, and IFR capability via a GFC500 autopilot, and GNX 375 for ADS-B and GPS. The Pilot 100i is priced at $285,000
Sharp-eyed Piper fans will note the missing third window and baggage door simplifying the construction and upkeep. The company also says they’re exploring abilities under the FAA’s part 23 rewrite to incorporate new technologies like 3-D printed parts to cut production costs.
Limited deliveries are slated for 2020. Certification will initially be domestic only, with a possibility of foreign markets if the demand emerges.