In 2022, not only did Piper Aircraft see a 15 per cent increase in aircraft deliveries over the previous year, but the company incorporated innovative updates to its flagship aircraft, the M600/SLS, and provided support to more than 25 philanthropic organisations that best embody its values and mission. In 2023, Piper continues to see backlog for the M-Class line up deep into 2024, and trainer aircraft reaching into 2025 and beyond.
The M-Class product line includes the turbocharged and pressurised piston M350, the entry-level M500 turboprop and the M600/SLS, featuring the HALO Safety System with Garmin Autoland. In total, 69 M-Class aircraft were delivered over the course of 2022. This includes 19 M350s, nine M500s and 41 M600/SLSs, 43 of which were delivered domestically and 26 internationally.
In the trainer line up, including the diverse Archer family (Archer DX, DLX, LX, and TX), the value-priced Pilot 100i and the multi-engine Seminole, Piper delivered 167 aircraft, 150 domestically and 17 internationally. Piper saw existing flight school customers such as ATP Flight School, Spartan College and American Flyers grow their fleets, and welcomed new customers such as Thrust Flight and Fly Gateway to the Piper Flight School Alliance.
“Growth in our two primary aircraft markets is of paramount importance to Piper Aircraft,” says president and chief executive officer John Calcagno. “Despite the supply chain and labour challenges our industry faced this last year, we were still able to deliver our aircraft as promised, create valuable enhancements across our product line up and pass these improvements to our Piper dealer partner network and retail customers.”
Product highlights included the M600/SLS receiving FAA approval on a Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL), defining an easier pathway to enter the aircraft into Part 135 charter service. The M600/SLS also gained unpaved field approval in Q4 2022, expanding the value of an already capable aircraft. Together with these improvements, Piper announced its collaboration with CAE to engineer an electric PA-28-181 Archer supplemental type certificate.
Looking to 2023, Piper will be first to market with exciting new innovations in G3000 software on the M600/SLS, which were previewed at NBAA-BACE in Orlando, Florida at the end of 2022. Piper is also integrating an agile manufacturing robot to the PA-46 production line to elevate efficiency and safety throughout the factory in Vero Beach, Florida.
In addition to meeting the demands of the 2022 delivery schedule, Piper Aircraft saw success across its customers and community. One of these efforts was the inclusion of two new flight schools to the highly successful Piper Brand Ambassador programme, the L3 Harris Flight Academy and long-standing Piper fleet customer North Star Aviation of Minnesota State University at Mankato. Piper also presented six aviation-focused college scholarships to students in 2022, and will add three more scholarships for local high school students this year.