Piper Aircraft has announced that it has enlarged the fuselage of the single-engine PiperJet , which will now be known as the PiperJet Altaire as it repositions the aircraft away from the very light jet segment and into the business aircraft market.
“While the earlier PiperJet design, with its Piper M-class cabin cross section (which was the same as the Malibu, Meridian and Matrix), provided a comfortable environment, we wanted to give our jet customers an even roomier light jet that incorporates a scalable design paving the way for a future family of competitive business jets,” said Piper CEO Geoffrey Berger.
The fuselage of the Altair now offers a rounder fuselage which offers 22.8cm taller and 10.1cm wider cabin compared to the proof of concept PiperJet. The new cross section also offers a wider than standard sunken aisle for easier movement inside the cabin, while it will also have a 0.91m cabin door for ease of passenger entry and exit while providing great cargo flexibility. Additionally, the new fuselage will be mounted on top of an expanded-chord wing, with a shorter vertical empennage located slightly aft atop an elongated engine nacelle.
Changes are also proposed on the flightdeck, with the aircraft to feature centre yokes instead of the sidestick controls used on the previous PiperJet proof of concept aircraft, while it will feature a Garmin G3000 avionics suite complete with two touch screens, three displays and a GFC 700 automatic flight control system.
With the design changes, the development schedule of the aircraft has slipped, with the Altaire now due for its first flight in 2012, with certification and first delivery planned for 2014.
“I believe our customers will accept their new delivery dates because they get a much improved and efficient aircraft with enviable performance,” Piper executive vice president Randy Groom said.