Piper Aircraft Corporation announced at the Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo 2010 on January 21 that the company will follow Cessna’s foray into the light sport aircraft (LSA) segment with its own PiperSport.
The PiperSport will actually be a Czech Sport Aircraft SportCruiser, with the two companies entering into a licensing agreement to produce and sell the aircraft. As a result, Piper says the first PiperSport will be ready for delivery in April this year.
“The PiperSport is an amazing entry-level aircraft that will bring new customers into Piper and lead the way for those customers to step up into more sophisticated and higher performance aircraft within our line over time,” said Piper CEO Kevin Gould.
Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 engine capable of running on premium unleaded or 100LL fuel, the aircraft will feature a 1200 feet per minute rate of climb, maximum cuirsing speed of 138 miles per hour and a range of 600nm. Three models will be offered with varying levels of avionics and interior layouts, starting with the basic PiperSport at US$119,000 (A$130,797), the training focused LT at US$129,900 (A$142,777) and the top of the line LTD at US$139,900 (A$153,768). All models will feature a ballistic recovery parachute system.
As with other GA manufacturers, Piper notes that the LSA market has been booming and, in the US now represents a major entry point into general aviation. As such, the company sees potential for customers to start flying in a PiperSport and later moving on to its other aircraft.